As of 2007, there have been two generations of Mercedes Benz SLK Class luxury roadsters. 1997 through 2004, the R170 generation of SLK class was comprised of four models that spanned those years. The SLK230 Kompressor distinguished itself from any others with its folding hard top and familiarly impressive supercharged Mercedes engineering and design capabilities. The subsequent SLK 320 attracted convertible admirers with its more endearing 6 speed manual transmission and 3.2 liter V6 engine. The SLK32 AMG with a 3.2 liter V6 engine putting out 354 horsepower was available in limited quantities in the United States and went from 0-60 in 4.5 seconds. The SLK200 was not available for sale or purchase in the United States, but those overseas-and those who utilized the gray market in the U.S.-were served a more economically fuel efficient and slightly toned down 2.0 136 horsepower engine in the SLK200.
In 2005 Mercedes announced the arrival of the next generation of SLK Class, the R171. The Mercedes Benz retractable hard top SLK350 returned with enhanced handling, a more user friendly and elaborately detailed interior and the power of a 3.5 liter V6. 2006 saw the addition of the SLK280 in addition to the SLK350 Roadster. The SLK280 was offered as a less costly option with a 3.0 V6 engine, retaining the majority of the features and options available for the SLK350. The SLK55 AMG was released in 2007 and was built in limited quantities and for high performance drivers. The SLK55 AMG comes equipped with a 5.4 liter V8 engine, 18 inch chrome wheels, sports car designed suspension with brakes and tires to match. The interior features heated Napa leather upholstery and detailed luxury sport trim and control panels.
No significant changes have been made to the Mercedes Benz SLK350 or SLK 280 cabrioles or coupes as of the 2007 model year-and few complaints have been heard. The SLK Class convertibles are subject to blind spots when the top is up, something that many wish will be addressed in the future. However, compliments regarding the invigorating and responsive handling, the retractable hard top accompanied by world class Mercedes quality far outweigh any negative chatter.