The Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class was introduced to the U.S. market in 1997 and immediately proceeded to win the North American Car of the Year award that same year. In 2002, Mercedes created the SLK32 AMG with a supercharged engine that made 349 horsepower. It has three available models: The SLK230, SLK320, and SLK32 AMG. The names correspond to the model’s engine displacement. The SLK230 has a supercharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, the SLK320 has a 3.2-liter V-6, and the SLK32 AMG has a supercharged 3.2-liter V-6 engine. The SLK230 and SLK320 come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, and the AMG has a standard five-speed automatic. The automatic transmission is optional for the other two models. Mercedes gave it a metal power hardtop that lowers into the trunk.
Body Styles: convertible
Engines: 2.3-liter four-cylinder, 3.2-liter V-6
Transmissions: six-speed manual, five-speed automatic
Models: Mercedes-Benz SLK230, Mercedes-Benz SLK320, Mercedes-Benz ML32 AMG
The 2002 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class received no major changes. It received a major redesign of the exterior and interior in 2001.
Standard features for the 2002 Mercedes-Benz SLK230 includes 16-inch alloy wheels, speed-sensitive windshield wipers, power retractable metal roof, rear defogger, remote power locks and trunk release, auto-delay headlights, power heated mirrors with integrated turn signals, chrome grille, and power windows. The SLK32 AMG has 17-inch alloy wheels. The SLK230 has the same standard exterior features as the SLK230.
The 2002 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class has an aggressive front spoiler and grille design and a smooth profile that makes the car look like it is hugging the ground. Even though it looks low, the thicker-looking rear bumper and taillight combination gives the car a more substantial stance. The body-colored handles, moldings, and mirrors makes the care look more unified and tailored. A thicker, reinforced frame gives higher a level of offset frontal crash protection.
The 2002 Mercedes-Benz SLK230 has leather interior, bucket seats, air-conditioning, steering wheel and shift knob with leather trim, alloy trim on center console, dashboard, and doors. It also has power steering and an AM/FM CD-controlled stereo system with six Bose speakers. The SLK320 has eight-way power bucket seats with manual height adjustments, telescoping steering wheel with leather and wood trim, and a leather/wood trimmed shift knob. The SLK32 AMG has eight-way heated power sport bucket seats with manual height adjustments. The steering wheel feels substantial and meaty in-hand, complementing the machined aluminum trim that graces the interior. The cockpit is inviting, but it may feel snug to a taller or larger driver. The gauges are easy to read and the controls are easy to reach. The seats are bolstered to provide adequate support and are comfortable. The seats also have sensors that will alert the airbag system if it detects a properly installed child safety seat. Wind and tire noise is noticeable but not annoying when the top and windows up.
Performance & Handling
The 2002 Mercedes-Benz SLK230 is powered by a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 192 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque, and the SLK320 is powered by a 3.2-liter V-6 engine that makes 215 horsepower and 229 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are mated with a six-speed manual transmission and rear drive. Consumers can also get the optional five-speed automatic transmission. The SLK32 AMG has a supercharged 3.2-liter V-6 that makes 349 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque and is mated with a five-speed automatic transmission standard.
The overall performance of the 2002 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class is good. The engines provide good power, although the four-cylinder tends to run out of steam quickly. The automatic shifts smoothly, but the manual transmission seems to be more suited to the supercharged engines. While the suspension dampens the bigger bumps in the road, it does little to protect you from the smaller ones. The SLK32 AMG has a tighter suspension, which makes the ride stiffer and almost uncomfortable. The steering is precise and the car displays good balance. The large brakes provide ample stopping power in panic stops.
Standard safety features for the 2002 Mercedes-Benz M Class include four-wheel ventilated disc brakes, dual front airbags with front passenger and infant car seat sensors, side curtain airbags in front and rear, emergency interior trunk release, anti-lock braking system, anti-theft alarm system, emergency braking assist, stability/traction controls, electronic Brake force distribution, and engine immobilizer.
EPA Fuel Economy
Mercedes-Benz ML230: 18/27 mpg city/highway
Mercedes-Benz ML320: 15/24 mpg city/highway
Mercedes-Benz ML32 AMG: 16/22 mpg city/highway
- Good handling
- Responsive, quick steering
- Retractable hardtop
- AMG has great performance
You Won't Like
- Big blind spots when the top is up
- No manual transmission available for the AMG model
A fun roadster to drive and is worth a comparison with the competition.
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