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I bought this car brand new in May 2000, picked up from the factory in Bremen (but bought through an official UK Mercedes dealer). On the day we picked it up the roof went down and back up but the driver's door window wouldn't go back up, and the car had to go back into the workshops. This set the tone for the car - it has been horrendously unreliable, more so than a 14 year old MG Midget I once owned. It has needed a new rear shock absorber, a new air conditioning unit, a new "valve" for the fuel tank (also faulty on the first day out of the factory), a new gearbox sensor, a new exhaust, a new battery and a gap kept appearing between the driver's door window and the frame. Every time I push the boot release catch it is so flimsy it feels like it is going to snap off in my hand. The bonnet has needed respraying twice - the paint is so soft I have never had a car with such horrendous stonechips. The ride is awful unless you are on a billiard table smooth road (there aren't many of those in the UK!) - if you crash into a pothole the rear suspension smashes onto the bumpstops which is really uncomfortable. It is very thirsty - I have never achieved more than 285 miles on one tank of fuel. One thing about this car really, really irritates me - it sounds like a diesel - Mercedes Benz cannot make 4 cylinder engines.
Having said all that the interior is quite spacious for a two seater (and I'm 6'1" tall!) and the boot is huge with the roof up, and bigger than you expect with the roof down.
The handling isn't bad (although a Ford Focus is better), and it is really quite rapid in a straight line (0 - 60 in 7.1 sec, 149 mph flat out). Whenever I drive it I am always aware of the looks the car gets - it really is a thing of beauty - one of the most stylish cars on the road (if only they built it as well as they designed it). You could probably sell tickets to people to watch the roof going up and down!
However, my wife's BMW 323Ci is a much nicer car to spend time in so I drive that and she drives the SLK. Oh yes - and Mercedes dealers charge £85 an hour for labour - at least Dick Turpin had the decency to wear a mask!
DON'T BUY AN SLK - buy a Boxster / Z4 / TT instead - you will not regret it.
Good review mate! My dad owns one. Wouldn't say it was poor build quality, but the interior is quite plasticy
ampuk2000 08.01.2004 13:03
I think you have got a poor car here. Build quality is clearly not up to scratch. Although I would never buy a convertible from Mercedes - they are much better at the Saloons and Estates.
Sweary 21.11.2003 12:43
Well, that's a bit of a change from the Maestros isn't it! I can really sympathise, I made the same kind of leap, from a Triumph Spitfire to a sporty modern thing, and I can imagine that if your dream car is a lemon it must be pretty disappointing. I never thought I'd see the day when a Mercedes compared unfavourably with a Lotus for reliability. I'm fairly gobsmacked!