This car sucks...I would NEVER get another MB...My convertible roof doesn't work, the dashboard is falling apart, I lost the driver's side mirror, the windshield is cracked. It's a 1999 with 98K miles on it...I'm looking to get rid of it and get something more reliable, especially since I was told by MB that it would cost approx. $2K to replace my driver's mirror.
No doubt that Chrysler had an influence on the design of this car. The parts inside the car were very cheaply made and looses its shine and color. The car is a lot of work to maintain its look and ride. I would try to get the SL class or the CLK first before buying the SLK. It's really more of a barbie doll car, definitely not a man's vehicle.
I bought my '99 SLK230 new. It is the base model and my favorite commuting car. I now have over 110K on it and it has been a very good car. I have had what seems to be pattern failures on the vehicle. MAF sensor right around 70K miles, K40 Relay failed at 78K and I found and re-soldered the melted connection and it has been good ever since. one could simply buy a new one, for under $100 and replace it quite easily. I did encounter a noisy camshaft variable timing unit which was the most expensive part I've replaced, part cost was close to $400. and I'm a Euro car tech so fixed it myself. The electrical connector on the transmissions leak fluid about every 5 year/50K miles. I've replaced one plastic shift bushing and think the second one is now due, the parts cost is about $1.00. They are a little tricky to replace but can be done even without a special tool with a little patience, but the special tool is great. Even though I have other MB's to drive, such as a CLK cabriolet, if I am running errands and such this is my "go to" car. It is just fun to drive. They are a bit noisy or more so than most MB's so I think they got a bad rap early on, as I recall many being for sale shortly after being purchased with very low miles many years ago. One thing that contributes to higher noise levels in this vehicle is when the rear tires get some miles on them. One might think there is a problem with the rear differential, the noise is so pronounced. With the staggered tire sizes on this vehicle, rotating front to back is not an option, so the tires do acquire some pattern wear. This is exacerbated if one purchases cheaper tires with a large block tread, so beware.
As far as mileage goes, in normal commuting, I conservatively get 24.5 mpg and have achieved 28 mpg on long highway trips with the A/C off and 70-80mph cruising speeds. Short drives of 2-3 miles with lots of starts might drop the mileage down to 22.5 or so, but this is rather unusual.
The color of my car is white and it still looks fantastic after all these years. I have used the factory touch-up paint to fill in some paint chips and the car polishes out very nicely. Recently, we drive the vehicle down to vote and was stopped by some admirers who thought the car was new. Clearly not an MB person, but reflects positively on the condition and the enduring style of this original SLK.
1999 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Convertible SLK230 Sport 2dr Convertible
My car is a '99 SLK230 Komp with sport pack, in auto. The build quality is mechanically solid, though interior is minimal with some cheap bits (expect rattles, paint flaking). An all weather daily driver, put about 20k miles on it in 2.5 years, and nothings failed yet (at 90k miles). The drive is sporty and stiff, with moderate accel (185hp/ 200ft lbs). Road volume's loud, but so is the Bose stereo. Interior accomodations are perfect for smaller people, as the wheel base is pretty short, but big people will feel cramped.
In general, a great little convertible with classy style that is fun at safe speeds and has a driving experience I enjoy. It's just better than its competition...
Styling. Supercharger. Vario Roof. 6 cd changer.
More power. Better interior paint on the plastics.
Cool car, but the top can be very troublesome (and expensive to fix). If you are considering buying, make sure top is in good working order. Fun to drive, but 4 cylinder is a little weak and doesn't sound great. Bose stereo is terrific. Ride is harsh, but to be expected. No mechanical problems in the 10k miles I've had the car (90k-100k), seems reliable. Also, be careful you don't close the top on something rigid - you will shatter the rear window glass. Ask me how I know.
Two tone interior, classic styling, heated seats, Bose stereo.
Power top reliability, 4 cylinder engine sounds rough.
Manual transmission linkage feels horrible -- rubbery and vague.