The Mercedes-Benz SLK55 Is a Criminally Underrated V8 Luxury Miata

Gen X and Millenial petrolheads are growing up. They’ve gone to college, gotten jobs, and now, they’ve got disposable income. And that means doing dumb car person stuff with that money. However, the Mercedes-Benz SLK55 may not fit the “dumb” part of that statement. It’s actually a criminally underrated car, just like the old Toyota 86.

Moreover, it checks all the fun roadster boxes. It’s got RWD, a drop-top, and a big fat V8 at the front. However, it also has some typical 2000s Mercedes weaknesses.

Forget a poor man’s Miata, the SLK55 is a rich man’s roadster bargain

A silver Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG with the top open, shot in profile by the seaside
The Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG had some serious curb appeal back in the day | Mercedes-Benz

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Let’s deal with Doug’s Mazda Miata comparison first. In the video above, DeMuro says the Mercedes-Benz SLK55 (in his case the AMG model) is exactly what it says it is on the box: A V8-powered Mazda Miata. On the surface, he’s right. Just look at how small it is next to Doug. He’s around six feet tall, and the thing looks like a Hot Wheels next to him.

Heck, without any scale, like in the second image above, the SLK looks like an RC car. Obviously, when you add 355 hp V8, that size gets even more enticing. Add rear-wheel drive, and we’ve got something truly special. All that’s missing from the recipe is a manual transmission.

The SLK55 fits a massive V8 into a tiny engine bay

A silver Mercedes-Benz SLK55 shot from the front 3/4
The Mercedes-Benz SLK55 was the LS-swapped Miata before the Miata | Mercedes-Benz

Of course, that is the one thing that’s missing from the Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG. Can’t always get what you want. Then again, a manual transmission isn’t befitting of the SLK’s personality. It’s a small luxury cruiser, not a paired back roadster like the NC Miata of the same vintage. Frankly, that’s where the similarities end between the two.

Evidently, the engine has literally double the cylinders compared to the Miata. The Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG is also designed to be far more comfortable than a Miata. As it should be, for it’s then $64,000 MSRP. In contrast, a 2007 Miata was half the money at $30,000.

How much is a Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG?

A silver Mercedes SLK55 AMG pace car at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix
If you want a Formula 1 pace car, the SLK 55 AMG is for you | Alexander Hassenstein via Getty Images

Now, however, is a very different story. Depreciation has had its way with the Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG. Right now, you can find an SLK55 AMG for right around $35,000. Yes, you can have them for less, but you don’t want one. Your $35,000 or so will get you one with no miles, thankfully. There’s no such thing as a cheap AMG. Just ask any other mid-2000s AMG product. However, there is such a thing as a cheap Mazda Miata, but those don’t have 355 hp V8 motors.

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