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2003 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class

$2,409 — $16,853 USED
Convertible
2 Seats
19-23 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 2 trims

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Vehicle Overview
Little has changed for 2003 on Mercedes-Benz’s lower-priced, two-seat, retractable-hardtop convertible. A new, high-performance SLK32 AMG version emerged for the 2002 model year and is equipped with a 349-horsepower supercharged V-6 engine, racing-derived brakes and an AMG SpeedShift transmission. Only 1,000 models were destined for the U.S. market. A new Sport Package that is inspired by the SLK32 AMG is available for the regular SLK-Class models and includes a fresh front air dam, rocker panels and a rear valance.

Face-lifted for 2001, the SLK320 has a 215-hp, 3.2-liter V-6 engine, while the original SLK230 Kompressor uses a supercharged four-cylinder that makes 192 hp. Each model has Mercedes-Benz’s Electronic Stability Program.

Exterior
Equipped with sculpted rocker panels, Mercedes-Benz’s smallest model in the United States sits on a 94.5-inch wheelbase that is 5 inches longer than the Mazda MX-5 Miata’s. Push a button on the console and the articulating metal roof raises or retracts automatically into the dual-hinged trunk space in about 25 seconds. The trunk opens in two different modes: at the front to accept the roof or at the rear to fit a small amount of luggage. Door mirrors feature integrated turn-signal flashers.

The SLK32 AMG gets a special, recalibrated, reinforced suspension with unique spring rates and shock-absorber valving. Double-spoke, 17-inch alloy wheels on the SLK32 AMG hold P225/45ZR17 tires up front and P245/40ZR...
Vehicle Overview
Little has changed for 2003 on Mercedes-Benz’s lower-priced, two-seat, retractable-hardtop convertible. A new, high-performance SLK32 AMG version emerged for the 2002 model year and is equipped with a 349-horsepower supercharged V-6 engine, racing-derived brakes and an AMG SpeedShift transmission. Only 1,000 models were destined for the U.S. market. A new Sport Package that is inspired by the SLK32 AMG is available for the regular SLK-Class models and includes a fresh front air dam, rocker panels and a rear valance.

Face-lifted for 2001, the SLK320 has a 215-hp, 3.2-liter V-6 engine, while the original SLK230 Kompressor uses a supercharged four-cylinder that makes 192 hp. Each model has Mercedes-Benz’s Electronic Stability Program.

Exterior
Equipped with sculpted rocker panels, Mercedes-Benz’s smallest model in the United States sits on a 94.5-inch wheelbase that is 5 inches longer than the Mazda MX-5 Miata’s. Push a button on the console and the articulating metal roof raises or retracts automatically into the dual-hinged trunk space in about 25 seconds. The trunk opens in two different modes: at the front to accept the roof or at the rear to fit a small amount of luggage. Door mirrors feature integrated turn-signal flashers.

The SLK32 AMG gets a special, recalibrated, reinforced suspension with unique spring rates and shock-absorber valving. Double-spoke, 17-inch alloy wheels on the SLK32 AMG hold P225/45ZR17 tires up front and P245/40ZR17 tires in the rear. A front air dam incorporates AMG fog lights, while a small lip spoiler at the rear of the trunk lid reduces aerodynamic lift by more than 50 percent, according to the manufacturer.

Interior
Two occupants get leather bucket seats. Standard equipment includes dual-zone air conditioning, an air filter, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a Bose cassette stereo system. In addition to the V-6 engine and wood interior trim, the SLK320 has eight-way power seats and a telescoping steering wheel. Maximum cargo space is 9.5 cubic feet but is only 3.9 cubic feet with the top down.

Sport seats in the SLK32 AMG are upholstered in two-tone Nappa leather and come equipped with integrated headrests and what Mercedes-Benz calls “substantial” side bolsters. Two-tone leather trim throughout the interior mates with dark bird’s-eye maple wood. Mercedes-Benz’s Tele Aid emergency assistance system includes such functions as vehicle diagnostics, remote door unlocking and alarm monitoring.

Under the Hood
The hottest engine of the SLK-Class is the supercharged Kompressor V-6 in the SLK32 AMG, which whips out 349 hp and 332 pounds-feet of torque. The SpeedShift transmission in the SLK32 AMG promises shifts that are up to 35 percent faster than those in a conventional automatic. Mercedes-Benz claims the SLK32 AMG can race from zero to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds.

The supercharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine in the SLK230 Kompressor roadster is rated at 192 hp. Moving up to the SLK320 brings a 215-hp, 3.2-liter V-6. Both engines can team with the standard six-speed-manual transmission or with an optional five-speed-automatic unit that incorporates Touch Shift for manual gear changes.

Safety
Side-impact airbags, all-disc antilock brakes, traction control and an electronic stability system are standard in all models. A BabySmart child-recognition system keeps the front-passenger airbag from activating.

 
Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com
Posted on 3/26/03

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.9
7 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.7)
Performance
(4.7)
Interior Design
(4.6)
Comfort
(4.4)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.9)
(5.0)

Kompressor Kicks on all accounts

by Pearl from Honolulu, HI on November 2, 2018

No better value for your money on the MB SLK Kompressor! Even with a lot of mileage, if you maintain the maintenance aspect of the vehicle you will not be disappointed in it's performance. I've loved ... Read full review

(5.0)

Summer Fun

by Frankl from Hamburg NJ on May 13, 2018

I wanted a motorcycle but wife nixed that due to prior accident. Driving this car is closest thing to being on a motorcycle. It handles unbelievably The superchargerhas more power than it needs. Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2003 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class currently has 3 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2003 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class has not been tested.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The SLK-Class received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker