Auto review by Veeno Dewan
For 2012, the Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class roadster is completely redesigned into its third generation. Available in the SLK250 and SLK350 variants of note is the all-new direct-injection 3.5-litre V6, mated solely to a seven-speed automatic transmission.
The SLK250 is available, with a turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission, and as the SLK350 with a Mercedes’ new M276 3.5-liter direct-injection, multi-spark V6 engine; it is rated at 302 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. The top dog SLK55AMG meanwhile offers a 5.5-litre V8 engine and seven-speed automatic. With its traditional Front engine/rear-wheel drive wheel layout the SLK series offer superb performance whichever model you wish to buy. Let’s not forget with a hardtop convertible roof and a compact footprint it is nimble yet powerful.
The Edition 1 includes 18-inch AMG bi-colour wheels, parking guidance, analogue clock, Airguide with aluminum roll-bar inlay, Airscarf, panoramic Vario roof, Sirius satellite radio, Harman/Kardon Logic7 surround sound system, navigation system, and Keyless Go proximity key, aluminum trim. Opt for the sport Package, which is comprised of a an AMG body kit that includes front fascia, side skirts, AMG Wheels, ambient lighting and AMG–inspired checkerboard gauge faces and you get quite the looker.
The SLK350 offers three choices of roofs can be. A regular, opaque hardtop, a tinted panorama roof and the variably tinted “Magic Sky Control” roof. The Magic Sky Control roof is truly fascinating. A button is pushed that darkens the roof to whatever level you desire. When the ignition is turned off, the roof darkens in an effort to keep it cool. Once the ignition is turned on again, it returns to its last setting. Simply incredible!
All the power roofs open or close in 20 seconds via a simple button push. With the roof in the closed position, trunk space is l 10.1 cubic feet. Stow the top, and it reduces to 6.4 cubic feet.
Interior wise, the SLK range features a tasteful, smart cabin featuring high quality materials and superb comfort. The bolstered sport seats for example are cosseting yet firmly hold you in place during spirited driving. The racing style flat-bottomed tilt and telescoping steering wheel and adjustable seats allow drivers of any size to get comfortable.
Well-tailored chrome and leather trim sets off a neat conservative, yet effective dash lay out. Showy bling is absent and replaced instead by thoughtfully designed, beautifully crafted instruments and controls. A center console with an eight-way control dial allows easy access to navigation, audio, climate control and system settings and functions. A nice sized 5.8-inch monitor at the top of the center stack keeps an eye on everything.
Put the top down and of note is the Mercedes Benz AirScarf system, a neck heater that blows air on the occupant’s neck through rear seat vents as the weather turns colder. It makes open top motoring possible in almost any weather apart from rain or snow.
A new seven-speed automatic transmission is standard across the line and comes equipped with paddle shifters for more tactile upshifts. Down shifts have rev-matching ability that can allow a change from higher gears to low gears without loss of power. Adaptive shifting technology learns driver preferences as well and allows for holding the gears longer on uphill climbs.
A centre console switch allows you to program different driving modes. Econo mode is for everyday driving; Sport mode for more responsive reflexes and Manual allows the driver to use the wheel-mounted paddle shifters to change gears.
Cornering is excellent as the SLK tracks flat and composed with its Variable power assisted steering The SLK can motivate from zero to 100 kilometres an hour in a zippy 5.6 seconds.
The standard Dynamic Handling and Direct-Steer system, aid in the handling and nimble agility of this superb roadster. The SLK is fairly fuel-efficient as well.
The SLK range really offers the best of both world’s coupe-like solidity and security and the open top thrills of a roadster. Compact, roomy and with three pointed star on the front grill what more could you ask for in a super- luxury premium sports car? The Mercedes Benz SLK range is priced from $66,500 and worth every dollar.