2006 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Review

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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Stylish interior design, sports-carlike handling, strong and sweet-sounding V6, comfort and convenience of retractable hardtop.
  • Costs more than peers, big blind spots when top is up.

The 2006 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class is a fun-to-drive roadster that combines the safety and security of a hardtop, the wind-in-your-hair fun of a convertible and the European-brand cachet of a Mercedes all in one powerful and attractively styled package.

Vehicle overview

Introduced in 1998 as an answer to the BMW Z3 and Porsche Boxster in the premium small roadster segment, the SLK's most unique feature was its retractable hardtop roof, which offered more security as well as a quieter ride than its competitors' soft tops. In less than 30 seconds, with the touch of a button, one could convert the Mercedes SLK from a closed coupe to a cool convertible without leaving the driver seat. Improvements over the years kept the car competitive, but after seven years on the market, the Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class was ready for a redesign.

With a dramatic new design for 2005 inspired by Mercedes' Formula One racecars, the second-generation SLK is every bit as eye-catching as the original. It's also slightly larger and more powerful than its predecessor, and still has the fun-to-drive character that made it so likable in the first place. While the previous version had the feel of a leather-lined bobsled, the larger cabin of the new version gives you plenty of room to move about. Even more impressive than the added room is the redesigned dashboard with its more cohesive layout, cleaner gauge cluster and higher-quality materials. Overall, the improvements create a more upscale, tasteful-looking cabin that far exceeds the previous model's.

An innovative Airscarf system channels warm air to your neck and shoulders via dedicated registers in the headrests, making the Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class even more comfortable with the top down in chilly weather. Improvements continue under the hood with 268 horsepower on tap, courtesy of a 3.5-liter V6. The SLK can sprint to 60 miles per hour in just 5.6 seconds, according to Mercedes-Benz. Complementing the impressive power plant is a pair of transmissions that offers excellent flexibility and performance whether you go with the standard six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic.

Other notable improvements under the skin include a new rack and pinion steering system and more powerful brakes. The recirculating-ball steering system used in the previous model was often chastised for its heavy feel and inconsistent feedback, but the new setup is both lighter and more communicative. The SLK now has the power to go head-to-head with a Porsche Boxster and the handling to keep pace with a BMW Z4, and its revamped interior is arguably better than both. Overall, the 20060 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class offers one of the most compelling combinations of style, performance and comfort available anywhere.

2006 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class models

The Mercedes-Benz SLK comes in one body style: a two-seat roadster with a power-retractable hardtop, in two versions: SLK280 and SLK350. Standard equipment on the SLK280 includes 16-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, sport seats, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, dual-zone climate control and a nine-speaker CD audio system. In addition to a larger engine, the SLK350 adds 17-inch wheels. Should this not be enough, there are many options to consider, such as a sport package with a lowered suspension, bi-xenon headlamps, a navigation system, a 380-watt surround-sound audio system, a glovebox-mounted CD changer, satellite radio, power-adjustable memory seats, seat heaters and an Airscarf system that directs heat through vents in the head restraints.

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2006 Highlights

A less expensive SLK280 model debuts, featuring a 3.0-liter V6 with 228 horsepower.

Performance & mpg

The Mercedes SLK280 features a 3.0-liter V6 that produces 228 horsepower. The SLK350 offers a 3.5-liter V6 good for 268 hp. The SLK350 can sprint to 60 miles per hour in just 5.6 seconds, according to Mercedes-Benz. A six-speed manual is standard, and a seven-speed automatic (with automanual shift capability) is optional.

Safety

Seat-mounted side airbags are standard equipment, as are four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control (called ESP) and the TeleAid system, which alerts emergency personnel if an airbag goes off and can also put you in touch with a live operator to summon medical or police assistance. The Mercedes SLK also has reinforced A-pillars, integrated roll bars behind each seat and emergency tensioning seatbelt retractors for enhanced rollover protection. BrakeAssist automatically applies full braking force when a panic stop is initiated.

Driving

Power kicks in early with either V6 and remains solid throughout thanks to variable camshafts and a two-stage intake manifold. As an added bonus, the stout 3.5-liter V6 pours out a satisfying wail that inspires flat-footed runs to redline at every opportunity. Top up or down, the Mercedes SLK feels remarkably composed and solid. Ride quality is a bit firm with the optional sport suspension, but the resulting handling is worth the trade-off. The steering is light to the touch yet returns enough road feel to maintain the car's sporting demeanor during aggressive driving. The brakes are a tad touchy, but stopping distances are impressive.

Interior

Good-looking soft-touch material covers the top of the dash, glovebox and doors, while plastics of similar quality fill in the rest. The climate control layout varies depending on whether you add a navigation system, but both arrangements use easy-to-decipher dials. The soft and supportive seats remain comfortable even after several hours of continuous driving. Keep the windows up while the top is down and there's minimal wind buffeting. If that's not enough, consider the Airscarf system that channels warm air to your neck and shoulders via dedicated registers in the headrests. It actually works quite well, and when combined with traditional seat heaters, the 2006 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class becomes one of the most useful all-weather convertibles on the market.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars
Live a little!
Cliff Johnson,06/01/2016
SLK350 2dr Convertible (3.5L 6cyl 6M)
Climbing into a SLK is empowering one to cruise under the sun or in the rain with grace and style. Seating just two people this makes for an intimate encounter for a couple on a trip or night out. It is an upscale convertible with a hardtop neatly tucked away for open air cruise or engaged overhead for the more climate controlled person. Enjoying the feel of the road through great road handling ability and the minimum effort to steer this ride is very enjoyable. This is a great roadster for the price and mileage. Maintenance of this car is highly recommended to be maintained. As with all cars, the better you take care of it the longer it will last. This car is eye catching during a beach cruise or even a highway cruise. No need to speed to enjoy the power of this vehicle. Power seems to be at the fingertips for everything this little roadster provides. Recommend anyone interested to try various years and trim models to find the right one for yourself. I prefer the 2005 to 2011 body style which has a more sloping front end versus the boxy looking style introduced in 2012.
4.75 out of 5 stars
The Ultimate Performance
scottinsedona,12/04/2011
SLK55 AMG 2dr Convertible (5.4L 8cyl 7A)
I have had multiple BMWs and an Audi, but nothing performs like this car. The acceleration (and exhaust sound) and handling is awesome. If you can hang on, no corner is too fast. I put Michelin PS2s on and the handling (and red smoothness) is even better. I have 23k miles on mine and not a problem. I have finally found a car that drives/performs as well as it looks. I just hope MB is still making these when I replace this one!
4.88 out of 5 stars
Put zing into your life!
brendafay54@aol.com,07/22/2010
SLK350 2dr Convertible (3.5L 6cyl 6M)
I am 56, no I am not having a midlife crisis. But I did need a little zing , so i found the most perfect car to ram rod around in. I really love my car, It is fun, you get the looks, you feel like a million bucks, and the 06, was very reasonably priced. LOVE LOVE LOVE it!
5 out of 5 stars
Perfection
Jim,08/09/2009
SLK280 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M)
I really love this car. I also own a 2004 SLK 230. All the issues I hated about the SLK 230 have been fixed with this new generation. Car does not hunt the road on rutted highways anymore, smoother ride. This car will get 27 mpg if you behave yourself. I can't say more about how much I love this one. This is my fourth MB and so far it is the best one.

More about the 2006 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class

Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Overview

The Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class is offered in the following submodels: SLK-Class SLK55 AMG, SLK-Class Convertible. Available styles include SLK55 AMG 2dr Convertible (5.4L 8cyl 7A), SLK280 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M), and SLK350 2dr Convertible (3.5L 6cyl 6M). Pre-owned Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class models are available with a 5.4 L-liter gas engine or a 3.0 L-liter gas engine or a 3.5 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 355 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class comes with rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 7-speed shiftable automatic, 6-speed manual. The Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a unlimited yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2006 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Classes are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2006 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class.

Can't find a used 2006 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Classs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

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Find a used Mercedes-Benz for sale - 6 great deals out of 7 listings starting at $7,816.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class for sale - 10 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $13,976.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz for sale - 5 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $18,516.

Should I lease or buy a 2006 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Mercedes-Benz lease specials
Check out Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class lease specials