New SLK350 Opinions/Experiences Please

Hi, We are considering purchasing a new SLK350. Does anyone have any experience with the new model. This will replace another convertible we presently own. We know it is visually striking but are concerned about built
quality and drivability. Having owned a 2002 C230 and having not been too pleased with it (we sold it) we are concerned about taking another leap into Mercedes ownership.
Thanks Larry B.
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On Sun, 13 Mar 2005 19:24:28 -0500, "Larry B."

    No direct experience, but in the most recent "Mercedes Enthusiast" magazine a new owner said that while he was happy with the car, it had been back to the dealership 5 times already.     That said, the SLK320/230 cars made JD Powers "9 Best Cars in America" last year. They have the occasional niggling problem, but are otherwise sound.     Emanuel
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I've had some excellent experiences with the 200K version in Germany. Can't imagine all that 350 power in such a small car.
cp
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Hi - I'm looking at the 200, so you appear very pleased with it? What is the service interval, and also do you feel the price is justified, ie it really is a quality piece of engineering (inside and out)?
many thanks tim
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Heck, I don't know, I was just bringing it back to Berlin from Hamburg :-)
My friend has one, his parents bought it as a graduation present, I couldn't imagine spending so much money on it, unless it was pocket change...
cp
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On Sun, 13 Mar 2005 19:24:28 -0500, "Larry B."

We bought an SLK200 manual in the UK (about a fortnight ago, so we can't comment on reliability). First Mercedes we have owned: we have had Audi and BMW saloons and an MX5 for fun.
Build quality seems generally good. There is sometimes a tiresome rattle behind the passenger seat, but I have not been able yet to track down where and what it is. It might be just something loose in the luggage space. To tell the truth, my wife has rather taken the car over, and I have not yet driven it very much myself.
The engine performance is pretty good, despite being only 1796 cc: good power; good torque; good, flat torque curve, so you need to stir the gear-box only if you want full-out acceleration. I would not myself see any reason to go for 3.5 litres unless you are thinking of starting a vogue for track days. The gear-box is good and smooth too. Steering and suspension seem sound, secure, precise and reliable. I do not find it as much fun as my MX5, nor would I perhaps trust its handling as completely, but that may be only that it is less familiar.
I would agree with the reviewers that it is a real sports car, at last. I tried an SLK 230 last year but did not like it: found it much less of a sports experience (admittedly, it was an automatic).
Compared with a C230 (which I have never owned, and do not think I have ever driven) it might be a different experience. The seats are quite hard; the suspension is harder than a saloon. You can cruise distances on a motorway (cruise control seems to be standard), but I suspect you might feel rather tired at the end. I have not yet done any real distance, just one single one-hour-there-one-hour-back trip on motorway and dual carriageway.
I have a few gripes. The seats do not have enough lumbar support: I may have to get something done about more support there. Since my legs are not 6 feet long, I find it difficult to have to reach behind me for the hand-brake. You can show your current speed digitally on the dash in front of you, but only in km per hour, not miles per hour! A blow for a United Europe? The User's Manual is quite entertaining in its embarrassment at having to insert a note to this effect on so many of its pages.
But my main complaint is about the inside rear view mirror. Because of the car's wedge shape, the rear view is not good even in daylight: vehicles behind can creep up so you do not see their lower part at all well, and I find I cannot judge distances at a glance but need to think.
At night time it is a lot worse. If street lights are on, then you get a very marked light from them in the mirror, which can swamp and hide the fainter image of the headlights of a car behind you. I think Mercedes have made a real mess of this. To me it is on balance bad enough to be an accident hazard at night. I hope I can get used to working around it, but I do not think that Mercedes should be asking me to.
In summary, it seems to me an excellent sports car, probably rather hard in seats and suspension for long-distance cruising, with a few relatively minor glitches and one serious design fault.
Michael
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Michael wrote:

You're lucky (see my post re the manual SLK350 gearbox earlier today). I suspect it is not exactly the same box given the different engine output.
The two problems with the manual 350 are that the first to second gear change is (so far) impossible to get right; and finding reverse is difficult.
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On 16 Mar 2005 05:05:49 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@westpac.com.au wrote:
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Yes, I saw that. Could be a different gearbox.

I have not noticed any problem with that.

Yes, I do dislike the position where they have put the reverse: much too easy to get forward first instead, and hit the wall! We had a BMW with this issue in the past, and I struggled until I learnt to survive it. But if your friend has a really stiff entry into reverse, I can imagine he has real problems.
Michael
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Surprising. (What note are you talking about?)
On my trip computer (car is 2001) I have a facility to change various settings when the car is stationary, including the units and time.
Don't you?
DAS
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On Wed, 16 Mar 2005 13:43:11 -0000, "Dori A Schmetterling"
In several places (I have not counted but several) my Owner's Manual says:
"Instead of the outside temperature [1], you can display the digital speedometer." and "[1] Except in the United Kingdom. The speed is always shown in km/h."
I am not much bothered about the fact that I cannot see the outside temperature, but I am slow to adapt to speeds in km/h.
The distance travelled is in miles, and the miles per gallon is in miles (not km/litre), but evidently somebody forgot to install the software to convert the digital speedometer into miles.

Not the speed display, not on mine (2005 SLK).

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What a joke, on a car costing in excess of 30k (once you have the 'bare essential' options like leather etc). tim
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"Curiouser and curioser" (Alice). This is a UK-spec car? You said you are based in the UK but not if the car is brand new.
Did you buy from a Merc dealer? Maybe the dealer can comment.
FYI I bought my car in Germany but had it made to UK spec (CLK Cab 2001).
DAS
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On Thu, 17 Mar 2005 10:49:36 -0000, "Dori A Schmetterling"

Yes, it is brand new. UK spec? well, I suppose so: I never asked what else it could be; it is right hand drive; could it be intended for Mauritius?

Yes, we bought from a Merc dealer. His attitude was "we just supply what Mercedes supplies to us". Honest, anyway.

I can only suppose that the firmware was re-written between 2001 and 2005, and the new firmware has an amusing error.

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It's getting even more curiouser/worse...
Is it worth querying this with MB UK, Milton Keynes? Or even Stuttgart? (Tel: +49 711-170).
Even if this were an A-Class this seems an eyebrow-raising omission.
DAS
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