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Over 100,000 miles!!!
2,092 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Copied from original poster on another web site. Here is the link to that total Thread with lots of good info.=.

Nice History of the SLK R170 write up


The SLK was announced to the USA market on Sept. 7, 1997 as a 1998 model; it was available in Europe during 1997. The SLK's compact styling, retractable hardtop and optional 185/190 H.P. supercharged (Roots type) engine were a major departure from the large SLs of the previous quarter century.
The SLK was a modern incarnation of the 1950s 190SL by returning to four cylinders and a 94-inch wheelbase. Massively successful even its first year, worldwide sales hit 55,000, over double the entire nine-year production of 190SLs! The SLK was named “North American Car of the Year” by CAR & DRIVER magazine for 1998. Only in the USA sale of the SL320 (6 cylinder) was ended when the SLK arrived to distance it from the senior SL.

Chronology of Features and Changes
1997/1998: First year features included a five-speed automatic transmission, ASR to control wheel spin, ABS brakes and front and side impact airbags. The five speed automatic defers to higher shifting points when it senses “spirited” driving. It also changes shifting points when climbing or descending.
Three engine variants were offered:
1. normal
2. supercharged (kompressor) 2.0 liter and
3. the C230 sedan's 2.3 liter engine with a supercharged -- the later being the only engine for the USA and UK.
A supercharger was chosen over a turbo as peak torque begins sooner at 2,500 RPM, up to 4800. There is variable rate valve timing, electronically controlled oil pressure, antiknock (ping) control and an anti-theft engine disabler. The distributorless ignition features a dual firing coil for each cylinder. Rear axle ratio is 3.27:1.
In the summer of 1997 US production included cruise control, air conditioning, an adjustable steering column and brake-assist, which became standard for the UK also. A few early cars do not include these features. The rear window is glass w/defroster. 1998 also brought "Smart" to turn the passenger’s airbag off whenever light infants or a booster seat was belted in.
Larger tires are used at the rear of the supercharged model which increases neutral handling. 16” wheels were used from the beginning. Suspension design conformed to M-B proven wishbones in front and five-link at the rear. The exhaust system's center and rear mufflers are stainless steel. Headlights are halogen with variable focus reflectors. Remote key codes change every time the key is used however a transponder built into the key also exchanges a code in an electromagnetic coil that surrounds the ignition lock as an added antitheft control.
Fog lamps, power side mirrors and tinted glass are standard. Ditto power windows, cruise control, a telescoping aleather wrapped steering wheel plus climate control with dust/pollen filter and separate controls for driver and passenger. Initial weight of the 2.3 was just over 3,000 lbs. 0-60: 7.2 sec. Top speed: 140. EPA city/hwy: 22/30 In the USA there were only four options: heated seats, metallic paint, heated headlight washers and a choice of telephone/CD changer combinations. A four-year/50,000 mile warranty included tires and battery.

1999: The driver adaptive five-speed automatic transmission became a $900 option, and about 20% of the US customers were expected to select the five speed shift. M-B claimed identical performance for each. A new $3,990 AMG designed Sport Package included 17" wheels, and rakishly styled side sills plus front and rear fascias.

2000: Two unique "designo" paint and upholstery options were added. The "per Edition" came with copper metallic paint and an interior finished with copper and two-tone charcoal leather. Steering wheel, shift knob, floor mats, center console and rollover bars also receive a copper and charcoal. The 2nd designo SLK is "Electric Green," using charcoal leather and trim with light green. Other interior options are Oyster/Charcoal or Salsa/Charcoal combinations or a solid Charcoal version.
A stabilizer bar was added to the rear and they reinforced the front one. A 3.46:1 axle was added for the manual shift SLK. Gas tank grew from 12 to 14 gallons.

2001: A 3.2-liter V6 and a six-speed manual transmission arrived in 2000 as a 2001 model. Concurrently the unibody was reinforced and they thickened the sheet metal of the ellipsoid firewall. Impact absorbers were added to side members to support the wheels in an offset crash. Inner panels of the doors were reshaped and reinforced. A link between the rear side body and main structure was added to disperse rear impacts. Brakes were enlarged on the V6.
Tele Aid and EPS became standard for all Mercedes-Benz in the USA. Tele Air incorporates remote diagnosis, emergency door unlocking and theft alarm notification. Emergency and non-emergency buttons establish immediate voice contact with reception specialists who can dispatch local police or other services. GPS tracking pinpoints location automatically. This also tells authorities the location of stolen SLKs. The 3.46:1 axle was dropped in the USA.

2002: Enter the SLK32 AMG with a whopping 349 HP. (0-60 in 4.8 seconds) Three engine choices: 1) 192 HP four valve, supercharged 4 cylinder, 2) 215 HP V6 and 3) the AMG V6. The SLK32 AMG's engine has twin spark plugs per cylinder for maximum combustion. A newly engineered five-gear "SpeedShift" boasts 35% quicker automatic shifts. The SLK32 AMG uses lower (numeric) transmission gears and a 3.07:1 rear axle for an electronically limited top-speed of 155 mph. The standard four and six cyl. engines retain supercharging. Tell Aid services were expanded.
The AMG supecharger is the Lysholm-type (screw type) which provides boost virtually from idle speed. The AMG variant has reinforced suspension and newly designed wheels for better brake cooling. Brakes became 13.15" diameter vs. 11.8" standard. Revised air dams/spoilers minimize and balance aerodynamic lift front-to-rear and top speed. A small lip spoiler at the trailing edge of the trunk lid reduces rear airlift by more than 50%. AMG interiors introduce more bolstered seats, unique two-tone leather and dark birds-eye maple wood. AMG instruments are finished in silver. The warranty included free adjustments and regularly scheduled maintenance for the full four years or 50,000 miles.

2003: No major changes or new features.

2004: Beginning in July 2004 a Special Edition was available with highly polished, win spoke 17" wheels and high performance tires, newly designed sport seats and roll bars covered with Nappa leather.

2005: New Body R171 Replaced the R170.

Don - Founding Member #4
5,857 Posts
:tu:I remember the SLK introduction well. I loved the look and that retractable hardtop....

Premium Member
10,721 Posts
:tu:I remember the SLK introduction well. I loved the look and that retractable hardtop....
Me too, I wanted one badly back in the day but 10 years later of the R170's introduction Im in an SLK55 which is ;).

I like the Silver over Black/red SLK230K when they first came out and whilst picking up my 1999 ML320 when it first arrived I remember seeing a beautiful Red over Black/red SLK230K on May 24th 1999.

165 Posts
Hi all

I have a '99 230 SLK. With 62k miles on board, it looks fantastic for its age.

To complete the dream, I managed to find a new brochure and price list on Ebay.

An interesting thought is that my car when new would have cost almost £32,000.


16 Posts
i got drive an 1986 190sl with 60k miles on it the other day. even tho i like the slk better, all mercedes have nice cars all around

2,473 Posts
Some more info to add to the history

The SLK is a compact roadster manufactured by Mercedes-Benz in two generations, R170 and R171, since 1997.
As one of the first modern retractable hardtop convertibles, the SLK followed the 1995 Mitsubishi 3000GT Spyder and preceded other retractable hardtops such as the Peugeot 206cc, Lexus SC, Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, Pontiac G6 and the Chrysler Sebring.
The designation SLK derives from the company's design mission to create a roadster that was at once sporty, light and short — in German: Sportlich, Leicht und Kurz. [1]

R170 (1997- 2004)

2.0 L I4
2.3 L I4
3.2 L V6 Transmission(s) 5-speed automatic
5-speed manual
6-speed manual Wheelbase 94.5 in (2400 mm) Length 1997-2000: 157.3 in (3995 mm)
2001-04: 157.9 in (4011 mm) Width 67.5 in (1714 mm) Height 1997-2000: 50.7 in (1287 mm)
2001-04: 50.4 in (1280 mm)
The R170-platform SLK 230 Kompressor was introduced in 1997 for model year 1998 to compete with the Porsche Boxster and BMW Z3. Setting it apart was its folding hardtop, though its additional weight compromised the performance of the 193 hp 2.3 L supercharged I4 engine and automatic transmission. The SLK was on Car and Driver's Ten Best list for 1997.

A 5-speed manual transmission was added for 1999 along with the 215 hp 3.2 L V6 and 6-speed manual transmission in the 2001 SLK 320.

An AMG model was added in 2001, with a 354 hp (264 kW) supercharged version of the 3.2 L V6. This SLK 32 AMG was the best-performing R170 SLK, and was a direct rival of the BMW M Roadster and Porsche Boxster S. It was only offered with automatic transmission and was hand built.
Not all Mercedes SLKs were built in Bremen, Germany, the SLK 320 being built in South Africa and Mexico. The very first R170 Mercedes SLK was completed on January 29, 1997 and last on April 7, 2004.
Summary of all versions and engine specifications:

  • SLK 200 - 2.0 L (1998 cc) 136 hp I4
  • SLK 200 Kompressor - 2.0 L (1998 cc) 163 hp I4 supercharged engine, 0-60 mph in 8.2 seconds, top speed of 223 km/h (138 mph). NB Not exported to North American markets.
  • SLK 230 Kompressor - 2.3 L (2295 cc) 197 hp I4 supercharged engine, 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds, top speed of 240 km/h (148 mph).
  • SLK 320 - 3.2 L (3199 cc) 218 hp V6 engine, 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds, top speed of 245 km/h (152 mph).
  • SLK 32 AMG - 3.2 L (3199 cc) 354 hp V6 engine, 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds[2]. All engines were hand-built by AMG by an individual engineer. The engine came with an intercooled Lysholm-type "twin-screw" supercharger. Production ran between Aug 2000 and March 2004. Only 4,333 were built in total, of which 979 were retained for Germany, 2,056 exported to the USA and 263 to the UK.
R171 (2004-current)

1.8 L I4
3.0 L V6
3.5 L V6
5.4 L V8 Transmission(s) 7-speed automatic
6-speed manual Wheelbase 95.7 in (2430 mm) Length 4087 mm (160.7 in)
AMG: 4093 mm (160.9 in)
2009-Present: 161.5 in (4102 mm)
2009-Present AMG: 161.4 in (4100 mm) Width 1788 mm (70.4 in)
1793 mm (70.6 in) Height 1298 mm (51.1 in)
2004-08 AMG: 1270 mm (50 in)
2009-Present AMG: 50.7 in (1288 mm) Curb weight 1495 kg (3300 lb)

The SLK was substantially revised in 2004 with a revised body and enhanced performance. For 2005 the new R171-platform SLK was named one of Car and Driver Ten Best and won the Canadian Car of the Year's Best New Convertible award. The current SLK's are built in Bremen, Germany and Mexico city, Mexico. (Assembly at Mexico City plant is disputed, only final prep is done there for cars delivering to that area).
Models of the new SLK include:

  • SLK 200 Kompressor - 1.8 L 120 kW (163 hp DIN) I4 supercharged engine, 0-100 km/h (62 mph) 7.9 seconds, top speed of 143 mph. (not available in Canada and the United States)
  • SLK 300 - 3.0 L (2996 cc) 170 kW (231 hp DIN) double overhead cam V6 engine, 0-100 km/h (62 mph) 6.3 seconds, top speed 155 mph. (starting in 2006 model year)
  • SLK 350 - new 3.5 L (3498 cc) 200 kW (272 hp DIN) double overhead cam V6 engine, 0-100 km/h (62 mph) 5.4 seconds, top speed 155 mph (electronically limited).
  • SLK 55 AMG - 5.4 L (5439 cc) 265 kW (360 hp DIN) V8 engine, 0-100 km/h (62 mph) 4.9 seconds, top speed 155 mph. A tuned version of this was used as the Formula One safety car, replaced by CLK 63 AMG at the beginning of 2006 Season.
A face-lifting of the R171, with more powerful engines, has been presented at the end of 2007[3].


26 Posts
slk history

Hi to Dan, you stated previously that your info showed only ten 320's in 2001 designo copper and about 30 230's. I would sure appreciate where you got this info - Thanks much. Steve

26 Posts
HI all - still looking for someway to document the number of SLK 320's in the USA that are designo copper - can anyone help? maybe even direct me someplace to find out? Thanks much. Steve
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