Mercedes SLK32 AMG
When you know only 263 rhd versions of a particular classic were ever made, it’s worth a look. But when that classic can hurl to sixty in just 4.6 seconds, has an engine handbuilt by just one man and a twin-screw supercharger that pushes out 349bhp – but only costs £10k – then you should sit up and take notice. The 2000-2004 R170 Merc SLK32 AMG is a super-rare giant-killing pocket rocket that’s a prime example of the startling value in Millennial AMG Mercs. In the early 2000s wide-eyed engineers at Stuttgart’s emerging performance division used superchargers to squeeze every last ounce of horsepower out of V6s and V8s and created a brand that’s now almost as hallowed as the holy threepointed star itself. These were the glory years of the mighty E55, SL55, S65 and barking mad SL73. But the little white-hot SLK is one of the best of them all.
Faster than an E55 or contemporary BMW M3, the AMG SLK’S £35k base price easily climbed towards £45k if you ticked all the options boxes. That high price and the low-profile looks put many buyers off but the few who did take the plunge got a redline of 6200rpm and a quicker 0-100 mph time than a Lamborghini Countach. Road testers heaped furlongs of praise on ‘Stuttgart’s sweetest sharpshooter’ and loved the fact that only different wheels and badges separated it from the much more common and suburban SLK 200. This Q-car character is perhaps why values have yet to reflect this AMG SLK’S huge appeal. A private seller in Sussex has an Amber Red 2002 with 59k and FMBSH for £11k while a Plymouth seller has a black-on-black 2002 with 69k and total history for £10k. The trade is wising up though and Premier Car Warehouse in Bristol has a Mystic Blue 2002 with 49k, every MOT and eight M-B stamps in the book for £15k.
Anybody who says the AMG SLK is ‘girlie’ has clearly never driven one because when the box changes up to fifth at 140mph under hard acceleration you won’t give a stuff about the car’s image. Owners don’t report that many problems, and common issues aren’t ruinous to fix. Plus it’s a practical asset with a decent boot and that clever folding metal top to keep you snug. Ten grand for a real rarity with almost supercar levels of heave is hard to beat – but this hidden gem can’t stay a secret for much longer.