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Mercedes-Benz SLK series 2004 Review

Looking for a used Mercedes-Benz?

Buy with confidence; all Mercedes-Benz Certified Pre-Owned vehicles come with a factory backed warranty, 100 point safety check, comprehensive service history and 24hr roadside assistance.

But if it is half as good the new, second generation SLK I regret missing out.

In the course of a year we get our hands on a lot of flash sports cars here at CARSguide but the baby Benz impresses as easily the best example of the genre that we have driven so far.

Even the entry level SLK 200 Kompressor with a relatively conservative 120kW of power is stunningly good.

The small two-seat SLK sports car with its removable metal "vario" roof joined the Benz lineup in 1996.

The current model which made its debut in September is available in two forms at the moment, the Kompressor with a supercharged four cylinder engine and the hard-hitting SLK 350 with a 3.5-litre V6 – an AMG V8 is still to come.

Our test vehicle was the SLK 200 Kompressor, although we will be bringing you more on the V6 in the weeks to come.

The Kompressor is a ball to drive, with snappy performance, an urgent note to the exhaust and pin sharp, point and shoot handling.

The supercharged 1.8-litre in-line four cylinder engine is a lift from the larger C-Class range.

It provides the same output but is claimed to use eight per cent less fuel than the previous power plant.

The car lacks some punch off the line, but delivers strong mid- to high-range acceleration which is where you want it.

Maximum power of 120kW is delivered at 5500rpm, while peak torque of 240Nm is available between 3000 and 4000rpm.

Revs build quickly and the engine peaks easily in the lower gears, so short sharp changes are the order of the day.

Our test vehicle was fitted with the optional six- speed manual transmission which actually reduces the price of the car by $3100 – a win-win situation for the enthusiast.

The stubby shift lever falls easily to hand and is ergonomically sculpted to sit snugly in the palm, with a quick precise feel to the change.

Reverse gear moves from left rear to left front in the revised transmission.

A five-speed auto with F1 style change buttons is standard.

The Kompressor returns a respectable 7.9 seconds for the 0-100km/h dash in manual form while the auto is a little slower at 8.3 seconds.

But sports cars are more about style and twisting mountain roads than flat out, straight line performance.

Point this car at a corner and revel in the experience as it rotates neatly about its own axis before sling- shotting out the other side, with almost perfect road manners.

Equally impressive is the light way the car sips fuel, with the on board computer reporting average consumption at just 9.5L/100km from the 70-litre tank – we might add, without a hint of being driven sedately.

The SLK is a striking car, much bolder and more visually impressive than the model it replaces, with its long swooping bonnet and large swept back headlights.

Twin exhaust and chunky rubber herald the car's credentials from the rear.

With its huge three pointed star dominating the front radiator grille, there is certainly no mistaking this car for anything else.

Of course, there is only room for two inside, so it cannot be judged in terms of practicality.

However, the electrically operated metal roof offers all the joys of open air motoring with none of the drawbacks.

The SLK is just over four metres long and stands a shade under 1.3 metres tall, weighing in at 1390kg with a body that is 72mm longer and 65mm wider than the previous model, providing occupants with more space and greater comfort.

Boot space is reasonable, with a hard plastic cover that must be in place before the roof has sufficient space to open.

Opening and closing the roof takes just 22 seconds.

About the only thing we disliked about the SLK is that long descent to the driver's seat and the large, wide opening doors which do not augur well for narrow driveways.

The seats are also a little firm and the steering wheel a tad upright for our taste.

Standard equipment includes climate controlled airconditioning and leather upholstery, driver and front passenger airbags, side airbags, cruise control, stability control with anti-lock braking system, acceleration skid control and brake assist.

The Mercedes-Benz SLK Kompressor is priced from $86,900.

Pricing guides

$19,990
Based on 7 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$18,390
Highest Price
$21,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
SLK320 3.2L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO $13,600 – 19,690 2004 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class 2004 SLK320 Pricing and Specs
SLK230 Kompressor 2.3L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO $11,600 – 16,940 2004 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class 2004 SLK230 Kompressor Pricing and Specs
SLK32 Kompressor AMG 3.2L, PULP, 5 SP $19,500 – 27,170 2004 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class 2004 SLK32 Kompressor AMG Pricing and Specs
SLK200 Kompressor Spec. ED. 2.0L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO $10,100 – 15,180 2004 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class 2004 SLK200 Kompressor Spec. ED. Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$18,390

Lowest price, based on 7 car listings in the last 6 months

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Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.