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1999 Silver SLK 230
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm seriously contemplating buying a '99 SLK 230 w sport package and MT, but need to act fast. Have furiously been doing research on this forum (thanks everyone!) and elsewhere, but have a few final questions I could use some expert advice on:

1.How does this car handle in the rain? I can get snow tires for winter, but it is so light does it fishtail out or easily hydroplane in wet conditions?

2.If I spring for Blizzak snow tires, can this car be a true 4 season vehicle (in the Midwest, Chicago area)

3. Read many reviews re headroom and size that offer conflicting opinions. I'm 6'2" and 195 lbs. - will it be comfortable?

4. Looks like many cars have experienced a number of minor problems in the first several years … This is a 1999 - do the problems continue over the life of the car, or do things settle down once the usual suspects are fixed?

5. Read many negative reviews about the wimpy "exhaust" note. Any reasonable (i.e. cost effective) modifications to pipes and mufflers that address that? I had my heart set on a throaty sports car sound like the 350 Z or Infinity G35 coupe.

6.Car I'm interested in has 35,000 one-owner miles. It's silver with red/black leather interior and immaculate condition. Private owner is asking $21,000 (I know her) … is that a good price? (it's right on with NADA/Edmunds … guess I'm looking for some anecdotal reassurance)

7. I have been planning on purchasing an Infiniti G35 coupe for the last year. Married with two kids, but wanted a fun and sporty car (our other car is a van of course). That said, the Infiniti was always a stretch financially. This car fell in my lap and is half the price. Would prefer the 4 seats, 6 cyl engine and larger displacement, and the throaty exhaust. But, am asking myself if those things are worth $20,000 dollars. Plus … always wanted a convertible. I know this is unfair, subjective and unsportsmanlike like, but what do you think???

Thanks all!
 

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SLK32, ML430
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The SLK is not that light of a car. The weight is not a contributing factor to the handling in the rain. Most important for the rain is your tires & tire pressure.

The SLK230 will not sound like a G35/350Z. You just can't make an I4 sound like V6.
 

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SLK in brilli silver
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I have the exact car your talking about, minus the red inserts. It handles pretty well in the rain w/the right set of tires. The KDW's I have on now made a huge difference over the dunlop 9000's. So to answer your question about rain it does fine.

I have never had mine in snow but I recall reading several posts that its not great in the snow.

I have read but never bothered w/changing the exhaust but the sound can be modified some but it wont sound like a v12. If i recall someone said the supersprint makes it sound more throaty. Or maybe cats, my memory isnt what it used to be ;) If the rumble/power is that important your gonna want a 32 instead.

As far as height/weight ur fine, im 6.2 and I have no problems at all. Some ppl on here are 6.4.

Don't lull urself into thinking problems are solved, many common ones can appear at anytime. Usually not major but a pain in anycase. Common are peeling interior, burning out brakelights, bad microswitches.

Seems like a fair price for a well taken care of car. The only suggestion I have is if you get the car change all the fluids unless she can show its been changed recently. That includes coolent, brake, tranny, and gear diff. I changed the tranny and diff at 50k and it was clearly time.

For me this car has been a love/hate relationship. I love how the car looks, and when running properly is way fun to drive. But my 99 has had many problems and thank god it was starmarked or I would of been out at least an additional 4k. I would ask her for the service record to see how often its been in the shop and for what. I might get flamed for this, but I test drove both the 320 and 230 and in honesty there felt very little difference, yes some but not anywhere near worth the extra cost, imho. So if the size of the engine is a issue for you w/the slk, dont let it be because when u look at the specs you gain very little until you step up to the 32. Besides you can always pulley the 230 if u need some more power. As far as wanting 4 seats and the growl of the engine personal choices you will have to make. Good luck :) and if you get it hope to see you around here.
Just my 2cents :)
 

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Walkman - 4/9/2005 12:27 PM

1.How does this car handle in the rain? I can get snow tires for winter, but it is so light does it fishtail out or easily hydroplane in wet conditions?
Rain is not a problem even for the summer tires unless there is standing water. You can hydroplane in any care but with summer tires, you cannot be stupid. The worst problem I have had is in one side of the car passing through standing water. But this is not a show stopper.

With all-season or winter tires, rain will not be a problem more than any other car.

2.If I spring for Blizzak snow tires, can this car be a true 4 season vehicle (in the Midwest, Chicago area)
The snow tires are a must in winter. Driving with summer tires on this car is asking for it. The snow tires will not let you zip around like a 4WD but it will prevent you from getting stuck somewhere. I wouldn't want to do a snow commute for several months. On the other hand, if the roads are frequently plowed (and you don't live in some rural route where you have to regularly go over snow on the road) you can do just fine and the snow tires will do OK on days when you get stuck in a snow storm. But in the midwest, you are much better off getting an old clunker for the winter. The salt and other idiots on the road are stressful on the car and the driver to make it much fun. I have been using the SLK in NJ all year around for the last two winters.

3. Read many reviews re headroom and size that offer conflicting opinions. I'm 6'2" and 195 lbs. - will it be comfortable?
Width isn't a problem but the height may be depending on whether you have long legs and short trunk or vice versa. For tall people there is no way to get good thigh support on this car. The seat and steering wheel on this car is not very adjustable beyond the rudimentary. You will just have to sit in it and try it.

4. Looks like many cars have experienced a number of minor problems in the first several years … This is a 1999 - do the problems continue over the life of the car, or do things settle down once the usual suspects are fixed?
This car is a walking (running?) time bomb. Things will go wrong and it can happen at any time. You are better off if the usual problems have been caught and fixed but some are chronic. They don;t have a perfect fix for the brake light and so you will need to follow some of the tips posted here. I did my suggestion almost two years ago and have had no problem with the brake light. Check the rear passenger pillat for chafing from the top being down and see how serious it is.

If the electrical vacuum pump in the trunk that detects open doors and controls the roof light and alarm hasn't been fixed and wrapped in plastic, it is only a matter of time before the water leaks in (unless you keep the car out of any rain and snow situation) and youe car will start acting like it is possessed - lights/alarms going on and off, locks suddenly getting unlocked, etc. This is worth checking and if it hasn't been replaced, you should pull it out and check for signs of corrosion.

My rear quarter panel window motor broke down but this doesn't seem to be a chronic problem.

If you have a very good dealer, you can shame them into repairing some of these problems even though it is out of warranty but don't count on it given the problem MB is in.

If the above sounds like the car is more trouble than it is worth, it is unless you have bought it and have to live with it or can justify it in emotional/irrational terms. If your spouse is of the type that is going to be unhappy about this choice, he/she will find plenty of ammunition for "I told you so" during the lifetime of this car so you better be prepared if that is the situation.

5. Read many negative reviews about the wimpy "exhaust" note. Any reasonable (i.e. cost effective) modifications to pipes and mufflers that address that? I had my heart set on a throaty sports car sound like the 350 Z or Infinity G35 coupe.
You can get AMG mufflers that improve the sound a little bit but not worth the trouble. The only thing that will make it sound significantly different will make it look like a rice car.

6.Car I'm interested in has 35,000 one-owner miles. It's silver with red/black leather interior and immaculate condition. Private owner is asking $21,000 (I know her) … is that a good price? (it's right on with NADA/Edmunds … guess I'm looking for some anecdotal reassurance)
Check the red inserts carefully for peeling and see if they have been replaced. Also I have seen pictures of a car where the red didn't age gracefully while exposed to the sun turning somewhat pink. The price isn't bad at all but consider the total cost of ownership. It can be potentially high on this car.

7. I have been planning on purchasing an Infiniti G35 coupe for the last year. Married with two kids, but wanted a fun and sporty car (our other car is a van of course). That said, the Infiniti was always a stretch financially. This car fell in my lap and is half the price. Would prefer the 4 seats, 6 cyl engine and larger displacement, and the throaty exhaust. But, am asking myself if those things are worth $20,000 dollars. Plus … always wanted a convertible. I know this is unfair, subjective and unsportsmanlike like, but what do you think???
Apples and oranges comparison. Two very different cars and one isn't a substitute for the other and you cannot rationalize one with the other. Depends on which of the features you like more. Only you can make that determination.
 

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2002 SLK 32 AMG
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Ya know, there's a few things that I like to tell my friends and people that like to discuss my car thinking they know it all because they've read a review or two. I tell them that people that buy the SLK buy it for several reasons. One, there's a lot of room in it vs the competition. Its got a hard top, for what its worth, the trunk is reasonably large if you actually compare it to like the Cadilac XLR. I show them how nice the door panels feel, there not hard plastic, there's some give to them. I let them feel the quality of the leather on the seats, its heavy, rugged, a product that will last a long long time.
The body lines and rims are sporty, with a touch of class. That big Mercedes symbol on the grill says a lot, everyone that sees it knows that what you have is special. When they wanna talk about numbers, my car stands up to the best, even though its as heavy as it is. If I wanted to buy a faster car, I prolly could, but I didn't. I bought a piece of art, road art. If its fast, well, that's just a bonus. Its quiet cruising through town, unlike those American cars that abso-fucking-loutly sound like a wet dream, my car is stealthy drawing less attention from the "MAN". Of course, I have a SLK32, so there is a slight improvement on the exhaust note than the 4 banger. When it comes time to compare my car to some of the other cars that do better on track tests, who cares, I'm not on the track. I'm on the road and if you read the fine print they'll always say that the SLK is champ when it comes time for being on the road with its silky smooth manorisms/shifting/suspension.
I don't care how fast my car goes between cones. I just wanna avoid pot holes without spinning out. And the SLK can do that just fine with its stability controls. (I don't know if 98 has that sorry). A woman will always feel good getting into one. And you'll always feel good opening the door for her.
What would I do if I was you? Save, I'd save just enough to get into the SLK320. But that's just me. I do like 6's over the 4's. My wife has a 4 C230. The thing is a rocket and really, it doesn't sound that bad. I'm not embarrased at all, its a great car.
If you buy it, and its ok mechanically, I don't think you'll ever be sorry. When the sun is shinning and the top is down there's nothing that can replace the feeling of freedom.

Another thing, the Saturn SKY is just around the corner for about the same price range, New Car, New Warranty.... something to think about. Check it out.
 

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99 SLK230 Sport 5sp
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A month or so ago I bought a `99 SLK230 Sport 5 speed with 35K on it (looks like new) for $23.5K from a MB dealer (with year/100K warranty). I bought it as a 'fun to drive' commuter car that gets decent mileage (compared to my 4runner and suburban). So far, I love it.

1. Rain: I have new continiental tires and it sticks to the road wet or dry.

2. Snow: I certainly don't expect this car to do well in the snow due to the rear wheel drive, light weight and low ground clearance. My plan is to drive it through the winter but drive a 4wd gas hog when the roads are covered on storm days.

3. Room for you: I think a test ride is the only way you'll answer that question. I suspect it'd be tight for you. I'm 6' and it is fine. I had a guy who was 6'5" in it who needed to wait for me to put the top down before he got in. His forehead was in the breeze.

4. Problems: My buddies with Benz's suggested I buy one from a dealer to get the warranty and/or have a mechanic who I trust to work on it. I have the warranty and know someone (very well) who'll take care of it for me after the warranty runs out.

5. Sound: This isn't a muscle car.

6. Price: Less than I paid for mine, but I had the warranty.

7. Thoughts: I think you want a convertible with 4 seats, 6 cyl engine and larger displacement, and the throaty exhaust. If I thought I needed 4 seats, then I wouldn't even consider a 2 seater - that's a significant limitation in a vehicle. But it also makes is a fun little car.

-don

PS: That folding hardtop is fantastic and was one of the main things that drew me to this car.
 

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'98 SLK230, 2007 Black E63 AMG
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As far as the snow goes, I live in Baltimore and I used Glistad (sp?) Norfrost snow tires on my '98 230 and the car did great this winter. It honsetly drove as well in the snow as I could have possibly wanted. I don't have another car and I never felt limited.

I am 6' and 210 lbs and I fit just fine, but you definitly need to get in the car a drive around a bit to make sure oyu are comfortable.

Good luck

PT
 

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1998 MB SLK 230
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I like the sound of my exhaust. It's actually quite loud. Not as deep as a V6 obviously but it's nice and loud and got a decent "growl" to it especially when pulling off hard.
 

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Here is my view. I have a 99 SLK with 80k km on it.

Rain is never a problem unless you drive like a moron in pouring rain.

Snow is never a problem if you have fantastic snow tire. I do: Nokian NRW. These are Finnish snows that are just amazing (and H rated). Snows + decent tracktion control = zero problems. I live in Toronto and drive it without fail regardless of the weather.

Height; no comment as i am nowhere near 6'2".

Problems. Phew. Funky roof stuff now and then. I just noted from a post above that my brake light issues are not unique. My PFE pump just got wet and now my alarm is going nuts. To-do for next week: go to war with MB to get it fixed off-warranty. All things considered, I would get a 2000 if I could. Never get a version 1.0 (Even though 98 was 1.0, I think that 99 was pretty much the same except for the antenna).

All said, fun car. I'll get another unless MB really pisses me off with this PFE unit.
 

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Get what you really want. I bought a 2001 TT about four months ago, and ended up trading it in with a $2000 loss about 3 weeks later, because what I really wanted was a SLK. I do not regret it at all. I love my SLK, and it's great fit for me.

So, is this the car that makes you feel good and makes you excited?
 

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Go for a 320 (2001 and newer) with less miles. Sounds just right and upgraded interior from older ones etc.

At least drive a 320 first and if the difference doesn't seem to be worth the extra cost go for this one if it feels right.

Let us all know... Good luck

These SLK's are truly a joy to drive!
 

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1999 Silver SLK 230
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Discussion Starter #12
Hey everybody - I can't thank you enough. You've been very helpful - and particulary patient with a newbie who is asking questions that have probably been asked a thousand times before.

For some reason, I've become "infatuated" with this car. My head tells me to go for a later model, and maybe a 320 ... but I know the person selling this and how well she takes care of her cars. Seems like that has to count for something ... Plus it would be such an "easy" transaction vs. travelling out of state or haggling with salespeople. (Yes, I'm rationalizing ... I know!) ... I've never bought a used car before, so am aprehensive about trolling on E-bay or even at the local MB dealer ...

She arrives back in town Tuesday and has other interested buyers ... I'll try the car out then for the first time ... I'm leaning toward a purchase if it looks as good as billed ...

Thanks again everyone.

Steve
 

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'01 SLK230,'93 190E 2.3, 1971 LS5 Corvette Convertible
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Walkman - 4/11/2005 1:18 AM

Hey everybody - I can't thank you enough. You've been very helpful - and particulary patient with a newbie who is asking questions that have probably been asked a thousand times before.

For some reason, I've become "infatuated" with this car. My head tells me to go for a later model, and maybe a 320 ... but I know the person selling this and how well she takes care of her cars. Seems like that has to count for something ... Plus it would be such an "easy" transaction vs. travelling out of state or haggling with salespeople. (Yes, I'm rationalizing ... I know!) ... I've never bought a used car before, so am aprehensive about trolling on E-bay or even at the local MB dealer ...

She arrives back in town Tuesday and has other interested buyers ... I'll try the car out then for the first time ... I'm leaning toward a purchase if it looks as good as billed ...

Thanks again everyone.

Steve
Steve,

I bought a 2001 SLK230 new and have enjoyed the car very much. The 4 cyl. performs great for me and has more power than I need, especially since most of my driving is in town and the gas mileage is good.
It sounds like you are doing your research before deciding on your friends '99. It would be hard for me to pay $21,000 for a '99 when there are 2001's in the same price range. Here is a silver/charcoal 2001 SLK320 I saw yesterday at a Toyota dealer for $21,999 asking price. Good price for a 6 cyl. automatic.

Good Luck on your purchase,

Dave
 

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Any mercedes is expensive to service- it goes with the brand name. so, do not buy one without a warrnty.

i bought a pre-owned 2003 SLK320 with 5K miles on it for waaay below the original invoice. i was lucky enough to get a one year old car, lady-driven at that. and it wuz yellow- i wuz able to get the price down since they r not too many takers for yellow cars!

my life has definitely gone on the upside since then. the 3-pointed star is definitely a status symbol and if u got a flashy, yellow 3-pointed star, man ur life is made! but again, i am single and got no kids.

i wud suggest that u wait sometime, save mo' money and get a slk320. the 97-2004 slks were always known as chick cars mainly bcos of the 230 version. but 320 is a good price-performance bargain though personally i wud prefer more power.i know the "pull" of buying the car rigt away, right now but I am glad i did not buy the 230 though i got close to doing so many a time!

good luck!
 
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