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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all! Not a post to compare apples to oranges, just had a couple of questions about the overall reliability and what's considered the best year of the R171. I have always loved the way the R171s look and now they're in the price range I would be willing to spend, I'm highly considering one.

Questions:

- What should I concentrate on when looking at one I'm considering to purchase?

I'm talking unique to the vehicle, not the normal what to always look at or for.

- Most reliable motor?

I don't care about which one is the fastest 0-60, which one tends to be the most trouble free because maintenance free does not exist.

- How reliable is the convertible top?

Also what should I look for when operating the top when considering purchase.

- Do the autos hold up well?

I'm a manual guy through and through but this is a GT coupe and not a Miata :laugh:

I'm sure I'll have more follow up questions but we'll start here.
 

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* Founding Member #2
2008 SLK55 AMG
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19,485 Posts
Welcome, please stand by for some reminders from our moderators.

Personal choice and bias: SLK 55.
 

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**Registered 2012 SLK55 AMG w/P30
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3,852 Posts
Facelift will not be as likely to have the earlier motor/transmission issues. You can expect to have hydraulic issues with the top, as well as motor mounts. Oh, yes, let's not forget the heated seat failure that you can virtually be assured of. Hmm, what else? Interior trim paint peeling, of course and if you get a 55, weeping valve cover gaskets. You of course could have tumbler flaps fail in the earlier (pre-facelift) as well as timing chain gears crumbling. And the favorite issue to enjoy is the transmission conductor plate dying and stranding you, usually on a dark, deserted road, late at night on a weekend.

Besides that, great car!:grin:
 

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2005 SLK350
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2,030 Posts
Replaced my 95 mx5 w/an 05 SLK 350, auto 7spd.
Miata: top down in about 2.5 seconds. Click click bam set those puppies free baby!!
SLK: Oooo-myyyyy-Goooddddd is the top ever going to get doooowwwnnn. Actually it's not that bad but the only thing limiting top down speed in my Miata was the desire not to dislocate my shoulder. Unless you install Smart Top (first and foremost mod) you must be at a dead stop (?).

The mx5 is a much smaller car, more sporty to drive and lots of pep! The SLK, more like a luxury car disguised as a sports car. The SLK feels like big, cumbersome dinosaur in comparison, but a classy one at that!

And I miss my manual transmission however I wouldn't want to have to shift the SLK-personal preference I guess.

Overall the SLK is a much more sophisticated creature. I suspect your getting older along with the rest of us so I don't think you'll regret it.

Just be advised that nothing, and I mean nothing, compares to driving a Miata. It is, as you stated, like apples and oranges.

My two cents, kind gents.
 

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*Premium Member
2005 SLK55 AMG
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Hi and welcome to SLKWorld.com from the UK Midlands - Thanks for joining us! :)

Depending on the model you're looking at a, there may be specific things/issues to look for - e.g., if looking at an R171 SLK350, then you'd need to check for potential balance shaft issues (use search - top tight - to check out what you need to know about the balance shaft issue).

I have the 55, so that's my personal bias too (love the sound of a V8)!

If you'd prefer a manual, then people that have the SLK350 MT do rave about how fantastic (and well-balanced) it is... but they're quite difficult to find.

Good luck with your search!

And now for some of those moderator things that Eddy mentioned above - Could you please take a few moments to get yourself set-up correctly on the forum?...
First please update your profile with your location and vehicle (just put something like "Looking for R171 SLK" for now), if you haven’t already done so, as it helps the members answer your questions which usually are based on that information.
Follow this to update: ‘User CP’ at the top of page, then ‘edit your details’ on the left side, ‘additional information’ near the bottom, edit your ‘location’ and ‘vehicle’ (and then click ‘SAVE CHANGES’ button at the bottom of the page). Info in your garage does not update your profile.


Your 1st thread should be your introduction so we can welcome you properly so post an introduction in the ‘New members introduce yourself here’ section, if you haven’t already:

Some tips to make your visit here more enjoyable:
  • Post your VIN (or VIN of a car you're looking at) in the Vehicle Datacard Request section to get a free datacard (options on the car).
    FREE!! How to get a free data card!
  • If you haven’t, please use the 'search' feature at the top right of the page for your questions as they have probably been asked before. Remember, ‘Search’ is your friend.
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Thank you
Dave
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*Registered
2005 SLK350
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2,030 Posts
Hhmmm....... An MX5 vs. an SLK

Driving an mx5, you can dig your claws into a curve. You can jump on it and bounce off of it. Using the man trans you can skip around like a minnow in a Miata and eat the road inch by inch. You don't drive a Miata, you wear it like a watch.

Driving an SLK is more like making love. It should be done with slow passion, gracefully, with dignity and respect. The car is full of experience. It has wisdom and it commands an atmosphere of respect. It should be driven and treated as such. You are not the main attraction, the car is.
 

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OMG Roxanne, I'm starting to perspire here. :surprise:

I just transitioned from an '011 Miata to my '07 SLK55 so I'm familiar with your dilemma. Roxanne is correct in her assessment, you really do "wear" a Miata (Jinba ittai 人馬一体 - Horse and Rider as One). They become an extension of the driver. I miss (a lot) the manual gearbox (in 50 years of driving, I've never been without one).

The Merc SLK55...gawd I love this car!! It feels good. It sound good. It gets attention (unlike the MX5 where you pass yourself several time/block). Being a product of the American 60s muscle car culture, I love the low-end grunt. V8 torque is hard to beat. While I miss the manual gear box, I don't miss having to rev the piss out of the engine to get any sort of decent performance.

Problem areas in an SLK55...Mensra about covered it, except to say that regular (factory prescribed) maintenance is HIGHLY recommended (a well maintained & documented example should always be sought when purchasing). One does not skimp on a Mercedes of any make/model if you're looking for reliability. Are they expensive to maintain? Yep, "stealer" parts and labor are expensive. A knowledgeable and experienced "indie" is highly recommended.

Only time will tell how the SLK55 will rank in the annals of "Monk rides". So far...it's damn near the top (and I've had a bunch of two-seat roadsters over the years).
 

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Founding Member 2006
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108,815 Posts
Welcome to SLKWorld.com: The #1 Mercedes-Benz SLK Forum from Valrico, Florida!

First please update your location and vehicle (PUT LOOKING!)(year?: 1996-2016, model?: 32, 200, 230, 250, 280, 300,320,350,55) in your profile as it helps the members answer your questions which usually are based on that information if you haven’t. This takes about 30 seconds to do.
Follow exactly to update: ‘Usercp’ at the top of page, then ‘edit your details’ on the left side, ‘additional information’ near the bottom, edit your ‘location’ and ‘vehicle’. Info in your garage does not update your profile.

Your 1st thread should be your introduction so we can welcome you properly so post an introduction in the ‘New members introduce yourself here’ section, if you haven’t already. New Members Introduce Yourself Here - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum


roof rated for 10000 ups n downs


Thank you
Jeff
Moderator/Founding Member/Ride of the Month Coordinator
 

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I also recently moved from an mx5 (na8) to an r171 350. Nothing short of dedicated track toys is going to come close to the chuckability and fun of the mx5 but the slk is an altogether more grown up affair and much better suited to distance driving (although I hear the nc is good for daily driving).

The best way I can describe the shift is that it makes me feel "fancy". The much better depreciation rates of the mx5 means that my 2009 350 actually cost the same as a decent 2010/11 mx5 but it just looks and feels so much more luxurious. Servicing is going to cost a bit more but not much more if you have access to a good independent. I just paid £160 for a c service, plus £200 for new front Brembo discs and pads including fitting. Plenty of high mileage slks - needs more tlc than an mx5 but then again less prone to rusting so it's swings and roundabouts.

If your budget stretches to it, go for the face-lift models as they avoid the balance shaft issues as well as having some handy improvements (more power and lower emissions for the 350, newer comand spec, etc).

Oh, and as Roxanne mentioned, get a smarttop fitted!
 
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