Mercedes SLK II 280/350 (2004 – 2011), sound and light show, from €9500

What are collectibles?

These are cars of special interest, so they deserve to be preserved. It’s not necessarily old, but it does exist in some quantity, either because the manufacturer decided to, or because it was discontinued. They then benefit from the features that make them particularly desirable: engine, chassis, design or concept. Ultimately, it’s likely that their rating will increase. An additional argument to collect them before everyone else!

Why a Mercedes-Benz SLK R171 V6 collection?

Here’s a Mercedes because we don’t make it and we won’t make it anymore. Relatively light, beautifully drawn and equipped with a big V6 atmosphere, the SLK R171 sports characteristics that are most pleasant, but a thing of the past. And it makes a tune that no electrified 4-cylinder can boast. In addition, its coupe-cabriolet formula, although very relevant in the two-seater and updated by Mercedes in 1996, is no longer available in the star manufacturer…

It’s a nice move from Mercedes to update the 1996 retractable hardtop formula. The first SLK with the name (code R170), the first modern coupé-cabriolet, was an impressive success thanks to its playful styling and boldness. . Its successor, the R171, unveiled at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show, uses its formula and proportions but completely changes its styling language.

Introduced in 2004 and designed under the tutelage of Gorden Wagener, the Mercedes SLK R171 aims to be more consensual than its predecessor, with curves and a nose reminiscent of the McLaren-Mercedes SLR. He opens the 7G-Tronic box.

More classic, it favors curves over angles, wants to be sensual rather than intellectual, and sports a mouthpiece inspired by the McLaren SLR. It is inspired by Formula 1, where Mercedes has had some success: the SLK therefore uses good old tricks to renew its appeal potential. Initially offered in three versions, 200K, 350 and 55 AMG.

It’s the latter that interests us here, with a 272-horsepower 3.5-liter V6. Nice all-alloy engine with four overhead camshafts running 24 valves. It is mated to a six-speed manual transmission or an optional seven-speed automatic transmission. All this ensures sporty performance between a top speed of 250 km/h and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.6 seconds.

With the roof down, here the 2004 Mercedes SLK R171 turns into a coupe with 0.32 CD.
With the roof down, here the 2004 Mercedes SLK R171 turns into a coupe with 0.32 CD.

To stay on the ground, the Germans rely on fairly advanced trains with three arms for the front wheel and a multi-spoke axle at the rear. As standard, in addition to a roof that opens in 22 seconds, there is automatic air conditioning, cruise control, a light sensor, a sound system, 17-inch wheels, and even ESP.

All this creates a very high price: 46,150 euros or 57,000 euros today according to INSEE. But the SLK remains unique in its kind, it sells very well, especially as an additional (490 €), the Airscarf system warms the passengers’ necks.

The roof of the Mercedes SLK R171 opens in 22 seconds: fast!  With the roof down, the trunk swallows up 208 l, or 63 l more in the old SLK R170.
The roof of the Mercedes SLK R171 opens in 22 seconds: fast! With the roof down, the trunk swallows up 208 l, or 63 l more in the old SLK R170.

In late 2005, a 231-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 rounded out the lineup, creating a reliable bridge between the 200K and 350. Priced at €42,900, this 280 version accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.3 seconds. enough is enough. In early 2008, the SLK was slightly redesigned with new bumpers and minor interior modifications.

If the mechanics on the 280 are hardly changed (it was renamed the 300 in 2010 after a little better refinement), the 350 benefits from a new distribution (equipped with illuminated valves), which increases the power to 306 hp. In 2011, the SLK R171 was replaced by the R172, a pretty deep evolution to be called the SLC in 2016 before disappearing in 2020. Sixteen years for the platform, we know how to make it profitable at Mercedes…

In early 2008, the Mercedes SLK received new shields and a modernized interior, while the 3.5-liter V6 was upgraded to 306 horsepower.
In early 2008, the Mercedes SLK received new shields and a modernized interior, while the 3.5-liter V6 was upgraded to 306 horsepower.

How much does it cost?

You can find SLK 350s in very good condition from €9,500 with around 200,000 km. For 12,000 euros you get a car for 12,000 euros, and for 15,000 euros the mileage drops below 100,000. The most expensive ones are 22,000 euros and show less than 50,000 km. Surprisingly, 280 is the same price. Restyled versions are very rare on the market in the V6, the green malus introduced in 2008 certainly turned many customers away.

Since 2008, the rear bumper of the SLK R171 benefits from a kind of diffuser.
Since 2008, the rear bumper of the SLK R171 benefits from a kind of diffuser.

Which version should you choose?

Since the 280 and 350 are the same price, you can opt for the latter, which offers more power, especially in its redesigned version.

This is a great option for placing (water) skis in the gallery.  Here is a restored SLK from 2008 with new mirrors.
This is a great option for placing (water) skis in the gallery. Here is a restored SLK from 2008 with new mirrors.

Collector’s editions

These will be copies in perfect condition, with a few miles on them and loaded with options. If they’re in a hand box, that might be a plus, as that’s pretty rare. A rare restored 350 will be sought after.

The SLK R171's M272 V6 is very powerful, provided you change the balance shaft gear in time.  What is expensive...
The SLK R171’s M272 V6 is very powerful, provided you change the balance shaft gear in time. What is expensive…

What to control?

The SLK is generally very well made and benefits from a polished finish, only the V6 M272 can cause a serious problem: premature wear of the balance shaft gear. Because it is driven by the timing chain, it results in misalignment that causes severe engine damage.

Mercedes partially supported the replacement of the pinion in question in the copies tracked on the network: make sure that this is done, because it is an operation worth 3500 € to get out of the block. The redesigned versions seem less disturbing. In any case, if the check engine light comes on, be careful! Funny idea from Deutsche Qualität… The control unit sometimes has its quirks, which are usually solved by reprogramming.

In an automatic transmission, if it refuses to go beyond 5, you suspect a problem with the speed sensor, fortunately inexpensive to replace. On the suspension side, in case of spring breakage, check the silent blocks. It doesn’t cost much to replace it.

Some electronic errors may appear in the passenger compartment. Test the roof: if it opens with difficulty, you first suspect a faulty sensor, a small damage.

In short, choose a copy that tracks well before considering mileage.

On the road, the redesigned Mercedes SLK R171 (here in 2008) surprises with the balance of its engine's vitality and behavior.
On the road, the redesigned Mercedes SLK R171 (here in 2008) surprises with the balance of its engine’s vitality and behavior.

Driving

A very attractive presentation is combined with quality assembly in the redesigned SLK. We also benefit from an excellent driving position and fairly comfortable seats. The V6 wakes up with a restrained rumble, then slowly builds. On the road, the engine shows its qualities: it pulls a very quick 7200 rpm and manages very nice times, while also sounding really nice. That’s what a 6 cylinder is for! In turn, the box moves quickly, a good surprise.

During restyling in 2008, the steering wheel of the SLK got new controls, the GPS and the air conditioning unit were revised.
During restyling in 2008, the steering wheel of the SLK got new controls, the GPS and the air conditioning unit were revised.

On the steering side, the Direct Steer system with its variable gear ratio takes some getting used to, but it gives the SLK some unexpected agility in turns. Well-balanced and equipped with excellent grip, the chassis follows without batting an eyelid, so we enjoy abusing this roadster, which is more sporty than we imagined. Obviously, it stays comfortable, the windshield sometimes vibrates over bumps and it rolls a bit more than the Boxster, but its homogeneity is pleasing. In comfortable driving you can drive in winter with the roof down, the Airscarf warms the neck, it’s really nice. And in the roof space, we’re dealing with silent cutting and cutting for long trips, especially since it drinks reasonably: an average of 10.0 l/100 km.

Youthtimer alternative

Mercedes-Benz SLK 320 (2000 – 2004)

Armed with a 218 hp V6, the Mercedes SLK R170 here in 2000 gets good performance as well as great music.
Armed with a 218 hp V6, the Mercedes SLK R170 here in 2000 gets good performance as well as great music.

The first SLK, which appeared in 1996, waited until the 2000 restyling to get the 3.2-liter V6. Developing 218 hp, it still tops out at 245 km/h, equipping the 320 version with a nice tune. Equipped with 6 manual or 5 automatic transmissions, the SLK 320 prefers to drive quite quietly, if not ridiculously, when exploiting horses. As for the formula of the removable hardtop, it shows its relevance, making this two-seater as usable in winter as it is in summer. From €7,000.

From 3004, it looks very good for the SLK 350, where it is equipped with additional xenon headlights.
From 3004, it looks very good for the SLK 350, where it is equipped with additional xenon headlights.

Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 (2004), technical characteristics

  • Engine: 6-cylinder V, 3,498 cc
  • Fuel supply: Electronic injection
  • Suspension: McPherson struts, triangular springs, anti-roll bar (AV); Polygon axle, coil springs (AR)
  • Transmission: 6-speed manual or 7-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
  • Power: 272 hp at 6000 rpm
  • Torque: 350 Nm at 2400 rpm
  • Weight: 1,390 kg
  • Maximum speed: 250 km/h (manufacturer data)
  • 0 – 100 km/h: 5.6 s (manufacturer data)

Visit La Centrale to find Mercedes SLK R171 V6 ads.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *