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.