2010 Mercedes-Benz SLK 200 1.8 Kompressor from UK and Ireland
Looks great, but deeply disappointing build quality and negligible dealer support leaves a bad taste
Roof mechanism -
The roof failed completely at around 13 months old - the dealer ended up having to replace all electrics, motors, relays and drive mechanisms; the only original bits left were the roof panel and rear screen themselves. The total cost of this (charged to Mercedes at internal cost-to-warranty rates) was just over £2700 including labour, and the car was in their garage for almost a week. Sadly, the same tell tale signs of failure - extra wind noise from rear quarter-light, increased closure noise and reduced roof speed, have returned, and I suspect the exact same problem is about to reoccur.
Leaky boot -
The car developed a tendency to acquire a puddle of water in the boot shortly after I got it. This was fixed by the amusing method of the dealership mechanics locking their smallest team member inside, and firing a power hose at the boot to see where the leaks were. This repair lasted around 18 months, but sadly this problem has reappeared now, and will have to be fixed again.
Hole in the carpet -
At around 11,000 miles, I noticed that there was quite a lot of wear to the carpet in the driver's footwell; around the area where my heel rests during motorway driving. I mentioned this to Mercedes, and they sent me out some footwell mats - which they apologised for omitting from the car when delivered. I used these mats for a while, but the design was poor, and they kept bunching up under the pedals, and I decided to remove them as a safety decision. By 12,000 miles, there was a 5cm diameter hole in the carpet, and I approached Mercedes' UK Head Office Customer Care team to talk about what could be done?
They informed me that a hole in the carpet represented fair wear and tear in terms of my warranty, but not in terms of my vehicle lease. This means that I will have to pay for a replacement carpet before my lease expires, or be charged for it when I hand the car back. I made the point that my last Mercedes had 200,000 miles on the clock and had no such holes. The call centre operative simply repeated verbatim the part of the company policy that refused to accept responsibility for wear and tear items... I asked him if he felt that was a reasonable way to behave to a civilised question, and he repeated the same thing yet again.
I almost object more to discussing things with someone that behaves like an automaton, to prevent having to properly discuss an issue, than I do finding out the Mercedes have used substandard trim.
Flimsy switches - none of these have actually failed, but the switches that control the roof and the electric windows are very flimsy, and have begun to cut out intermittently - windows stopping halfway up/down, roof switch needing a really firm push to make it work etc.
The car looks beautiful - it was certainly the best looking car of its type that could be bought/leased for the money.
For the first year, I was delighted with it - I'd worked really hard to afford it, and I really enjoyed having my first brand new car. Sadly, since then the faults have overshadowed the good points, and left me counting down the days until the lease is up, and I can hand the car back.
The attitude of Mercedes left me really let down, and I do not think I'll ever be able to buy one of their cars again. It's only a matter of time until they approach me, to see if I will either be buying this car at the end of the lease, or whether they can supply its replacement?
I doubt the answer will please them.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 19th February, 2012