RESERVE LOWERED-2002 Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 Kompressor


• Fast becoming a classic
• Desirable colour combination
• Beautiful condition throughout
• Low ownership and mileage


Mercedes-Benz was later in producing a small, open-topped sportster than its rival BMW, but when it arrived, the SLK had a feature that no one else had; that folding steel ‘Vario’ roof. Its underpinnings were less revolutionary; the car was based on a shortened version of the W202 C-Class platform, and much of its chassis componentry came from that. 

Introduced in 1996, the roadster was available (depending on region) with a choice three engines; 2.0-litre and 2.3-litre four cylinders – both available with superchargers – and a 3.2-litre V6. Most often found with a five-speed automatic gearbox, the SLK could also be had with a five or six-speed manual. In 2001, a full-on AMG version, the SLK 32 AMG, boasting some 345bhp and some very credible performance figures.

Popular right up to its replacement, the first generation SLK was produced until 2004.


This little silver Mercedes roadster has led rather a charmed and apparently pretty quiet life. It has spent at least the last 12 years in the milder climbs of Cornwall and has been garaged/dry stored all of its life when not in use. 

The present owner is a quite fastidious German car enthusiast, and, like his predecessors, has used the SLK very little, while, like them, seeking to maintain its upkeep to high standards.


With so few miles driven and with the Mercedes being in such original condition, it isn’t really surprising that there isn’t a huge amount of paperwork with the car. 

That said, it’s good to note that all the service stamps are either from main dealers or marque enthusiasts; the last one fewer than 400 miles ago. Also, the car has never failed an MOT. (The certificates corroborate the mileage). The SLK also comes with all its original manuals and the obligatory Mercedes-Benz first aid kit.


Brilliant Silver was always a good colour for this model, especially when laid over a black leather interior as in this example. The finish of this relatively late (facelift) production SLK remains consistently excellent across the whole of the car, with no variation in colour across steel or plastic parts. Even in the wet and windy conditions we photographed the car in, colour scheme still popped! 

Although seemingly free of adornment, the little Mercedes actually contains quite a few panel details and inserts, all of which remain perfectly mated to the main panels, allowing the contours of the car to remain smooth and even. Panel fit and finish is excellent, and the condition of those front wings – sometimes a problem in later years in these cars – are very sound.

Looking into the details, it’s reassuring to see that there has been no build up of dirt in the seams between parts, and that shut-lines are narrow and even. This quality extends too to the ‘Vario-roof’, which clamps itself firmly and evenly to the windscreen and bodywork. Its seals are tight and its black window surrounds show no corrosion or discolouration. 

It’s also very satisfying to see that the roof folds just as quickly and smoothly into its boot stowage as it did when it was new – only some 20 seconds. Both the mechanism and the stowage area are impressively clean and free from damp or corrosion.

A really good-looking example.


As already said, the black leather makes for a great contrast to the silver bodywork – especially as it is in such nice condition. The perforated hides retain all of their colour, showing only the lightest patina, with perhaps just a little wear to the driver’s seat. (You have to look fairly hard to believe you see any). 

The finish on the door cards is similarly excellent, and the joins between leather and the high quality interior plastics appear virtually seamless in a way that only the German manufacturers seem capable of doing. The steering wheel and gear selector – two other potentially high wear areas – also remain in great shape, showing no ring marks, fading or nail scratches. 

Looking around the centre console, and the instruments in the turned metal dash, you will see no real wear, and an almost total absence of dust and dirt in nooks, crannies, vents and cubby holes. Both on the floor and on the rear bulkhead, the carpets remain a good colour and are clean, and door seals too appear to be in good health and remain very much intact.

Come the Spring and Summer, this will be a great space in which to tour the countryside.


The engine bay may not be concours, but it is very tidy and inspires a lot of confidence in the car. This is the later M111.983, slightly more powerful version (194bhp) of the engine. One or two ancillaries have oxidised slightly, but the overall impression is one of fastidious care and attention to detail. Under-bonnet plastics remain a deep shade of black, showing no signs of heat damage, fading or fatigue. 

This goes for the heavy duty hoses too, while their clamps and fastenings remain bright and free of corrosion. Screw and bolt heads are clean and fairly bright. There are no signs of leaks around the engine, and no areas of accumulated crud hiding in creases and recesses.

The paint around the engine bay is in very good condition, and it’s worth saying again that the inner wings and the seams appear particularly good. The underside of the car shows only a little weathering commensurate with the limited miles driven, while that fairly low front spoiler and the rear valance show no significant scrapes or chips. 

All of the six-spoke alloys look to be in very good condition, the worst that can probably be said being that the wheel nuts show a little surface corrosion.


The first generation SLK remains a hugely appealing, practical and versatile car, not least because of that folding roof. There’s enough performance to make it fun while not being intimidating or temperamental. It’s as easy to live with as any ‘modern’ without possessing the slightly mind-numbing driver ‘aids’ of the latest vehicles. And it’s just plain cute too.

Bear in mind also that the SLK is becoming quite sought-after as a youngtimer classic, and, of course, it’s the nice examples – the ‘no questions’ cars like this one – that rise in value the most.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 2002
  • Make Mercedes
  • Model SLK 230
  • Colour Silver
  • Odometer 23,818 Miles
  • Engine size 2295
  • Town Bradford
  • Location Yorkshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
13 bids from 8 bidders
  • es330su•••• £5,600 17/01/22
  • nigel-s•••• £5,500 17/01/22
  • marshal•••• £5,400 17/01/22
  • nigel-s•••• £5,300 17/01/22
  • callum.•••• £5,200 17/01/22
  • nigel-s•••• £5,100 17/01/22
  • Jimglee•••• £5,000 16/01/22
  • I Campb•••• £3,100 15/01/22
  • glen-je•••• £2,850 13/01/22
  • marshal•••• £2,750 13/01/22

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