Handling/comfort fine balance - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

Tires, Wheels, Brakes & Suspension Discussion and information regarding tires, wheels, brakes and suspension.

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#1 Old 02-12-2016
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Handling/comfort fine balance

Good afternoon SLK oficionados, perhaps some of you can help me find the moon on a stick...

As we know the SLK is a lovely refined roadster. My particular R171 350 has 130k miles and 11 years on its sports pack suspension (all original so far as I know) and 18" wheels. Nonetheless it drives beautifully and I find the handling/comfort balance to be well judged. I understand many consider the smaller wheels and standard suspension to give better balance but, coming from 10+ years in cars with a generally firmer setup, I rather like my SLK. It handles most UK roads well, and coped pretty well on a wet track (Donington Park) recently.

Now, with mileage comes faded damping and mine does feel slightly underdamped. A fresh set of dampers is one option, but I'm curious also about Bilstein B16 PSS9 coilovers. As I understand it the B16s are road-biased, with adjustability for an occasional trackday but optimized primarily for the road. Could anyone venture a comparison of B16s (or other coilovers) against sports pack SLK suspension, or indeed standard suspension? Having used coilover suspension on various previous cars, my experience is mostly at the track-biased end of the spectrum. With those cars (Corrado, Impreza, Miata/MX5) road manners were significantly compromised, and I definitely don't want to go there with the SLK.

A related quandry concerns wheels. My tyres are due for replacement and the 18" AMG rims could do with a refurb. I'm tempted by some aftermarket wheels, giving the choice of 17" or 18" and losing 7-10lb per wheel. A 15-20% reduction in unsprung weight (of combined wheel/tyre) has the potential to improve handling, acceleration and comfort, by giving the suspension less work to do (in simple terms). Again, could anyone offer comparisons between or opinions on the different R171 wheel sizes?

In my first few months of SLK ownership I've come to enjoy and value its road manners. I want to preserve that essential character, whilst freshening it up with some new and well-chosen components. I look forward to reading any comparisons and opinions you may have.
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#2 Old 02-12-2016
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Hi Andy! Try a search if you haven't until members respond

https://www.slkworld.com/performance-...-handling.html
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#3 Old 02-14-2016
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Originally Posted by jbanks15 View Post
Hi Andy! Try a search if you haven't until members respond

https://www.slkworld.com/performance-...-handling.html
Thanks Jeff.

Does no-one have an opinion on Bilstein suspension compared to standard and the 17/18" wheel options? Am also potentially interested in the Bilstein B6 sport dampers or even just the B4 standard-replacement dampers:

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#4 Old 02-21-2016
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Any thoughts on the different wheel sizes or on replacement dampers? R171 in particular.
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#5 Old 02-27-2016
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I have B6s on stock springs. Sublime when pushing on but very firm on local day to day driving. 17s inch rims is what i have on. !8s will be a lot firmer i suspect.

It is possible that a change in front shocks and springs may give you a firmer better ride as well due to your high mileage.
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