The big epiphany that it was time to move on from my work happened some time ago, but I did have an epiphany over the past week or so.
I was actually quite content with my SLK230K and had planned to stick with it for another 100,000 miles or more. So when it was sadly destroyed by a careless driver, it really put me off ... unplanned expenses right on the verge of stepping into retirement, a car I was very comfortable and content with gone, sigh.
The SLK280 is so very different in so many ways that it took me a little while to adjust to it. The high-winding six, the automatic transmission, the absurdly over-complicated stereo system and its crappy sound, etc etc, all put me off. And I missed my yellow peril that I was so comfortable in. But last Sunday's ride, with all the maintenance done, the new wheels and tires, the new audio system, et al, proved to me that in fact I'm liking the SLK280 even more than the SLK230K. It's better handling, slicker in operation, does a better job in the twisty roads that I love, and is actually more comfortable. The engine is more flexible, the brakes are better, there are more subtle conveniences ...
Yes, it cost me a bit of a chunk more than I'd planned to spend. In the long run, my finances are not going to live or die by that amount of money. It's still a bargain compared to buying any new car, and I could never afford the kind of performance and quality that I'm getting with it in a new car.
So it's official: I'm now happier with the SLK280 than I was with the SLK230K. Ah, if only it was yellow...
(Note: I still occasionally stab for the clutch pedal when I'm starting the car... )