In some ways, this is an old-style sports car, but Benz has now refined it to the point where it’s highly desirable and a great improvement on the old SLK. There’s a lot that’s new here, including a new platform, new looks, and new engine-gearbox combos.
The SLK is now in its third generation, and it borrows elements from the SLS, with more aggressive styling, a long hood, and a squared-off rear end. One finds styling echoes of other well-known Mercedes-Benz cars, like the old 190SL. Design chief Gorden Wagener’s team did a great job.
There are more refinements and a host of comfort and convenience goodies, some of which may make you laugh.
How about the Magic Sky Control “panorama vario-roof,” which switches a glass panel from transparent to dark at the push of a button? It’s part of the folding metal roof that the SLK pioneered in 1996. Or maybe you’d like Airscarf, which blows hot air around the occupants’ necks, “ensuring open-top enjoyment even in cooler temperatures.” See the press release for more details.
Two engines are available for the U.S. cars: a 302-hp, 3.6-liter V6 (0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds) for the SLK350 and, later in the year, a 1.8-liter four, with 201 hp (6.5 seconds to 60 mph) for the SLK250. Fuel economy is much improved over older SLKs, at 23 mpg combined for the 350 and 27 combined for the 250.
There is talk of a massive AMG 5.5-liter unit coming to the SLK, which will produce 422 hp. That should be fun.
The six-speed manual is available only in the SLK250; a seven-speed automatic is the only choice for the SLK350 and optional in the 250. The car’s suspension and brakes have been improved, but no road tests are yet available.
Nor are U.S. prices. Last year’s MSRP for the SLK350 was $54,175, so with the improvements to the car, it’s likely to be higher. I still want one.