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The front view of a red 2009 Mercedes SLK 55 AMG at a car show

Bring a Trailer Bargain of the Week: 2009 Mercedes SLK 55 AMG

The R171 Mercedes SLK isn't the sharpest convertible sports car, but it's still fun and comfortable. Plus, the V8-powered SLK 55 AMG sounds great and is still fast by modern standards. And examples like the 2009 car currently listed on Bring a Trailer are still affordable and reliable.

These days, AMG holds direct control over the main Mercedes-Benz convertible, the SL. Yet Mercedes has offered AMG versions of its roadsters for years, some of which are often overlooked. But therein lies the upside: lower prices on the used market. And these older AMGs generally still have plenty of performance life left in them. If that sounds appealing to you, cast your eye on this week’s Bring a Trailer bargain car, a 2009 Mercedes SLK 55 AMG.

The R171 Mercedes SLK 55 AMG is a modern old-school sporty roadster with a kicking V8 soundtrack

The front view of a red 2009 Mercedes SLK 55 AMG at a car show
2009 Mercedes SLK 55 AMG front | Alan Look/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images
2006-2010 ‘R171’ Mercedes SLK 55 AMG
Engine5.4-liter ‘M113’ V8
Horsepower355 hp
Torque376 lb-ft
TransmissionSeven-speed automatic
Curb weight3472 lbs
0-60 mph time4.9 seconds (claimed)
4.3 seconds (Car and Driver)

Before the two-seater SLC and SLK left production at the end of 2020, they served as Mercedes’ answer to the Porsche Boxster. Admittedly, both were more like sporty GTs than ‘true’ sports cars, especially in their lower trim levels. But the SLK in particular combined its luxurious cabin with genuinely fun handling, especially during the R171 generation’s run. And the R171 SLK 55 AMG offered something even better.

Mercedes offered an AMG version of the previous-gen SLK, the SLK 32, with a supercharged V6. The R171 SLK 55 AMG, though, had a hand-built 5.4-liter V8 shoved into its engine bay. It was also one of the first AMG products to offer a seven-speed automatic. It let the convertible keep up with the 469-bhp E55 AMG, the world’s fastest sedan at the time. And a mid-four-second 0-60 mph time is still impressive today. Plus, the V8 roars “with a lovely…rumble,” Car and Driver notes, especially with the roof down.

Besides the burbly V8, the R171 Mercedes SLK 55 AMG also has stiffer suspension than the standard car. It also has an additional engine oil cooler, a lip spoiler, as well as bigger brakes and wheels. And in addition to the same facelift and upgraded steering rack that the R171 line received in 2009, the SLK 55 also got faster shift times and a new steering wheel.

Yet it didn’t fall into the tech-heavy trap as Mercedes’ other roadsters, Autotrader reports. No brake-by-wire system, no air suspension, etc. There’s just a comfortable cabin, a power hardtop, and that sweet V8 sound.

There’s a 2009 model up for grabs on Bring a Trailer

In addition to that exhaust note, the 2009 Mercedes SLK 55 AMG currently listed on Bring a Trailer has several notable features.

For one, in addition to the heated AMG sports seats, it has Mercedes’ Airscarf system, which blows warm air around your neck. Theoretically, you could drive this convertible through the winter even with the top down. Secondly, this 2009 SLK 55 AMG has xenon headlights, automatic climate control, a Harmon/Kardon audio system with a six-disc CD changer, and GPS navigation. And the interior is upholstered in Nappa leather.

Apart from a headlight lens stain and 2014-date-code tires, this 2009 Mercedes SLK 55 is in excellent shape. It has less than 24,000 miles on the clock and a zero-accident history, too. Also, the seller recently replaced the battery and radiator fan; they also flushed the coolant. And a Mercedes dealer recently performed the scheduled ‘Service A.’

An R171 Mercedes SLK 55 AMG is an underrated reliable bargain of a luxury V8 convertible sports car

As of this writing, this 2009 Mercedes SLK 55 AMG is listed at $18,500 with three days left in the auction. Considering this convertible started at the 2022 equivalent of $84,500 back in 2009, that’s a noticeable discount. And examples with similar mileage on Autotrader cost over $10,000 more.

Given that it’s a used luxury car, a pre-purchase inspection is recommended. But as noted earlier, the R171 SLK 55 AMG doesn’t have tons of complicated electronics that can fail. And while it has 16 spark plugs, the M113 V8 is renowned for its durability. The only real issues are rear main seal oil leaks, which shouldn’t be a problem with this low-mileage example. Also, the seller reports that the top operates smoothly and that there’s no water ingress; both are often age-related potential headaches.

In short, this SLK 55 has all the marks of a solid luxury V8 RWD roadster at a bargain price.

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