Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Oxford, MS
Vehicle: 2000 SLK 230
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when it comes to cars, anything is possible as long as you have the $$. if you're looking to swap in aftermarket seats, there are ones with heating elements already built in, or you can buy heating elements and have an upholstery shop add them into the seat for you, both option from my searching are very expensive.
regarding swapping in later model seats that have heating elements in them, i am unsure if the r171 or r172 have the same floor bolt pattern, if they do, you theoretically could, as long as you brought the rail with them.
the biggest issue, that i can think of, that you'll run into will be wiring them up, regardless of using later model seats or aftermarket seats with heating elements.
from the looking i've done, the price for an aftermarket seat with a heating element already installed and the price of used r170 seats (with shipping), are about the same. IMO it would come down to if you like the factory seats and want to keep the OEM look, or if you want something a little different and want to go with aftermarket seats.
hope this info helps,