2008 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class

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2008 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Review

By KBB.com Editors

The 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLK is one of the more desirable premium roadsters, as it offers the advantages of both a hardtop coupe and an open-air convertible. Mercedes-Benz helped pioneer the retractable hardtop and the latest iteration operates with unwavering efficiency, capable of being raised or lowered in just 22 seconds. Beyond the SLK's gorgeous exterior, stunning interior and enthusiast-inspired performance and handling capabilities, the car's most attractive feature is its price. With a sticker starting below $45,000, the SLK is well within reach of luxury car buyers seeking a fun second vehicle for weekend getaways or romantic moonlight drives. A tiny trunk and minimal interior storage might limit how far you go and how much you take, but you'll enjoy every minute of it.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you love the idea of open-air driving but are concerned about the long-term reliability and security provided by a canvas soft-top, the 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLK might be the answer to your automotive dreams. The SLK's retractable hardtop will last the life of the car, can't be cut open and operates with just the touch of a button.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Tall folks may find legroom a little tight, especially on the passenger side where the firewall can cramp big shoes. Though the price is reasonable for the make, there are now much less expensive hardtop convertibles on the market, such as the Pontiac G6, Mazda MX-5 Miata and Volkswagen Eos.

What's New for 2008

A ten-year anniversary "Edition 10" trim joins the lineup, available as an SLK280 or SLK350 and offering a standard automatic transmission, 17-inch wheels and red stitching on the seats and dash.

Driving the SLK-Class
Driving Impressions

The SLK350's 3.5-liter V6 makes 268 horsepower and can move the slick little roadster from zero to 60 miles per hour in just 5.4 seconds. The experience is made all...

... the more pleasurable by a new, quick-shifting six-speed manual transmission; the optional seven-speed automatic is equally as pleasing. The SLK feels more composed on the road than previous generations. Its ride has definitely been improved, with less harshness over bumps and improved stability in tight turns. You'll find that the steering is precise but somewhat heavy, requiring authoritative input from the driver. With the top down, the AIRSCARF neck heater blows hard enough to take the chill out of the morning air, or the retractable hardtop can be locked in place, creating a cozy but quiet environment.

The AIRSCARF seat heating system blows warm air on the back of your neck and shoulders, keeping you warm when the air outside isn't.

Improved Clear Coat Paint
Improved Clear Coat paint is 40 percent more durable, helping to resist small scratching that appears after repeated washing and waxing.

2008 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Details

Mercedes has done a wonderful job of organizing the SLK's interior without losing the look and feel common to all Mercedes products. The supportive bucket seats include the clever AIRSCARF option that blows warm air on the back of the neck, a nice feature to have when cruising on crisp autumn mornings. The SLK's retractable hardtop still eats up trunk space, but the design responsibly leaves some usable room for storing small luggage and valuables.


It's amazing what a few extra inches can do for a car. Compared to the first-generation SLK, the 2008 model feels downright spacious. The SLK's wide footprint gives it a low and athletic stance, and its SLR McLaren-like front end turns heads at every encounter. The perfectly aligned side bodylines appear as though carved from a single block of steel, with a gently-curved rear end that features flush-mounted cut-in tail lights and twin oval exhaust ports. The SLK looks as good with its retractable hardtop in place as it does when that top is tucked away beneath the color-matched hard cover.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The SLK comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), traction control, slip control, stability control, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, front and rear fog lights, dual-heated power mirrors, AM/FM stereo with CD, dual front knee and side-impact airbags, leather seats, cruise control, leather-wrapped tilt/telescopic steering wheel and 16-inch alloy wheels on the SLK280, with 17-inch wheels on the SLK350.

Optional Equipment

Options include a seven-speed automatic with manual-shift mode, dual eight-way power seats with memory, heated seats, Harman/Kardon audio, navigation, HID headlamps and several different designo designer trim packages.

Under the Hood

The SLK280 has a 228-horsepower V6 that feels plenty peppy, but not rocket-ship fast. If you can swing the extra cash, the SLK350 is the way to go. If money is no object, you don't mind a harsher ride and you want the most in performance, the SLK55 AMG is sure to please.

3.0-liter V6
228 horsepower @ 6100 rpm
221 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2700-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 (manual), 18/24 (automatic)

3.5-liter V6
268 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2400-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 (manual), 17/23 (automatic)

5.5-liter V8
355 horsepower @ 5750 rpm
376 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20

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