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2005 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Convertible

Roadster 3.5L

Starting at | Starting at 18 MPG City - 25 MPG Highway

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  • $46,250 original MSRP
Printable Version

2005 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Convertible

Printable Version

2005 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Convertible

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2005 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class

Source: New Car Test Drive

Overview

By some estimates, the first U.S. baby boomer turned 50 in February 1996. Coincidentally (or maybe not), a trio of new roadsters was introduced, the BMW Z3, Porsche Boxster, and Mercedes-Benz SLK. The midlife crises of the oldest boomers breathed new life into the roadster, a segment that had long been dead.

The Mercedes SLK, was welcomed to the U.S. with open arms in January 1997 (after being introduced in Europe), and immediately captured awards from the automotive media, including the prestigious 1998 North American Car of the Year, presented by an independent jury of the top 50 automotive journalists in the U.S. and Canada. Sales, which Mercedes hoped would hit 6,000 a year, increased to a peak of nearly 13,000. Mercedes sold more than 66,115 SLK models in its first seven years of production, with more than 300,000 sold around the globe.

Advance the clock eight years, and baby boomers, whose ranks number 78 million, are turning 50 at a rate of one every seven seconds, and they now have a host of sports cars to choose from, including the Nissan 350Z, Audi TT, Honda S2000, and Cadillac XLR to name only a few. And the earliest entries are now appearing in next-generation form.

The Mercedes SLK is among those entering their second generation. With its extreme makeover for the 2005 model year, the SLK seeks more men suffering midlife crises, with its bolder, more macho appearance, added horsepower and technical innovations. The original proved too popular with women making it less desirable for men, Mercedes marketers say.

Model Lineup

Two versions of the SLK are available for the 2005 model year, the SLK350 and the more powerful, more macho SLK55 AMG.

The SLK350, which replaces the SLK320, comes with a new 3.5-liter V6 rated at 268 horsepower. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, while a new seven-speed automatic is optional. The SLK comes standard with leather upholstery, a nine-speaker sound system with an in-dash CD player, an antitheft alarm and the Tele Aid telematics system that provides emergency response service or direct connection to the nearest Mercedes dealer.

Options include bi-xenon headlamps that turn with the direction of the car for better illumination around corners and a headlamp cleaning system; a heated steering wheel; a CD changer in the glove box; a DVD navigation system integrated in the radio; adjustable seats with memory function; rain-sensing wipers; a parking assist system; and a tire-pressure warning system.

A premium package includes automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers and automatic dimming mirrors, variable power steering and the infrared roof opener and garage door opener. A heating package includes heated seats and headrests (see below). An AMG sports package and a lowered sports suspension are available for the SLK350.

In the early days of the fall 2004 introduction of the 2005 SLK, Mercedes will offer the SLK350 Launch Edition, of which only 1,000 will be sold; Mercedes intends to sell about 10,000 SLKs in the U.S. a year. The special edition features premium Nappa leather, exclusive trim and a special equipment package.

The SLK55 AMG (on sale in November 2004) is equipped with a 5.5-liter V8 engine rated at 362 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque, paired with the new AMG Speedshift seven-speed transmission. It's easily distinguished by AMG styling cues, 18-inch AMG wheels, an AMG sport steering wheel with gearshift buttons, and comes with an AMG suspension, exhaust and brakes.

SLK models are equipped with six airbags, adaptive front bags that deploy with a force based on the severity of the crash, side-impact airbags that protect the head and thorax, as well as knee airbags. Two-stage seatbelt force limiters, which tighten based on the severity of the crash, are also part of the safety package; we recommend always wearing seatbelts as they are your first line of defense in a crash.

Active-safety features include anti-lock brakes (ABS), which allows the driver to maintain steering control in an emergency braking situation; brake assist, which automatically applies full braking force should the driver mistakenly relax pressure on the brake pedal in an emergency braking situation; and Electronic Stability Program, which helps the driver maintain control in corners by keeping the front or rear tires from skidding.

Walkaround

The redesigned Mercedes SLK is far more macho than the almost cute appearance of the original SLK in an effort to attract more male buyers. The current SLK sells to 52 percent women and 48 percent men and U.S. marketers want to flip the percentage, and appeal to 60 percent men versus 40 percent women. The thinking, shared by other automakers, is that women will buy a car that appeals to a man but men won't buy cars associated with women.

Mercedes designers were inspired by Formula 1 styling themes and the McLaren SLR, an ultra-powerful, ultra-expensive Mercedes sports car. Racing-inspired cues include the arrow-shaped nose, steeply raked windshield and twin tailpipes. The wedge-shaped SLK sports a long, sloping hood and a short rear with wide doors in between. The SLK's design is a tad schizophrenic, as if two different designers did the front and back. Its face is busy, so there's lots to look at, almost too much, while the back end is clean and sleek.

In addition to gaining more machismo, the SLK also has grown in key dimensions. Compared with the current SLK, the new one is: 2.8 inches longer with 1.2 inch more wheelbase; 3 inches wider; and 1.3 inches higher. The added dimensions allowed for a seemingly roomier cabin, albeit still cozy, and a larger, more useful trunk, measuring 6.6 cubic feet, up 1.8 cubic feet.

The SLK did retain its retractable roof that dazzled crowds when it was first shown as a concept in at the 1994 Turin (Italy) and 1995 Paris auto shows. Now, the top folds in 22 seconds, three seconds faster than before. The top borrows from the more expensive SL roadster which turns the rear-window unit with its curved glass so it packages with the metal roof panels, thus creating more trunk space in concert with the more upright back end. (Optional run-flat tires help keep the trunk clear.) As before, the retractable hardtop, when up, makes the SLK feel like a solid coupe whereas softtops often suffer from annoying body shake and wind noise with the top up.

The SLK350 comes in 11 colors, including a new silver and a Caspian blue. Mercedes has exerted another technical innovation on the exterior; the paint used on the SLK, which is being expanded to all Mercedes models, is designed to be far more scratch resistant than other paints.

Interior Features

Inside, the added length and width have created passenger quarters that are a tad more roomy. The environs remain cozy but less cramped. Still, storage is almost non-existent but for the glovebox and door pockets. Purses, briefcases and jackets have to stow in the trunk when two passengers are aboard. Highly adjustable in a variety of directions, the seats are extremely comfortable and supportive even during long drives.

What's most impressive about the new SLK interior is the giant leap in quality of materials. The material covering the dash is irresistible to touch, soft and almost silky. Switches, buttons and trim are silver against the dark background. Five color choices for the interior are offered, black, blue, beige, red and ash. The ambiance is high-tech but not in a steely cold way, but rather in an inviting manner. The only wood is that which is ordered with the optional Vavona wood trim package.

A large center console divides the cabin in half. The console is home to the optional navigation and communications systems. In front of the driver, the redesigned instrument cluster features two large dials surrounded in silver, one of the speedometer, clock and fuel gauge, the other for the tachometer. Both have white needles.

Automatic climate control with built-in sun and pollutant sensors is standard.

A number of new techie features are available on the SLK. Among the most intriguing is what Mercedes calls the Active Heated Headrest or, in other countries, the AirScarf, deemed too feminine a name for the U.S. A first in the industry, the heater installed in the upper backrests of both seats blows warm air about the head and neck. Mercedes says the heater will allow the SLK to go topless for more hours of the day and to extend its top-down season. Traveling with the top and windows down, one can barely feel a whisper of warm air from the heater. The trick is to power the windows up and then one feels the warming blast, which can be set at one of three levels. Another clever feature is an infrared remote control to raise and lower the metal roof, useful for letting hot air out as you're walking up to the car (and great for showing off).

Driving Impressions

While an array of engines is offered on the SLK in Europe, the first U.S. model will be offered only with the new 3.5-liter dual-cam V6, marking the first use of this new engine. It replaces the previous 3.2-liter V6 and, thankfully, the supercharged four-cylinder Kompressor that appeared in the original SLK. The new engine marks a huge jump from the original SLK's 185 horsepower and even the 215 horsepower of the current V6. Yet, fuel economy is actually a tad better, at an estimated 22.2 miles per gallon, over the SLK320.

The new, more powerful engine appropriately matches the more aggressive, macho look of the roadster. The engine is rated at 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, putting it ahead of the BMW Z4 3.0i, the Porsche Boxster S, and V6-powered Audi TT. Mercedes engineers estimate the SLK350 is capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mile per hour in less than 5.5 seconds, which would put it ahead of the pack. Indeed, the SLK packs plenty of punch when taking off from a stoplight or accelerating onto the highway, as we found while driving the car at its European introduction.

Another major change for the SLK is the shift to rack-and-pinion steering which delivers far more precise, point-and-shoot steering, an extremely appreciated improvement around blind hairpin mountain turns. Likewise, the sturdier body structure, which led to a complete absence of body shake, has made the handling sportier, while the ride remains comfortable.

Summary

The 2005 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class is all-new, with macho styling, macho power, more stable handling, and a roomier interior. Male and female baby boomers in midlife crisis are sure to appreciate the macho look, spirited driving dynamics and long list of innovative technologies.

Model Line Overview
Base Price (MSRP)
$NaN
Model lineup:
Mercedes-Benz SLK350; SLK55 AMG
Engines:
3.5-liter 24-valve V6; 362-hp 5.5-liter V8
Transmissions:
six-speed manual; seven-speed automatic
Safety equipment (Standard):
dual frontal adaptive airbags; dual head/thorax side airbags; dual knee airbags; two-stage seatbelt force limiters; anti-lock brakes, Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Program, Tele Aid telematics for emergency response
Safety equipment (Optional):
N/A
Basic warranty:
4 years/50,000 miles
Assembled in:
Sindelfingen, Germany
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSRP):
Mercedes-Benz SLK350
Standard equipment:
leather upholstery, nine-speaker AM/FM/CD (in-dash), alarm, Tele Aid telematics system
Options as tested:
Active Heated Headrest, DVD navigation
Destination charge:
N/A
Gas Guzzler Tax:
N/A
Price as tested (MSRP)
$NaN
Layout:
rear-wheel drive
Engine:
N/A
Horsepower (hp @ rpm):
268 @ 6000
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm):
258 @ 3500
Transmission:
six-speed manual
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:
N/A
Wheelbase:
95.7 in.
Length/width/height:
160.7/70.4/51.1 in.
Track, f/r:
60.0/61.0 in.
Turning circle:
34.4 ft.
Seating capacity:
2
Head/hip/leg room, f:
N/A
Head/hip/leg room, m:
N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r:
N/A
Cargo volume:
6.6 cu. ft.
Payload:
N/A
Towing capacity:
N/A
Suspension F:
independent, McPherson three-link with anti-dive device, double-tube gas-filled shock absorbers, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Suspension R:
multi-link independent with anti-squat, anti-dive device, single-tube gas-filled shock absorbers, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Ground clearance:
N/A
Curb weight:
3231 lbs.
Tires:
225/45WR17W front, 245/40WR17 rear
Brakes, f/r:
disc/disc w ABS, Brake Assist in.
Fuel capacity:
9 gal.

Printable Version

2005 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Convertible

Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
Traction/Stability Control Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Std
Side Head Air Bag Std

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Std
Fog Lamps Std
Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Opt
Intermittent Wipers Opt
Variable Inter. Wipers Opt
Rain Sensing Wipers Opt

Security

Alarm Std
Anti-theft System Std
Telematics Std
Printable Version

2005 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Convertible

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Miles

Months

Mercedes-Benz Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

The MBCPO Limited warranty provides vehicle coverage for 12 months and Unlimited vehicle miles and begins at the expiration of the New Vehicle Limited Warranty
Age/Mileage Eligibility 6 years / 75,000 miles
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection Yes
Return/Exchange Program Yes. See dealer for details.
Roadside Assistance Yes
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible No

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2005 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Convertible

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