Premium sporty/performance car; Built in Germany
  • 2-door convertible
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $15,200 – $62,000*

2005 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class

2006 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class

2005 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class

2005 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class

  • Acceleration (SLK55 AMG)
  • Exterior finish
  • Interior materials
  • Steering/handling
  • Cargo room
  • Entry/exit
  • Ride (SLK55 AMG)

It may not be the first nameplate mentioned when talk turns to sports cars, but the SLK has enough accessible everyday performance to hold its own in pretty fast company. Of broader appeal is its blend of open-air excitement, hardtop security, solid engineering, and Mercedes prestige.


Redesigned for 2005, this two-seat convertible had new styling, features, and engines. It was slightly larger and heavier than its 1998-2004 predecessor, but retained a power-folding hardtop. Two models were offered. The SLK350 had a 3.5-liter V6 with 268 hp, 53 hp more than the previous 3.2 V6. It came with a 6-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed automatic with manual shift gate. The high-performance SLK55 AMG model had a 355-hp V8 and 7-speed automatic. SLKs came with ABS and traction/antiskid control. Also standard were knee airbags and side airbags designed to protect head and torso. They also included rollover deployment. The SLK350 had 17-inch wheels, the SLK55 18s. The SLK350 Sport Package option included firmer suspension, high-performance tires on different-style 17-inch wheels, lower-body aero trim, and steering-wheel shift buttons for the automatic transmission. Also optional was an industry-first feature Mercedes calls the Airscarf. It placed a heater and fan within each seatback to deliver heated air through neck-level vents.

Yearly Updates

2006 SLK-Class
Mercedes-Benz added a new base model to its lineup of two-seat hardtop convertibles. The SLK280 had a 228-hp 3.0-liter V6 and manual or automatic transmission.
2007 SLK-Class
The smaller of Mercedes-Benz’s two-seat convertibles was unchanged for 2007.
2008 SLK-Class
The 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class was little changed.
2009 SLK-Class
The 2009 Mercedes-Benz SLK received more available power and freshened styling. The mid-level SLK350 got a 300-hp 3.5-liter V6, which represented a 32 hp bump over 2008 models. A newly available audio unit with voice control combined a wireless cell-phone link and 6-disc CD/DVD changer. The new audio unit had optional features such as a navigation system with real-time traffic updates, HD radio, MP3 connectivity, and a hard drive that could store 4 gigabytes of digital music files.
2010 SLK-Class
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class was largely unchanged.
2011 SLK-Class
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class lineup shrinks–losing the high-performance SLK55–pending a redesign due in calendar 2011 as a 2012 model.


longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive

The SLK350 had a 3.5-liter V6 with 268 hp, 53 hp more than the previous 3.2 V6. It came with a 6-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed automatic with manual shift gate. The high-performance SLK55 AMG model had a 355-hp V8 and 7-speed automatic. For 2006, The SLK280 had a 228-hp 3.0-liter V6 and manual or automatic transmission.

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/183
Engine HP 228
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 221
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
7-speed automatic
dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/213
Engine HP 268-300
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 258
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
7-speed automatic
ohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.4/332
Engine HP 355
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 376
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
7-speed automatic


Road Test

SLK350s are the only models made available for testing. They have ample power from any speed, and Mercedes-Benz’s estimate of 5.5 sec 0-60 mph with either transmission feels right. Both transmissions have smooth shift action, with the manual giving the most sporty feel.

A test manual-transmission version averaged 22.7 mpg. We have not had an opportunity to measure with the automatic. All SLKs require premium-grade fuel.

SLK rides like the sports car it is. The base suspension feels firm, but not harsh, over expansion joints and patchy pavement. The Sport Package’s uprated suspension has great high-speed ride control, but it induces further choppiness on rough roads.

At the same time, these convertibles deliver adroit handling response with good balance through turns. The Sport Package sharpens SLK’s reflexes further still, but it’s not really enough to offset the detriment to ride quality.

They’re not obnoxiously loud, but exhaust rumble is noticeable at any speed. The tires rumble on coarse surfaces, and wind noise is modest.

Interior design is classy as expected from a Mercedes. Materials are of top-shelf quality, and the available wood or aluminum trim further dresses up the cabin. Top operation is a one-button affair, and it takes about 22 sec to raise or lower. A standard tilt/telescope steering wheel is a driver comfort plus, but the seats lack lumbar adjustment.

The power hardtop does eat into trunk space. With the top up, there’s sufficient space for a long weekend’s worth of luggage. Top down, space shrinks to just enough room for a couple small, soft suitcases.


Model Tested: 2005 Mercedes-Benz SLK350, automatic

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 7
Fuel Economy - 5
Ride Quality - 4
Steering/Handling - 8
Quietness - 4


Controls/Materials - 7
Room/Comfort Front - 5
Room/Comfort Rear - 0
Cargo Room - 2


Value - 6

Total: 48


2-door convertible
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
95.7 160.7 70.4 51.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
9.8 18.5 2
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.9 42.5
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: Rumbling or squealing noises may come from the A/C compressor due to a bad pulley or bearings for which there are improved components. (2003-06)
Blower motor
Description: The blower motor may quit, but run again only to quit again due to a faulty blower motor regulator. (2006-07)
Audio system
Description: The buttons in the steering wheel may stop working due to electrostatic discharge damaging the steering column module. (2005-07)
Description: The heated seat(s) may quit working due to failure of the center cushion heater.
Steering problems
Description: Dealers were checking all vehicles that came in for service to replace a steering rack boot that was possibly damaged during assembly. (2005)
Water leak
Description: Water leaks at the windshield or rear window-to-trunk due to seal failures and revised seals have been made available. (2005-06)
Electrical problem
Description: The steering wheel controls may quit working due to malfunction of the steering angle sensor. (2005-06)
Check-engine light
Description: The wiring harness in the engine compartment can rub on a bracket and can short out and blow a fuse, causing the check engine light to come on. (2005)

Recall History

Description: An incorrect software calibration number (SCN) coding received during a recent workshop visit can affect a number of functions: (1) the fuel gauge readings may be incorrect; (2) a stuck fuel-level sensor may not be displayed in the instrument cluster; (3) the check engine light may illuminate incorrectly; and, (4) the speedometer may be out of tolerance. In the event of a vehicle crash, the electrical fuel pump may not receive a crash signal that is required for the fuel pump to disconnect and prevent future fuel delivery as designed. Dealers will recode the SCN.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.