1998 Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 Kompressor


A great roadster, very well balanced, fun to drive


The paint peels off the interior surfaces.

Tail light recall, no problem since.

Headliner sagged, and had to be replaced.

The valve cover has some kind of corrosion that my mechanic says is harmless, but it looks bad, and he said there's no easy way to fix it.

General Comments:

This is a very well balanced car.

It is solidly built -- I have had no maintenance issues to speak of.

When it is thoroughly warmed up, it feels as smooth as an electric car. Very refined feel.

Not a speed demon, but faster than it seems. If you shift the automatic down to 3 or even 2 in slow urban traffic and keep the revs up, the supercharger is always on tap, and the car is very darty and responsive.

Going from 60 to 110 seems to take no time at all.

The car likes high speeds. Very stable and balanced at well over 100 mph.

The seats lack lumbar support, and are uncomfortable for any trip over an hour.

Gas mileage (premium only) varies. If you drive it hard through the mountains, downshifting and really laying into it, 17 MPG. Normal city driving, about 23 MPG. Gentle highway driving in fifth gear with cruise control, maybe over 30.

It feels remarkably massive for such a small car, but it handles well and predictably in fast mountain driving.

It is a classic, unadorned, fuselage-like design that will age well.

The retractable hardtop alone makes the car worth owning.

When the top is down, there is very little trunk space.

There are some things that can go wrong with the car that are very expensive to fix.

Having a good Mercedes mechanic you trust makes life much easier (and cheaper).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th October, 2012

1998 Mercedes-Benz SLK Kompressor


Solid, classic design, fun ride


Engine revs, but the transmission sometimes won't engage after stopping, turning and while driving. Have to shift into park, then drive, and it's fine for a while.

Gets stuck in high gear when accelerating. Have to shut the engine off, then re-start, and it drives OK until it happens it again.

Occasionally it has to be shut off and re-started because of rough idling - almost stalls, then perfect after re-start.

Any suggestions?

General Comments:

With all these problems, it still gets me to work.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th April, 2011

1998 Mercedes-Benz SLK SLK230 230 turbo


The interior is a problem that can't be overlooked


The plastic interior of the car was a poor call by Mercedes. They admit to making thousands of them from 1997 through 2006. The red interior especially scrapes to black when touched with a pocketbook, watch, or some other not uncommon object one uses in a car. Because of the number of vehicles involved and the potential cost to them, they will not help rectify this situation in those cars. Retreating the plastic is a temporary fix, and does not stand up any better than the original coat.

General Comments:

It is a shame that this car was made with inferior materials, but a greater shame that Mercedes will admit to the problem, but not help rectify it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 26th October, 2010

1998 Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 2.3 supercharged


The only problem, not counting normal wear and tear, is the defrost at 10000 feet and below zero. Most of the time it could work better. Drive this car daily and all winter; love it. Love to run it on the mt passes here in Colorado. In the summer it's great on the passes with top down. It is a eye catcher. I would buy another one, but this is still fun to drive.


Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st January, 2010

1998 Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 2.3 Kompressor


The SLK230 lacks in reliability and comfort


The car started having a coolant problem at 40,000 miles. The Mercedes-Benz dealership I lived near did not immediately fix the problem, saying it was normal for their cars to run at very high temperatures. A few days after going to their service center, steam started coming out from under the hood. I took it back to them, and they replaced the radiator.

At 42,000 miles, a beeping sound would go off in the cabin whenever the roof separator canvas in the trunk was displaced. Simply hitting a bump would cause this. The dealership was never able to fix the problem. However, pushing the retractable roof button slightly would stop the beeping sound.

At 45,000 miles the passenger side door would not close properly. One would have to slam it to get it to close. I never got this problem fixed.

At 47,000 miles, the retractable roof would not go down when prompted to do so. I brought it to the Mercedes-Benz dealership, but it started to work again before they even took a look at it. When I got home, it stopped working. This was quite frustrating, so I asked them to replaced the wiring that controls the rectractable top.

The driver side brake light started having problems at 50,000 miles. Initially, the bulb was replaced, but the problem persisted. A week after the bulb was replaced, some electrical wires needed to be replaced.

The starter was replaced at 52,000 miles.

The driver side headlight bulb was replaced at 58,000.

The spark plugs were replaced at 63,000 miles.

The interior cabin light was replaced at 70,000 miles.

General Comments:

This car gave me a bit of headache in terms of its reliability. It seemed like I was always making trips to the Mercedes-Benz dealership for maintenance.

On the upside, the car was a joy to drive. It isn't anywhere near as fun to drive as a BMW Z, Honda S2000, or Porsche Boxster, but the hard top is very desirable. The ride could be a little better, especially since its tires are smaller than its other roadster counter-parts. Also, the car has a very heavy feel and does not feel sporty at all. The SLK is entirely too heavy for its own good. Acceleration could be improved as well.

The cabin is roomier than I expected, but the seats are extremely uncomfortable. I'm a young man, and so I didn't think my back could really get sore from riding in a car. Boy, was I wrong. My back would literally ache after driving the car for only 45 minutes. The seats simply are not supportive and cause your back to be in an unnatural position.

I honestly don't think I'll ever buy an SLK230 again. There really are better options out there.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 26th July, 2005

12th Aug 2007, 15:55

My 1998 SLK230 top gives me problem all the time; it comes down when it wants to.

Also my engine hardly wants to pick up speed over 40 mph.

My right door is hard to close.

Now after 2 years I really want to sell it.

A really good looking automobile, but too many manufacturers defects.

1998 Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 4i




The door panels have come loose in the car. But, were later easily fixed.

The radio speakers were weak, can be replaced (it was a used car).

Nothing else wrong.

General Comments:

It's a generally good car.

A hard-top convertible is what everyone should have.

This car's top speed is very high, but is not a quick car compared to others at the same price.

It's a car for teenagers.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th June, 2002