Thank you so much for the warm welcome everyone!
I will certainly keep an eye on the UK meet dates and if any come up that I think I can make I will have to pop along and say hello and check out all the different flavours of SLK you all have!
Terminal, thank you so much for all the extra information - and thanks a lot (
) for tempting me back onto the 55. The temptation is real. There's a 171 (2008) SLK 55 not far from here with only 26k on the clock for a little under £20k and I must admit if I was in a position to buy today, I'd be sorely tempted to go and check it out.
I noticed when I looked the other day that the insurance wasn't much more than the 350, but I wasn't sure about servicing - I assumed that having AMG parts would whack up the cost of servicing significantly vs the 350 but if that's not the case then it may leave the SLK55 back up for debate...
If I were to go for a 171 rather than a 172 then I'd be a little less concerned about maintaining a main dealership history, although to be honest I'll very likely be keeping any SLK I purchase for the long haul, or until it becomes impractical so I suppose either way it's probably not going to be an issue! I think the only way I'd be able to get a 55 in my budget would be to go for the 171 though as like you say, the 172/55 tend to be mid-twenties which will really stretch my budget with all the additional costs on top.
I guess I'd kind of assumed that the cost of running an SLK 55 would be far higher than running a 350 so, despite the fact I really want a V8, I'd ruled it out pretty early on, although this is why I was so keen to hear from you guys
I really appreciate the advice regarding servicing too, I'll look into indy Mercedes specialists up here as I'm sure there will be a few about as Mercs are pretty common in Edinburgh. If there are any members up around this way I'd certainly love to hear from them
I'll also more than likely look into extended warranties too, although I know many aren't worth the paper they're written on but if I end up going down the 250 route then I'll likely buy it direct from MB so that'll make the warranty situation a little easier to deal with.
The more sane part of my brain tells me I should get a 250CDi because as Quaser says, they're relatively cheap to run and have great mpg vs performance. I work with vehicle audio for a living though so there's a little part of me that just keeps pushing me back towards the V6/V8, even if it's really not the sensible option haha! It's such a lot of money for the sound though but I can't help it.
I suppose the best thing I can do is get out and test drive the three different models and get a taste for them; the main issue being finding a 350 and 55 nearby to test drive - the nearest ones are around 70 miles away at the moment, which is close enough if I was going to consider buying, but a little far to just go for a test drive. For now at least - but it may come to that though to help me make a decision if nothing pops up more locally in the next few months.
As for "in Scotland you'd suggest airscarf and heated seats" - HAHA, you're not wrong. Ideally I'd just have a car that catches fire when I climb inside as that's about the only way I'm staying warm up here in winter
Thanks so much for the friendly reception and the information and advice everyone! It's really useful to hear from owners of two totally different beasts as I'm really torn just now and it's helping to give me a better picture of what the different models involve. It's going to be a pretty major purchase so I'm taking the time to plan and research in advance this time around rather than impulse buying as I have in the past