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Used Mercedes-Benz SLK review: 1997-2014

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.

The Mercedes-Benz SLK roadster was one of the earliest examples of the modern day open-top car. Earlier versions weren't really sports cars; rather, they were open-top tourers. With each new model, the SLK moved more in the direction of genuine sports driving, perhaps not a full-on sports machine, except in AMG variants, but getting mighty close.

This was one of the first convertibles in modern times to use a folding hardtop, something that's become almost the norm since Mercedes revived the concept that dates back to the 1930s.

A disadvantage of the hardtop that folds is the amount of space it takes from the boot when it's not in use. Mercedes has managed the compromise well, but check for yourself to make sure there is enough room for your specific needs.

The second-generation Mercedes-Benz SLK roadster was launched late in 2004. It's larger than the original and followed a styling theme sort of based on the front of a Formula One car.

The third generation arrived downunder in September 2011, only a couple of months after its European launch - illustrating the growing importance of Australia to the German head office. This time its styling made it look like a smaller version of the AMG SLS sports roadster. While the Mercedes SLK doesn't have a bonnet that stretches to the outrageous length the SLS's, it certainly does make a statement.

The Mercedes-Benz SLK was launched only with four-cylinder engines, many of which were supercharged. Later models followed convention by being turbocharged instead.

Servicing and spare parts aren't cheap, nor are they as expensive as you might expect

A major revamp of the SLK in July 2000 saw a V6 being offered for the first time. Big-gun V8 models, heavily revised from the original by the AMG division, have stunning acceleration backed up by superb engine sounds.

Most Mercedes SLKs use an automatic transmission. A six-speed manual option was offered in Australia only on the SLK200 Kompressor.

Mercedes SLK is backed up by strong dealer networks. Servicing and spare parts aren't cheap, nor are they as expensive as you might expect.

Insurance is generally moderately priced for a car in this class, but drivers with a poor record may have big slugs added to their premiums. Some companies will charge extra for the AMG variant.

Many Mercedes-Benz SLKs are serviced by authorised dealerships and this adds to the value of the car at resale time. Ask to see the service books as proof. Smart owners then keep up the service record to maximise the value of their SLK when they eventually want to move onto another car.

What to look for

Feel and listen for correct operation of the roof

Look over the interior for signs of an SLK that's been caught in the rain with its top down: water damage or stains, particularly in the dash top, instrument panel, seats and carpets. Lift the carpets to check for dampness. It's probably best to do this in the presence of the seller as technically you're pulling the car apart.

Feel and listen for correct operation of the roof. Hesitation and/or creaks may mean it hasn't been lubricated correctly. Dealers tell us special lubricants are required.

Check for signs of crash repairs: ripples in the panels when viewed end on are easy to spot, as are tiny paint spots on unpainted areas such as glass and badges.

If crash repairs appear to have been carried out arrange for a full inspection by someone who specialises in upmarket cars.

Always call in a Mercedes expert for the final word

The engine should start promptly and idle steadily the moment it fires up. The four-cylinder units won't be quite as smooth as the sixes, but not that far from them.

Check the gauge to make sure the engine warms up quickly.

During your road test the engines should answer the throttle almost immediately. The supercharged 'Kompressor' units and the non-turbo engines will have a faster response than the turbo-petrols.

After doing your own initial checks always call in a Mercedes expert for the final word.

Car buying tip

We check the condition of the left front wheel and tyre of any car before looking at anything else. A scratch probably indicates a poor driver. Multiple scratches and dings? Perhaps look elsewhere.


Year Price From Price To
2014 $27,200 $72,600
2013 $22,800 $62,920
2012 $19,000 $54,340
2011 $16,000 $43,780
2010 $15,400 $42,900
2009 $13,400 $37,510
2008 $11,200 $33,330
2007 $10,900 $30,800
2006 $10,100 $29,040
2005 $9,900 $28,710
2004 $9,700 $27,170
2003 $9,700 $27,170
2002 $9,700 $27,170
2001 $9,700 $27,170
2000 $9,700 $19,690
1999 $9,900 $16,830
1998 $9,900 $16,830
1997 $9,900 $16,830

View all Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class pricing and specifications

Pricing guides

Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
Highest Price

Range and Specs

SLK200 2.0L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO $9,900 – 14,850 1997 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class 1997 SLK200 Pricing and Specs
SLK230 Kompressor 2.3L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO $11,500 – 16,830 1997 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class 1997 SLK230 Kompressor Pricing and Specs

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Pricing Guide


Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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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.