I purchased the car because I was tired of looking for "safe" parking for my Porsche Boxster. The hard-top convertible gives me peace-of-mind so I can park on-street. For the first few weeks, I really missed the Porsche. But now I wouldn't go back. After adjusting to the different ride characteristics, I feel it handles as well as the Boxster and is far superior for longer drives. The AMG sport package is a must if you want a sports car experience. I've owned MG's, Triumphs, 240Z, 260Z, Porsche 911 Carrerra, Porsche 944 and Porsche Boxster (yes, I'm now an old guy.) This car is as much fun as any of my past cars, and as fast as anything I've driven.
The lease was up on my 2006 E350 so I jumped into a 2008 SLK 280. The E350 is flawless but I needed more of a "wow" factor. The black exterior with the tan and black interior is stunning. This car is the perfect blend of performance and luxury. My SLK has Premium III (navigation) with the appearance package. The retractable hardtop is provides the "wow" factor. The fun of driving a convertible without the downside of a ragtop. My only other convertable was a 2003 Z4. The SLK provides more convenience, safety and luxury than the Z4. Remember, it's not how fast you go, it's how well you go fast.
Choosing between the Boxster, Z4, Sky, and the SLK I chose the 280SLK with the Premium 1, appearance package, heating package, 7-speed automatic, & 6 CD changer. The others did not have the retractable hardtop, and other than the Boxster all felt like tin cans compared to this car. The SLK fits the bill I wanted for driving; not a race car but handles very well, not an economy car but who cares, and performs everything I ask it to do very well. At 6' and 240# I have no problem entering and exiting, no problem with interior room, and am extremely comfortable on local or long distance drives. I am extremely happy the dealer, the salesman, and most of all the car. Great purchase.
My wife has the Edition model with a 7- speed automatic. Silver on black. This car looks cool and is a blast to drive. Off the line, it's not especially quick. But once the RPM get above 2500, look out! This car really moves. You can accelerate to 80 MPH (and much higher)in the blink of an eye. And it sounds like a sports car. Terrific fun. The wife used to have a '03 SLK320. The '08 280 is a much better car. It has a much better ride and is much more fun to drive.
We enjoy this special car because of its unique appearance and build quality. The car is very stable on the highway and absorbs road imperfections well. The black metallic paint is of superior quality and shines beautifully (if clean). The gear shifter feels industrial in strength but the sun visors are very small and cheap. Seats are firm but comfortable for long distance cruising. Road noise can be heard from the rear when driven above 40 mph. The sound of the engine via the tail pipe is second only to the Porsche in the roadster class. Great safety is a given as is its long term durability. Learning the features of the car and the interior buttons may take time.