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2009 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class

$7,510 — $24,854 USED
Convertible
2 Seats
18-22 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 1 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?
(4.8) 9 reviews

The Good

  • 3.5-liter V-6's performance and gas mileage
  • Comfortable ride
  • Sporty looks
  • Decent trunk space
  • Top-up visibility

The Bad

  • Seat comfort diminishes during long drives
  • Seats limit comfort for tall drivers
  • Cabin not luxurious enough for price
  • Tiny glove box
2009 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2009 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class
  • SLK350's V-6 gains 32 hp for 2009
  • Modest styling changes for 2009
  • Retractable-hardtop roadster
  • Available seven-speed automatic
  • High-performance SLK55 AMG version

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

by Mike Hanley - If you haven't been in the market for a convertible in a while, you might be surprised to learn how many retractable-hardtop convertibles are available. Mercedes-Benz's SLK-Class was at the forefront of this trend when it debuted for the 1998 model year. It's gone through one complete redesign since then, and for 2009 it receives modest styling changes inside and out — and a more powerful 3.5-liter V-6 engine in the SLK350, which I tested. Also available with new styling are the SLK300 with a 3.0-liter V-6 and the SLK55 AMG with a 5.4-liter V-8.

There are a number of things to like about the SLK350, including its comfortable ride, strong powertrain and svelte looks. Unfortunately, there are just as many things that detract from its appeal, like frustrating power seats and a cabin that isn't luxurious enough for the price this roadster commands.

Styling
The SLK350 makes an interesting visual statement. The car has a bulge running down the middle of the hood that recalls the SLR McLaren, Mercedes' supercar, and the large three-pointed star draws your attention to the grille. Exterior changes for 2009 include a split lower bumper that calls to mind the front wing of a Formula One racecar. Smooth bodyside styling continues around to the short rear deck, and the bottom of the rear bumper gains some strakes (see a side-by-side comparison with the 2008 model).

Convertibles seldom have trouble looking good with the top down; that's what they're ...

by Mike Hanley - If you haven't been in the market for a convertible in a while, you might be surprised to learn how many retractable-hardtop convertibles are available. Mercedes-Benz's SLK-Class was at the forefront of this trend when it debuted for the 1998 model year. It's gone through one complete redesign since then, and for 2009 it receives modest styling changes inside and out — and a more powerful 3.5-liter V-6 engine in the SLK350, which I tested. Also available with new styling are the SLK300 with a 3.0-liter V-6 and the SLK55 AMG with a 5.4-liter V-8.

There are a number of things to like about the SLK350, including its comfortable ride, strong powertrain and svelte looks. Unfortunately, there are just as many things that detract from its appeal, like frustrating power seats and a cabin that isn't luxurious enough for the price this roadster commands.

Styling
The SLK350 makes an interesting visual statement. The car has a bulge running down the middle of the hood that recalls the SLR McLaren, Mercedes' supercar, and the large three-pointed star draws your attention to the grille. Exterior changes for 2009 include a split lower bumper that calls to mind the front wing of a Formula One racecar. Smooth bodyside styling continues around to the short rear deck, and the bottom of the rear bumper gains some strakes (see a side-by-side comparison with the 2008 model).

Convertibles seldom have trouble looking good with the top down; that's what they're designed to do. What's more telling is how they look when the top is up. The SLK350 has an advantage over its soft-top brethren because of its retractable hardtop, which gives designers more control over the shape of the roof. The SLK350's metal roof seamlessly blends with the rest of the car's design, as opposed to just being something to cover the cabin when the weather is bad. Overall, Mercedes has given the car an appropriately luxurious look that takes key elements from other, more expensive Mercedes-Benz models, like the SLR and SL550, which gives the SLK350 quite a bit of cachet for its class.

Ride & Handling
For a convertible that looks like it's a dedicated sports car, the SLK350 proves to be a decent touring car when you get behind the wheel. Its four-wheel independent suspension yields a compliant ride even on rough roads, so you don't have to worry about this car punishing you on the commute to work if that's how you'll be driving it sometimes.

The experience is equally agreeable on the highway, though a concrete section I drove on made the chassis oscillate up and down. A little bit of wind noise can penetrate the cabin on the highway with the top up, but it's otherwise quiet in there.

Probably the biggest impediment to long-haul comfort is the roadster's firm bucket seats, which began to get uncomfortable after only three hours at the wheel. The seats have substantial side bolsters that'll keep you in place when cornering quickly, but they could use softer padding.

The SLK-Class has a new variable-ratio power-steering system for 2009 that delivers quicker than normal turn-in, but beyond being precise and easy to steer, the SLK350 doesn't engage you the way BMW's 335i retractable-hardtop convertible can.

Performance
The SLK350's 300-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 and seven-speed automatic transmission make a nice pair, with the V-6 providing plenty of power and the automatic executing smooth shifts that can't be felt most of the time. It's also rather thrifty; during a trip from Chicago to Elkhart Lake, Wis. — about 150 miles of mostly highway driving — the SLK350 averaged 29 mpg. Official EPA estimates for this drivetrain are 18/26 mpg city/highway.

Cabin Constraints
The SLK350's cabin is definitely cozy if you're around 6 feet tall, and the car's optional power seats don't help matters. If you're tall, you'll find that the seats work against you in your quest to get comfortable in the car. If you move them back to increase legroom, the backrest automatically moves forward incrementally so it doesn't get mashed against the rear wall of the cabin. Now, I can understand Mercedes' concern for its seats, but shouldn't driver comfort come first? Even though I was able to get relatively comfortable, I was never able to put the seat exactly where I wanted.

Changes to the cabin for 2009 are relatively minor and could easily go unnoticed. The audio system has been revamped and now includes a screen like the one used on models with the automaker's Comand system. It doesn't, however, include the integrated control knob you'll find in a C-Class or S-Class sedan with Comand; selections are made using a set of buttons on the dash. The steering wheel is also new and the gauges have been mildly restyled.

Despite the changes, the cabin is rather plain and basic when you consider the SLK350 starts at about $50,000. Some of the buttons and controls in the cabin, like the ones for the retractable hardtop and side mirrors that are located on the center console, have a low-grade look and feel.

Safety
The SLK350 hasn't been crash tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but standard safety features include antilock brakes, side-impact airbags, knee airbags and an electronic stability system.

SLK350 in the Market
If you have $50,000 or more to drop on a convertible, life is obviously pretty good, and there's no shortage of models in that price range from which to choose. If a retractable-hardtop is what you want, the 335i is a very good one that's priced nearly identical to the SLK350 and comes with a backseat. Among roadsters, this price is also in the territory of the BMW Z4 and Porsche's Boxster. If you're willing to spend a little more, there are V-8-powered models like the Audi S4 Cabriolet and Chevrolet Corvette.

The SLK350 can clearly hold its own against these models in the styling department thanks to its athletic shape, top up or down, but the cabin design doesn't make the same visual statement as the exterior, and some might find themselves wishing for more comfortable quarters. If that's the case, your BMW dealer may hold the cure on his lot.

Send Mike an email 


Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.8
9 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(5.0)
Performance
(4.8)
Interior Design
(4.0)
Comfort
(4.3)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.7)
(4.0)

Great looking car!

by BobF from Anthem, AZ on June 30, 2018

A real head turner for the 5 years I've owned it. Rare 6 speed manual, which has been loads of fun! Good road manners and handles very predictably. Highly recommended! Read full review

(5.0)

Mercedes the best or nothing

by Chrisbenz205 from west jordan on June 25, 2018

I like it a lot. a lot of fun to drive and own. never gave me problems, decent gas mileage. Honestly would buy again. if i didn't already have 4 cars. Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2009 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class currently has 1 recall


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2009 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