AMG Braun with Savile Row Looks: 2004 SLK32 Designo

It’s no secret we love the SLK32 AMG for exactly what it is- a muscular 2 seater that always manages to surpass it’s jovial looks with serious performance. We often debate the perfect SLK32 and of course while the details may vary month to month in this discussion, we agree that it should be a 2003 or 2004 model (to avoid some early production issues) and it really needs to take advantage of the more adventurous color palette given to the R170 (first generation SLK). In our quest for this “perfect SLK32” we think we may have identified a contender. This 2004 SLK, currently listed here on eBay under auction, was just re-listed by the seller and we’re having a hard time ignoring it. It’s showing 81k miles on the clock with a clean ownership profile.

Finished in a beautifully mature Designo Mocha Black (033) over a two tone Anthracite/Terra Cotta Nappa hide interior, this SLK rapidly achieves a “gentleman’s roadster” image. The extended Designo Natural Wood trim compliments the Terra Cotta accents seen on the door cards, steering wheel, shift knob, and even roll bars. Even the original Designo branded floor mats are present, trimmed in Terra Cotta leather. As the R170’s did show wear fairly easily, this car appears to be well taken care of and maintained. The center console could use a touch up or two but really a thorough detail may take care of the couple spots we can see. Take note that the owner has mentioned the heated seats do not work. As it’s both, we’d expect a simple fix but in an open-top 2 seater, they’re a must-have.

The exterior, although a little dirtier than we like to see in sale listings, presents nicely but it’s important to remember black can hide a lot of imperfections on these cars. The most notable being the crack in the front bumper (noted by the seller) which wouldn’t worry us too much as it’s a relatively easy fix. Otherwise we’d recommend having a shop look this car over to ensure there’s no rust or repaints. We don’t have a reason to believe this car suffers from either issue but, as a model, the SLK’s were prone to rust around the body panel edges much like W210’s. The folding hardtop is reported to be in functioning condition as well and a factory windscreen is included with the car.

The largest complaints (by most drivers) related to the SLK is the perceived subpar build quality and slightly softer looks. We’d like to go on record and say that our opinion differs and although the R170 isn’t on par with the R230 SL of the same era, we understand that it wasn’t built as competition, it was built as a compliment. The SLK32 takes only half a second longer to reach 60 miles per hour but on a tight road it’s much happier being tossed around as a small sports car. The supercharged M112 6 cylinder (349hp) loves to be pushed and, in true AMG fashion, manages to deliver solid low-end torque while maintaining the ability to hold a note at higher revs.

This specific SLK32 AMG, as a 2004 Designo trimmed variant, seems to be sitting at the top of our list of ideal SLK32’s and should be a solid buy given the mileage and condition- save for the couple issues mentioned by the seller. If you haven’t driven one of these cars, we strongly recommend spending a weekend behind the wheel whenever possible and we’re confident it will make you forget everything you think you know about the SLK32 AMG.


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