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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a silly and oft repeated thread I suppose but does the general SLK owners feel that the V6 320 is much quicker/faster/superior torque to the 230? My 230 appears to be nice little go-er but I cant help but always google the 320- has anyone owned both and have definite views on performance between the models? I did google about ASP kits some time back but am loathe to fit aftermarket stuff on a 99 car that has seemed to be poodling along nicely.. you wonder if an aftermarket pully would slip off and fail. does everyone think the 320 is much better or any recommendations regards 230 performance upgrades? i am well down in the dumps as my families beautiful westhighland terrier passed away about a month ago... my love of my slk is dozens of times less than how much i cared for my four legged baby. (pics of her on my garage page)


look forwards to any 230 vs 320 thoughts!! kevin
 

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2001 SLK320
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not owned a 230

but drove a chum's at work. very nice, for an in-line four-banger. I had already been inoculated with the v6 in my s320, so it was always going to win me over.
I wouldn't jump over either of them to a Z4 though.>:D
 

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We got our SLK for similar reasons.

Went after a 320, missed out and got a duff 230.
The 230 is gradually being brought up to scratch and a car that raises a smile,
but like you I keep wondering about the 320 (and the 55 for that matter).

So no answer but good to see I am not alone in pondering the options.

I'll keep my eye on this thread with interest and see if anything new comes up.
 

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2004 SLK200K
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I had a 230 and although it went very well, the 320 must be smoother/more powerful beast with the V6, although I've never tried the 320 personally.
Best idea would be to find one for sale and test drive it, but only if you can afford it in case you're smitten !

Sorry to hear about your four legged friend, I totally understand how you feel....
 

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2003 SLK230
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I have a 230. I'm the operations director for a large dealer group and last fall, one our stores called to say they'd taken in a crossfire with only 22K on it. As my 230 has 150K (miles), I thought I'd try the crossfire (3.2). What I noticed immedeatly was how good the suspension was which makes sense as there was 130,000 less miles on it. I was not overwhelmed by the power difference. They are pretty close in horsepower and the 230 is a bit better balanced in my opinion as the weight distribution is better.

Now an AMG would likely be a much different story but after my weekend in the crossfire, I decided to keep my trusty old Merc instead as the performance difference was minimal and everyone knows that slks are cooler.
 

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I briefly wondered the same BEFORE I got my 320. Luckily I have a friend who runs a MB only indep shop and asked for his opinion. He told me that 9 out of 10 SLKs coming to his shop for engine issues are the littler 230. He says 320 engine is one of the most reliable, efficient and cleanest running engines MB has ever produced. So, I asked "then, is 350 more so than 320?". He said no and I forgot the reason. Anyway, so I bought a 2001 SLK 320 and have been a very happy camper since. :smile:
 

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Registered 2000 SLK320
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I had a look at the spec for both cars before I bought and decided on the 320, a proven unstressed engine fitted to a reasonably small car ( heavier than my Lexus IS200) no compressor so one less thing to go wrong did not realise at the time that it has 12 spark plugs but after owning it for 8 months and sorting its electrical problems looking forward to the drive to South of France later this year, when the foot goes down not much can keep up.
It should do 155mph that's fast enough for me.

And sorry about the woof

Regards Stuart
 

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It should do 155mph that's fast enough for me.
I was wondering about that and found old Car& Driver's test article on a manual 6-speed 320 (that's what I have):

PERFORMANCE:
Max HP: 215 (vs 190 HP of 230
Max Torque: 229 ft-lbs
(Starts at 3000 rpm and stays all the way till 4600 rpm providing quite healthy midrange powerband which I immensly enjoy in my everyday driving.)

Zero to 60 mph: 7.5 sec
Standing 1/4-mile: 15.5 sec @ 93 mph
Top speed (drag limited): 143 mph

Curb weight: 3100 lbs (vs 2950 lbs of 230)

FUEL ECONOMY:
EPA city driving: 20 mpg
EPA highway driving: 30 mpg
(I'm getting more like 22 MPG/City & 32 MPG/Hwy average according to my dashmounted ScanGauge. Hand-calculation consistently shows I'm getting about 26 MPG in average. BTW I have an exhaust mod :)
 

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I have recently been looking for a 170. I've driven 11 (although viewed 17).

I've got a list somewhere, but it was about 50:50 between 230s and 320s.

I found little to separate them at town speeds. Little here meaning virtually none. They sound different but that was about it.

I assumed that with the blower, there'd be greater low revs torque, but they seemed more or less the same. I found no difference in acceleration at 'normal' speeds.

Three things stood out, even if not much:

1/ the 320s were normally lower mileage and better cared for (I'm just reporting, don't have a go at me), also

2/ the 230 sounded a little rough at speed,

3/ at motorway speeds, the 320s accelerated a bit faster, notably so when it came 'on cam'.

Despite originally looking for a 320, after a while I thought I'd rough it by dropping to a 230, but once I drove my first one, I would have accepted either.

I picked my 320 because the faults were minor and the price wasn't too excessive. If I'd found a 230 otherwise the same I would have bought that and not been upset.

That said, I'm not the most subtle of drivers.
 

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2002 Blue SLK320 known as 'Silkie"
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I went for the 320 as I'd just had to replace the turbo on my BMW and didn't want the potential of doing the same with the compressor on the 230. I also preferred the sound of the V6 when looking. :grin:

There's another bit to add to the mix though - pre- and post-facelift as there's quite a difference in the SLK 230K if you're comparing them to buy.
With the face lift 230K (2000 onwards) you get:

  • improved seats with better lateral support and electrical adjustment.
  • slightly larger anti roll bars and lower suspension.
  • A small power increase
  • ESP traction control as standard
  • tougher side impact bars
  • A larger fuel tank
  • Tiptronic Automatic transmission
  • 6-speed manual transmission
The motoring press seem to favour the 320 as a bit smoother and nicer sounding with better torque. Although the 230 seems as fast, that's apparently a bit deceptive as the 320 has a wider power range and is smoother in its power delivery.

To quote one summary:
I'd go for the 230K. It's basically 10% less than the 320 - 10% less power, 10% less acceleration, 10% less top speed and 10% lower fuel consumption and running costs - the cats are a LOT cheaper on the 230K than the 320. You don't get such a nice sounding engine but it's pretty fast and reasonably economical - you should average 30mpg. There are also a lot more about so you get more choice.
That's my 2p worth.

SavCom
 

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Over the years we've had two 230's followed by two 320's
The 320 just has the edge for me in terms of throttle response, smoothness of the engine and the exhaust note.....and just slightly more exclusive



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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2010 SLK350
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During our search for an R170 SLK we favoured the 280, dismissed the 200 as we thought it would be under powered, also we didn`t want a grey or black vehicle which seemed at the time they were the only colours you could get.

We were lucky enough to find a well looked after 230 in a gorgeous red with a cream and walnut interior which really appealed and made our decision easy.

We took the car to our family friend garage for close inspection, had a full service plus all fluids changed, good news was the car has obviously been cared for and is in all round excellent condition, the only problem being we had to change a headlight due to the condensation issue.
As far as performance goes the 230 is comfortable, good on fuel and we think plenty quick enough.

To-date it looks like this will be a keeper though we really like the look of a facelift R171.
 
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