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Discussion Starter #1
F)Hi everyone. I just stumbled onto the site while doing my rounds, you guys look like you have a really cool, supportive forum community here. I'm a 24 year old marketing/creative dude and I'm speculating on my future purchase to be made around March/April....and I need some help to say the least.

My budget is $22k ish. Looking at used SLK350/280 vs. Nissan 350z roadster. I know, i know...before you get all bent out of shape, I realize I'm comparing two different animals.

things that matter to me :
1)build quality inside and out
2)maintenance costs
3)style
4)kinda sorta engine size and performance (upgrading from a 4 cyl honda accord coupe...so it isnt hard to impress me)


I'd love to hear everyone's suggestions . I know there will be a huge SLK bias, and granted I love the SLK - I haven't driven one yet. My biggest concern is being able to afford a nice, quality convertible without 40k+ miles.
 

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aka John
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Welcome - best advice I can give is to go and drive both a 350 and a 280, remembering that the 350's can have the performance pack - 030 option - that includes sport suspension. This obviously makes a difference in ride quality - depends on what you are looking for - sport vs comfort.

One other thing to keep in mind is that you are looking at a $50k car - so parts, repair, and service are priced accordingly. These cars don't have lots of problems, but when things go wrong, they can get expensive. I've mitigated this on my car by buying a CPO'd car - which is basically an extension of the new car warranty.

There are third party warranties available, so spend a bit of time searching the forum.

Lastly, there's not a huge aftermarket modification market like in the Nissan world - what's there is expensive..

In any event, we obviously love our SLK's - so hope you go in that direction! The only complaint I have on mine is the lack of lumbar support on the seats - something that can be fixed by a rolled up tee-shirt.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Welcome - best advice I can give is to go and drive both a 350 and a 280, remembering that the 350's can have the performance pack - 030 option - that includes sport suspension. This obviously makes a difference in ride quality - depends on what you are looking for - sport vs comfort.

One other thing to keep in mind is that you are looking at a $50k car - so parts, repair, and service are priced accordingly. These cars don't have lots of problems, but when things go wrong, they can get expensive. I've mitigated this on my car by buying a CPO'd car - which is basically an extension of the new car warranty.

There are third party warranties available, so spend a bit of time searching the forum.

Lastly, there's not a huge aftermarket modification market like in the Nissan world - what's there is expensive..

In any event, we obviously love our SLK's - so hope you go in that direction! The only complaint I have on mine is the lack of lumbar support on the seats - something that can be fixed by a rolled up tee-shirt.
Thanks for the warm welcome and insight. I'm looking for a "sporty" convertible. I am not a die-hard enthusiast, and I should mention this car will be doing 60 miles a day for commuting. I love the hard top option due to the weather here in NJ! My biggest complaint is the 350Z interior is very cheap looking. Im not concerned with trunk space, although the SLK is much larger than the z. Not too concerned about suspension either, as I'm sure both these cars are 100% more sporty than the Accord.

In regards to reliability, are the SLK's (and MB in general) considered quote-on-quote reliable? Are there any major issues to look for with these cars?

Are 3rd party warranties worth it? I wouldn't mind spending a few hundred if they covered the car effectively. CPO is a nice option if I can find one in my price range
 

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First all, welcome to the forum

Haven't driven 350Z before, so no real experience that I can share.

That said, here are the obvious reasons for me that I would take SLK (whether it is 280 or 350) over 350Z any day.

  1. Hard top convertible with Smart top module.
  2. Airscarf which I must say is an essential feature for your location.
  3. Style (370Z is coming out and 350 will look dated). Although the SLK is also facelifted for 09, but the change is very subtle.
  4. I golf, so the larger trunk space is very necessary. I can fit the entire golf set with pull cart in the trunk and still have the top down. Didn't try it with the 350Z, so I am not sure if will fit, but I doubt.
  5. I don't like the exhaust note from the 350Z, very artificial.
  6. Afterall, it is MB vs Nissan
I had brand new SLK350 for three years and no major issue with it. I have had my CPO 55 for just over 1 year and haven't had any major issue with it.

On the flip side, your definitely have more affordable modification options and potential with the 350Z if that is important for you.

Good luck on your research
 

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i would like to drop .02 worth. i purchased a 2002 slk32 with 36000 miles on it for 16750$ it needed approx 2500$ worth of repairs ie: brake flush intercooler pump trunk struts lower a arm bushings ect. nothing major. i bought all the parts from mb parts houses and did the work my self for under 750$. this car is the most amazing car i have ever owned. i smile just looking at it ! quality is second to none. if you will give the r170 body style a chance a supercharged 6 can be the best of both worlds!
 

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My friend, these guys know their SLK's...much more in detail than I at this point in time. I gotta tell you, there is so much to this car, and so many intricate variations from year to year, that the best thing you can do is read until you turn blue.

HOWEVER, I know my 350's. Everyone has their preference, and I gotta admit, after doing a good few test runs with the SLK, the Z feels like I'm riding in a cardboard box. And my other car, the BMW...well, she's toasted. But that's just my inane 2 cents on that.

The 370z in my opinion, is nothing short of an abysmal failure, both style wise and in regards to the engine. Why do I mention this? Car dealers, at least I know for sure here in America, will NOT cut the price of new vehicles. There are many reasons for this, but for the sake of time, I'll skip the business lesson. Used cars however are a different story. They'll be slashing all used models with the debut of the 370, which at least in my area, only came out a few short months ago. Bottom line, 350 z's, roadster or not, as long as its used, will free-fall price wise. Give it some time, and they'll keep dropping. The only example contrary to what I'm saying might be fairly new '08 roadsters, that only have a few miles.

Try as you might, you'll never be able to tumble in a Z (ignoring extremes)...whether a regular 350 or a roadster. Now, if you're talking about the Nismo, originally not even released here in America...then that's a different story. Sadly, from what my memory recalls, that one doesn't come in automatic which is the only way I drive. But that top end Nismo...yeah I'll admit, that one got my blood pumpin.

If I could throw in another 2 cents (lets make it 4 cents all together, haha), the 350 to me is a high school ride (thats just me). The SLK is, to me, light-years beyond. Can you sense my favoritism? Hahaha. Also, as I'm sure you've noticed, the back portion of the roadster is slightly different than the normal 350's...an alteration I'm not fond of...compensation for the convertible top.

To reply to your 4 points:
1.) I wasn't happy with the internal quality of my 350Z. I had issues with the nav, the adjustment piece to my steering wheel was somehow defective, and I HATED how the back looked. The positioning of the speakers...I don't know...I just hated it.
2.) The Z didn't cost me much to maintain. But to be honest, what extra I foreshadow spending on the SLK, is worth it by far.
3.) Two totally different styles. That mate, is your call.
4.) Just to throw this out there, the 350Z doesn't have 350 horsepower...you might have already known, but I flipped when I discovered that.

Hope something helped! Good luck on the decision.
 

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Don - Founding Member #4
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:tu:I like the look of the Nissan 350Z. But, I don't care to own one. The SLK is a classy car, and it's a MB. My wife and I each have one. We've had them for a combined total of five years. Only one small issue with her car which was covered under warranty. When purchasing used, you'll only have a portion, very little, or no remaining factory warranty, depending on age of car and mileage (four year/50000 miles). I recently purchased my first and only extended warranty on my 2005 SLK 55. Cost is high (not hundreds as you mentioned), mine was a Mercedes-Benz, seven year, 75,000 mile warranty. Very misleading. The seven years and 75,000 miles starts at vehicle in service date (when new). My SLK 55 is four years old and has 7,600 miles. So my extended warranty gives me approximately 67,500 miles and three additional years for $3600. Expensive, but peace of mind is worth it. Scheduled maintenance is also high. I had an oil change today at the dealer and it was $130. That was a service "A". A more detailed service "B" on my wife's SLK 350 was around $600. To maintain your factory warranty, you must comply with the scheduled maintenance. As I said, the SLK is such a classy car. I feel like a millon bucks every time I drive it. While at the local dealer today, two separate service advisers, separately mentioned how sharp my SLK 55 was. They see great looking high dollar cars everyday. I took their comments as sincere compliments.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
great opinions from all of you, I really am starting to turn over to the SLK in my mind.

I dont mind the higher-than-honda maintenance costs. I think the 350Z has relatively higher maintenance costs too as it has staggered sport tires etc.. This is a gift to myself, and even though I'm not a milionaire, I can afford the payments without stretching myself too thin.


Wow I didnt realize warranties were that expensive. sh*t lol. I am looking forward to finding a good SLK 280 or 350 with low 30k mileage, which to me is a great deal since I only plan on keeping the car for 2 years or so. Gotta have my fun while I'm young and have no kids....you know how it is.

Anyways, I really am looking forward to test driving the MB in a month when I get some of my finances (and the weather) worked out. I also look forward to becoming an active participant on this forum! Hope I don't kill everyone with my questions.

Thanks again
-NC
 

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Founding Member #2 2008 SLK55 AMG
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Be careful with the test drive. You can get hooked easily :D, to the SLK.
 

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I have to tell you, you might consider a lease on a new one, though your 60 miles a day would be pushing normal even the 15k a year lease limits, so maybe not then.

I only bring it up because all the thousands they are taking off of these things combined with the super low money factor make lease payments quite low right now.

However, nothing like buying a beautiful pre-owned one either.

Good luck with your decision.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Am i being too naive expecting to find a '06 in the $22k pricerange? I am confused by the huge gap in pricing on similar cars on Ebay, so I'm almost scared that the lower-end of the spectrum are cars that may have undisclosed issues.

I don't need all the bells and whistles, even the basic options on this car are beyond my expectations...just don't want a car with over 40k miles
 

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Understandable, and from the research I've pulled up, 22k is reachable but will come with some snags. Just keep looking brother, but make no mistake, when you see the SLK you want, with the right model and right color for the right price, you pounce!!!!
 

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Am i being too naive expecting to find a '06 in the $22k pricerange? I am confused by the huge gap in pricing on similar cars on Ebay, so I'm almost scared that the lower-end of the spectrum are cars that may have undisclosed issues.

I don't need all the bells and whistles, even the basic options on this car are beyond my expectations...just don't want a car with over 40k miles
I wouldn't think so I picked up my 05 350 for 24k and there was a 06 280 on the lot for 19k.
It's ridiculous how low these cars are going for which is one of the reasons I started looking at them myself.

I wanted something fairly inexpensive and German :)
The prices on the Z4's were even lower but I wanted something comfortable that felt less like a go-cart.

I just looked and it's still there and It's in your neck of the woods but it does have over 40k:

http://www.jsautohaus.com/used-inventory/vehicle-details.htm?vehicleId=84bc20eb404638bf01e7a4d09616567b&useHistory=true
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Not bad! Has air-scarf, too..I bet without that package i would be able to find one with less miles around the same price.

I'm sure its been asked, but is there a chart anywhere of the maintenance costs per service, along with when that service has to be performed? I want to see what I'm in for...
 

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http://www.eimports4less.com/ is also a nice place to buy from I've picked up an 03 M3 vert from them and the 05 SLK.

I like that most of their cars are single owner cars and they do a nice job picking their inventory.

It's also local they're in Perkasie, PA
I see 6 SLK's on their site now but everything is still priced a little higher then you're looking for.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
not half bad, but yeah a bit over what I'm looking to spend. I'll keep combing the net meanwhile while I get my research.

Hope I can sell my car in this horrible market, as that also is the decision maker on this purchase. lol
 
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