Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG Buyers Guide

A tuned version of the Mercedes SLK 55 AMG was used as the Formula One safety car during the 2004 and 2005 season. The SLK55 AMG was also the first Mercedes tuned by AMG’s Performance Studio to a Black Series model. Despite a manufacturer quoted time of 4.9 seconds to 60mph, independent testers achieved a much lower acceleration time of just 4.3 seconds. Putting a large capacity,  hand-built, normally aspirated V8 into the small and shapely metal roofed convertible was a masterstroke. The popularity of the 55 AMG led Mercedes-Benz to continue production of the model, even after the 63 AMG engine was installed in other AMG cars.

Many owners report that the 55 AMG is a great long distance tourer and it’s easy to see why when you have so many luxury  features including: 8-way adjustable heated seats, dual climate control, automated wipers and cruise control. The time it takes to transform the SLK from a compact coupe into a roofless sportscar is twenty-two seconds, this feature alone attracts many buyers into longterm SLK 55 AMG ownership.


  • Combination of open top motoring with high performance capability is desirable to many enthusiasts.
  • Stunning looks and design that still look up to date.
  • Formula One safety car and styling provide motorsport link that appeals to car collectors.
  • Solid build quality and good reliability make this a sought after used purchase.
  • 5.4 litre V8 AMG engine emits an intoxicating sound.


A range of optional extras were available to the original owners, the key options that most buyers seek are the Air Scarf, Harman Kardon LOGIC7 surround sound system and Performance Package (AMG 030 Package). Our choice of SLK 55 AMG would be one with the Air Scarf and Harmon Kardon stereo system as a minimum.

The 55 AMG had the same colour choices as the regular SLK models, twelve colours were available in total.

Black Fire Opal, Alabaster White, Obsidian Black Metallic, Jasper Blue Metallic, Tanzanite Blue Metallic, Amber Red Metallic, Cubanite Silver Metallic, Tellurium Silver Metallic, Iridium Silver Metallic, Adradite Green Metallic, Benitoite Blue Metallic.

The choice of interior colours and fabrics was extensive, with eight leather choices, one cloth and two leather/Alcantara choices.

Black Sienna fabric, Black Universe Blue Nappa leather, Orient Beige Dusky Red Nappa leather, Alpaca Grey Tabacco Brown Nappa leather, Black Classic Red Designio leather, Black Alpaca Grey Designio leather/Alcantara.

Trim options included Wood Anthracite Tamo and Natural Poplar.



The hand-built AMG V8 engine is regarded as pretty much bulletproof if regularly maintained. Check for oil leaks as the engine rocker covers can leak if incorrectly torqued. Ensure spark plugs have been changed as part of the most recent major service, there are sixteen of them so the cost adds up.

Suspension & Steering

Front suspension arms can wear and cause handling irregularities, this should be apparent during a test drive.

Clutch & Gearbox

Make sure that the transmission fluid has been changed at least every 40,000 miles. Check all gearbox software updates have been performed as shift times were improved post 2008.


If buying an early 2005/2006 car with 6 pot front calipers. Check the front discs thickness, changing them is very costly.

Wheels & Tyres

Some owners report that the standard Pirelli P Zero Rosso tyres are not effective in cold and rainy conditions, so look on the SLK World forum for reviews of alternative tyres. Wheels are costly to replace so make sure there is no major damage to spokes or outer rims.

Bodywork & General

Make sure all electrical items on the car are working, especially the complex roof system and heated seats. Any faults with either will cost a significant amount to repair.


Annual servicing costs around £200 from a specialist. Every 50,000 miles or four years a major service is required which costs in the region of £800.


But it’s ability to deliver two cars in one – it’s both a laidback and cosseting coupe and a blood-spitting hairy-chested roadster – that makes it such an engaging machine.

CAR, 2008

It’s a very compact, tight, and solid sports car with stupendous power, the torque at levels causing one to ponder neck injury. Its gleamingly beautiful silver Mercedes skin looks as if someone had stretched it over the chassis. You cannot produce a better interior—it just reeks of luxury.

Car and Driver, 2005

It never felt anything less than hugely capable, and for a car with such phenomenal performance on offer there really were few compromises.

MSN Cars, 2006


2004 – The R171 model SLK 55 AMG released in 2004 with 5.4 litre AMG tuned V8 producing 355bhp. The AMG version had significant enhancements to standard SLK including; additional engine oil cooler, lowered/stiffened suspension, 18 inch alloy wheels, AMG bodykit, quad exhausts.

2006 – The Black Series was released in 2006 with 390hp from a remapped ECU and revised intakes. The Black Series had restyled front bumper with large air intakes, additional transmission oil cooler, aluminium front strut brace, new carbon fiber side air outlets, wider carbon front arches, carbon fixed roof, 19 inch alloy wheels, bucket seats, carbon rear spoiler, carbon door panels and trim. It was 45 kg lighter than the standard SLK 55 AMG. Engine performance increase came largely from the long tube headers and a revised ECU. A sport option pack (030/P30) was made available on standard SLK 55 AMG which included tuned suspension, pre-2006 larger brakes, smaller steering wheel, carbon interior panels, 18 inch multi-piece lightweight alloy wheels and a delimited top speed.

2008 – A facelift SLK 55 AMG was released with a restyled front bumper, side air vents and darkened headlamps. Gearshift speed was reduced by 10% and new variable steering system fitted. Production of the SLK 55 AMG Black series ceases.

2010 – Production of the standard SLK 55 AMG ceased in the UK in 2010


Below are the parts prices for the Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG sourced online, the tyre prices are sourced from Blackcircles. Prices from Mercedes-Benz dealerships and specialists may be different to those quoted below.

The performance on offer and complexity of the 55 AMG translate into high prices for parts. One area to watch out for is the front brakes. Earlier cars were fitted with 6 pot calipers with larger discs and the price below is quoted for those. Exhaust components are also costly to replace so check them thoroughly.

Due to the relatively small 18 inch wheel diameter, tyre prices are reasonable but owners report that rear tyres may need regular replacement. This, however, is heavily dependent on your interaction with the accelerator pedal.


Clutch Kit £300

Front Wheel Bearings (each) £180

Rear Wheel Bearings (each) £180


Front Dampers (pair) £400

Rear Dampers (pair) £300

Front Springs (pair) £170

Rear Springs (pair) £100


Front Brake Pads (pair) £160

Rear Brake Pads (pair) £80

Front Brake Discs (pair) £1200

Rear Brake Discs (pair) £200


Manifold and Catalytic Convertor (each) £1,500

Rear Silencer (pair) £1,600


Front Tyres – Pirelli P Zero Rosso (pair) £280

Rear Tyres – Pirelli P Zero Rosso (pair) £330

Front Wheels – 18” Alloy Wheels (each) £450

Rear Wheels – 18” Alloy Wheels (each) £600

Other Parts

Alternator £250

Oil Filter £15

Headlight unit (each) £300

Rear light unit (each) £180

Starter Motor £200


Prices for the Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG start at around £15,000 and go up to £27,000 for low mileage, single owner 2010 cars. Our advice is to find a car with a full Mercedes-Benz service history in impeccable condition. Make sure it has the airscarf feature, Harmon Kardon and also the AMG performance pack. There were around 750 sold in the UK, so be patient as your ideal colour and specification should come up for sale at some stage.



cylinders / capacity

8 / 5439

Carbon Emissions

CO2g / km



bhp / rpm

355 / 5750

Miles Per Gallon



lb ft / rpm

376 / 4000

Wheel & Tyres

Width / Sidewall / Diameter

225 / 40 / 18

245 / 35 / 18

Max Speed



Weight Distribution

Front : Rear

53 : 47

0 – 60



Track width

Front / Rear

1524 / 1549

0 – 100









7 speed automatic

Power to Weight




Engine position / Driven wheels

Front / Rear


Length / Width / Height

4087 / 1794 / 1271

Price New



Years Produced

2004 – 2010

Number Produced



Read our Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG Investment & Owners Experience Article: click here

View our Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG Picture Gallery: click here

Buy MotorStars Magazine #37 which contains our full 16 page article about all aspects of buying, owning, the factory options, available colours, technical specification, part prices for theMercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG: click here