SLK 230 Advice

Hello all!
I'm considering trading my Alfa Romeo GTV into a MB SLK 230 Kopressor. I've had my Alfa 97' for 2 years and I've been happy with it. But I'm missing
some of that german solid build quality I am used to from a BMW I used to own before.
Not that Alfa is bad but there are small things here and there, no major stuff. If I was willing to do some small repairs myself it would probably never been an issue.
I've done some googeling to find out about owners impression after owning SLK for a while. And it's not overwhelming, like in the link attached here: http://www.carsurvey.org/review_52784.html
I'm not sure what to think. Any opinions here?
Rafael
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it much because I'm retired and living in a city where it's easy to get downtown by bus or train.
The only problems I had with the car were (1) condensation that formed within the left headlight and (2) a leak from the windshield washer reservoir. Both were covered under the warranty. I was told that the leak in the reservoir was a problem in some '99 Mercedes models (not just the SLK) that was later corrected. In my case, they sealed it with silicone.
With the top up, it's a quiet car, and warm even on the coldest winter days (I ordered the optional heated seats), and in the summer it's a great car to drive with the top down! One caution: if you're used to carrying a lot of things in the trunk of your car, the SLK may not be for you. The trunk has a fairly large capacity when the top is up, but because the top folds into the trunk space when the top is down, the carrying capacity is somewhat limited.
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It sounds like the guy who wrote that review had a really bad experience, but I own several MB's including a 99 SLK230 and I can tell you that his experience is the exception to the rule.
Surely, my SLK has been to the shop a few times, but each time the car has been well taken care of by the dealership. The only persistant problem has been a fog light that goes out more often than it should, but nothing catastrophic. Generally, the dealerships I have used for repairs have been absolutely superb and utterly professional; I mean, everyone has had some frustration at a dealer at least once, but again, for this and all my cars, the dealers have been excellent.
As for the car itself, I really love it. It is as solid as a rock (especially for a convertable) and is very fun to drive. As I said before, there have been some minor problems here and there, but mechanically, it is as sound as the day I drove it home (it now has 55,000 miles). Never a single problem with the engine, transmission, steering or brakes. The largest problems I've experienced thus far have been a broken exhaust hangar, a cracked suspension bushing, and a broken motor mount; all of which are owed to my rather 'robust' driving on less-than-ideal Manhattan streets, and all of which were fixed under warranty, no questions asked.
In fact, the one pice of advice I would give you is to make sure that if you are buying pre-owned, you make sure that it is under Starmark warranty; the Starmark is not quite as good as the new car warranty, but it will pay for itself in the first year you own the car. If you are buying new, then all I can say is have fun!
Good luck...
Thomas J. Paladino New York City 04 S430 04 E320 99 SLK230 95 S320
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I found it just needs a manual gear box to make it perfect. Generally it is a great show-off car.
E14

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Here's my opinion about my SLK:
It's probably the best car I've ever owned. It's trim, athletic, intimate and a joy to drive. I'll never lose my enthusiasm.
I've had new SLs, old SLs, and while they're great cars, they lack the original size and handling from the era when they were made to fit a driver who wanted to head out for some road fun; they ballooned into two-seater sedans of a sort. Mechanical problems? None. Zip. Nothing.
My SLK is most like my 1960 190SL roadster. The chassis is rock solid, no torque flexing, like it was made to climb through the Alps on bumpy dirt roads. I can't say that for BMW or other open-air cars; the body torque is noticeable. In addition, the seats are deep to the floor, giving a sense of speed lower to the road; the doors are fairly high to give a sense of protection. The roof is a constant joy, like having two cars; as a closed coupe, it's quiet, solid and secure.
My favorite thing about it? On the first warm evening of the spring, late at night, hit the CD button, wait for Dave Brubeck to start playing his amazing version of "Stardust," and feel your soul leave the earth as the hardtop opens up to a full night sky.
It's what being alive is all about.

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You're a poet And we didn't know it...
:-) DAS
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If anyone is interested in this haunting piece ("Stardust," The Dave Brubeck Quartet Featuring Paul Desmond, In Concert," recorded March 2, 1953) here's an MP3 source (6.41 Mb) for download:
<http://www.users.qwest.net/~gdowning1/mb/stardust.mp3
Liftoff begins about 3:15 minutes into the song, with Dave Brubeck's piano solo; bliss occurs shortly thereafter.
A companion piece (without Paul Desmond on saxophone) is (4.48 Mb) located at:
<http://www.users.qwest.net/~gdowning1/mb/wishuponastar.mp3
Avoid MediaPlayer for playback (compression distortion); try instead MusicMatch or WinAmp to play these files.
MB Part No. 170 594 88 1 (Skyward Escalation Amplifier)
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If anyone is interested in this haunting piece ("Stardust," The Dave Brubeck Quartet Featuring Paul Desmond, In Concert, recorded March 2, 1953), here is an MP3 source (6.51 Mb ) for download:
<http://www.users.qwest.net/~gdowning1/mb/stardust.mp3
Liftoff begins about 3:15 minutes into the song with Dave Brubeck's piano solo; bliss begins shortly thereafter.
A companion piece ("When You Wish Upon A Star," Dave Digs Disney / The Dave Brubeck Quartet, recorded June 29, 1957) (4.48 Mb) is located at:
<http://www.users.qwest.net/~gdowning1/mb/wishuponastar.mp3
Avoid MediaPlayer for playback (compression distortion); try instead MusicMatch or WinAmp to play and convert these files to audio CD.
MB Part No. 170 594 88 1 (SLK Skyward Escalation Amplifier)
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snip

I totally agree! I've had mine for a year now, and the only anoying thing iv'e had is that the central locking freeze when the temperature is below app. -12 deg C. Works fine in the vinter with snow tires and is excellent in the summer with the top down. Yesterday was the first "nice and sunny" day here and after putting on the summer tires and giving here a really good washing i went for a spinn with the top down. Finally the spring is here!
Mattias Sweden
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Sigh. I wish I could say the same about southern England. Recently I went to see a client about 50 miles out of London (in lovely Hampshire). Took some guys to lunch in a pub. It was sunny and not bitterly cold anymore. Took top down in my CLK cabrio, but left heating on. Lovely.
Thwack. Got a large load of bird muck on my back seat and on the jacket of the guy there...
And now it's very cold (by English standards) again, esp with a breeze....Roof firmly in place...
DAS
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Er, you live in New York City. What are you doing driving around with your fog lights on in city traffic in the first place?
I'm sorry, but this fad of epidemic fog light misuse has gotten to be a hot-button issue with me. They're too damned bright to be used full-time. It doesn't matter what their candlepower rating is; that's only relevant when you're behind them. But when you have the misfortune to have fog lights shining into your eyes from an oncoming car, their small surface area increases their effective brightness, whatever their actual light output relative to low-beam headlights is.
This all started when BMWs were all the rage back in the 80s. At the time, BMW was one of the few makes sold in the U.S. whose cars all had fog lights as standard equipment, and so knowing this, all the yuppies who drove them (back when the term "yuppie" was new) drove at night with them on full-time as a way of saying, "Look at me! Look at me! I've got a Beemer![*] I'm _somebody!_"
Over time, seemingly more cars came to have fog lights than not, and so the public became conditioned to think of them as supplementary headlights rather than -- _mirabile dictu_ -- lights to be used in fog, and only in fog. Even though a few cars came equipped with the things before the BMW-as- status-symbol phenomenon hit, people (here in California, at least) seldom actually used them, if ever.
And now, worst of all, we have these riceboy types who've fitted their Preludes and Civics and Integras with those obnoxious yellow fog lights, which are so painfully bright that inadvertently glancing at them is like looking at a pair of arc welders. I've been sorely tempted to buy a ball-peen hammer and take up an avocation: going through shopping mall parking lots bashing out the fog lights on all the cars I can find that have them.
As somebody's .sig once said, "Stop Yakking On Your Cell Phone, Turn Off Your Blinding Fog Lights, And DRIVE!"
    [*] Yes, I know that 4-wheel BMWs are supposedly      "Bimmers," while it's the motorcycles that      are "Beemers." In practice, I've never      actually heard anybody use the term "Bimmer,"      apart from automotive journalists.
Geoff
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"Fighter pilots make movies.
Bomber pilots make history."
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Thank you everyone for your replies. It seems that an MB 230 SLK Kompressor is a good investment. I've read that MB might not be as sporty as an Alfa GTV but what the heck... When I get to get the roof down I'm sure it wil all be forgotten.
Another thing that I am not sure if it's good or bad is the automatic gearbox. I'm used to manual. It is a nice thing to have thing when you are playing around in the curves - which we have lots of here in Norway. But how is the auto-gearbox in MB SLK. I've read something about some electronic adaptive system... Is it any good?
One again, thank you for your replires. I'am eager to do my testdrive right after the hollidays.
Rafael
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The good thing about the SLK is that it's a well-rounded car. The money seems to have been spent all around the product on a decent supercharged engine, a Vario roof, plenty of safety options, ESP, instead of featuring only a fast engine and leaving other things out.
The bad thing about the SLK is that it's a well-rounded car. The engine and transmission won't have the spunk of a BMW straight-six and a six-speed; then again, it'll probably last much longer. Likewise, it's a great touring car, but there are certainly times when a manual would have more control over tight curves and spiriting driving.
The driver-adaptive transmission is brilliant in some regards. It has an internal sensor that can determine whether it is traveling uphill or downhill, and hold shifts longer to emulate manual control. In fact, it works quite well. It holds, upshifts, downshifts and maintains a higher RPM as needed on turns, hills, descents. It's quite fun that the transmission handles things so well.
But can you throw it around like a BMW you don't really care about long term? Nope, it's grounded. It's an MB and it wants to feel solid for stability and high-speed safety. It won't be the fastest car on the road, and it won't be the best autocross candidate, but for the combination of qualities it does pull together, nothing else touches it.
Just a matter of preference. I'd suggest trying to place aside any initial temptation toward Vario roof novelty or less than ideal characteristics of what you like to feel when winding on home, and then work from that. You'll want to understand what the long-term experience will be like with whatever car you choose. For me, the SLK would do it all. You might check into an SLK320 for a more muscled response; if you went with the SLK32, you'd have the best of everything, with its very responsive racing configuration.

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> > it all. You might check into an

If you decide on the 32 you might be even happier to wait a bit for the new 55.
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Right. And who will pay for the fun? ;-) Here in Norway, where I live, this kind of cars cost three times as much as in for instance USA. And the cars with muscles are especially punished with the customs duty. So I think I'll settle for an "old" 98' 230 at least for now. :-) Therefore italian sports cars have more sencible prices here because og their low engine volums. Italy has fees based on the same insane rules as in Norway.
The test drive will clear up if the MB is worth it. Still looking forward to it.
R.
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Merc automatic gearboxes are good. Some people say they are better to have than Merc manuals.
DAS
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