Review: Mercedes-Benz SLK (2004 – 2011)


Georgeous jewel like looks reminiscent of a miniature McLaren SLR. Electric folding hard top. A much desired and aspired to car.

Apalling ride on 19-inch rear alloys. Not as together to drive as a Nissan 350Z or Porsche Boxster.

Recently Added To This Review

21 June 2018

Report of rear subframe of 2005 Mercedes Benz SLK R171 eaten through with rust. Owner quoted arround £2k to replace, including brake pipes dust plates and rear wheel bearings. Read more

30 June 2017

Report of lacquer pealing off metallic red paint on 2010 Mercedes Benz SLK 200K. Turned out to have been badly resprayed before purchase 3 years previously. Read more

27 March 2017

Multiple spring and damper failures reported on 2005 Mercedes SLK350 7Gtronic auto by 68,000 miles. Car is on 225/40R18 92W XL tyres on the front and 245/35ZR18 92Y XL in the rear. Front offside coil... Read more

Mercedes-Benz SLK (2004 – 2011): At A Glance

In its day, the SLK was probably the most exquisite piece of street jewellery you can buy. It's a ‘must have' ‘want one' kind of car on its looks alone. A bit girly, if you had to get critical, but Clarkson smoked an SLK55 so it must be okay for blokes too.

It has all the bits of the original SLK, most importantly the electric folding hardtop. But it looks vastly better. A bit like a shrunken Mercedes McClaren SLR with better proportions. Come to think of it, personal preferences aside, there probably isn't a better-looking car than the new SLK anywhere on the planet.

Mercedes Benz SLK280 2006 Road Test

Mercedes Benz SLK350 facelift 2008 Road Test

What does a Mercedes-Benz SLK (2004 – 2011) cost?

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Mercedes-Benz SLK (2004 – 2011): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4089–4103 mm
Width 1777 mm
Height 1296 mm
Wheelbase 2430 mm

Full specifications

The roof works brilliantly. You just toggle a button. And even with an inflatable space-saver tyre underneath, there's enough room in the boot for a reasonable amount of luggage. Mercedes maximises the capacity by providing a hard plastic luggage cover between your stuff and the space the roof needs to fold into. You can get 208 litres in there top down, or 300 litres top up.Top on my list would be AIRSCARF that is a very clever neck level heating system, which blows out hot air via the headrests. With the SLK 350 taking just 22 seconds to convert from a hardtop to roadster, no ray of sunshine will be missed.

Second on my list of extras would be Direct Steer giving exquisite response on the twisting country lanes.

Last but by no means least would be the LINGUATRONIC voice control system with either the Audio 50 APS or COMAND packages. Simply speak your destination and the sat nav will obey saving valuable time trying to fathom out how to enter addresses. It will also recognise voice commands for radio stations or names from your phonebook.

Child seats that fit a Mercedes-Benz SLK (2004 – 2011)

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What's the Mercedes-Benz SLK (2004 – 2011) like to drive?

The 7-Gtronic box can be left on its own, or you can start changing your own gears at any time using the rockershifters on the back of the steering wheel. Press the forward end to change down and the end closest to you to change up. But seven gears are a lot of cogs, and to get a blast of speed from ‘Drive' you may have to toggle down two or three ratios rather than one or two.

Like the new SL the SLK280 has a great sportscar exhaust note. Other drivers expect a ‘280' to be a bit limp-wristed compared to an SLK55 AMG or even a 350, but if the occasion arises it rises to the occasion with a 0-60 blast in 5.9 seconds. The 7-Gtronic is actually a tenth of a second quicker than the 6-speed manual.

It grips like Evostick too. On all SLK's the rear tyres are fatter than the fronts so they are very difficult to slide (impossible, in my case as I'm not that leery a driver). However, this comes at an expensive price. With the optional 225/45 R17 fronts and 245/40 R17 rears the ride quality is the most bone-jarring of any car in my recent memory. Speed cushions have to be taken at 5mph if you don't want to smash your coccyx or gnash your teeth.

The shockwaves reverbate thoughout the car. ‘She' will not be amused. Even a section of road near me that hasn't deliberately been turned into an obstacle course was extremely unpleasant to drive along. So, word of warning here. Stick to the standard 55 and 50 profile tyres on 16" wheels.

The SLK is naturally up against sportier cars bought either for their ability or simply as status symbols, like the Porsche Boxster. The SLK doesn't drive as well as a Boxster, but it doesn't look like an upturned bathtub either. At the lower end of its price range you could instead go for a Honda S2000 or a Nissan 350Z or an Audi TT or, of course, a BMW Z4. But any bloke over 40 just looks silly in an S2000. A Nissan 350Z is the most hairy-chested and butch of the bunch. A Z4 offers the widest choice of engines and transmissions, including autos for the ladies and the softies, but doesn't have an electric folding hard top and isn't a Mercedes. And the Audi TT has just been replaced by a new one which I can't tell you about.

So, with the SLK, Mercedes has a niche market completely sewn up. All the status of a Mercedes electric folding hard top roadster. A choice of manual or auto. Stunning, gorgeous looks. And a decent drive as well.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
SLK200 Kompressor 33–36 mpg 7.6–7.9 s 184–209 g/km
SLK200 Kompressor Automatic 35 mpg 7.9 s 192 g/km
SLK280 29–30 mpg 6.3 s 220–231 g/km
SLK300 30 mpg 6.3 s 220 g/km
SLK300 Automatic 32 mpg 6.2 s 207 g/km
SLK350 27–29 mpg 5.4–5.6 s 227–255 g/km
SLK350 Automatic 31 mpg 5.4 s 209 g/km
SLK55 AMG 24 mpg 4.9 s 288 g/km

Real MPG average for a Mercedes-Benz SLK (2004 – 2011)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

18–42 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Mercedes-Benz SLK (2004 – 2011)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

What's the cheapest way to insure two cars?

I have a 2005 Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 7G tronic with 68000 miles and have an Aviva multi car policy with my Kia Sportage. Now we have come up for fully comprehensive renewal and for both cars they want £497 with the discount for multi vehicle, but the separate costs are £270 for the SLK and £291 for the Kia. I have full NCB on both cars, max 3K yearly mileage on the SLK and my wife as a named driver. We both have clean licences and are both 68 and in good health. Do you know of a specialist insurance company that would be cheaper for my SLK as it is an occasional car with low mileage of less than 3K per year, we both have clean licenses and have not had an accident since year dot.
What you need to do with your current insurer is alter the use on the Mercedes-Benz and ensure it does not have to and from a place of work on - if you are retired and do not work, take it off completely. At the quote you have been given, that is extremely cheap compared to what it would cost for each vehicle on their own. You would struggle to ensure the Mercedes for £497 on it 's own. Expect your premiums to raise massively next year, as it will for everyone. You could try
Answered by Tim Kelly
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