New Mercedes SLK-Class Review
1996 saw the launch of the Mercedes Benz SLK, a really slick looking car with an even slicker roof, unfortunately the drivability didn't really match the looks and as a result the SLK was branded, rightly or wrongly, a bit of a hairdressers car.
Although the SLK undoubtedly looked the part, it did not perform like a true sports car, even the highest powered models seemed to have too much engine for the chassis to handle and as a result it was often the smaller engined models that found their way onto our highways and byways. Shame really.
Mercedes to their credit soon saw the shortcomings of the SLK and a series of updates and face lifts ironed out many of the problems, So, a decade or so later the latest SLK has lurched away from its soft top cruiser image and is now a real match for the top end sports cars manufactured by its rivals.
Four petrol engines are available in the SLK range and entry level is the SLK 200 Kompressor, this is powered by a supercharged 1.8 litre inline four cylinder unit that develops 163 bhp, 0 - 62 mph is achieved in 7.9 seconds, the top speed for the SLK 200 Kompressor is a respectable 143 mph. Next up is the SLK 280, this is powered by a 24 valve, 3.0 litre V6 with a power output of 231 bhp, accelerating from 0 - 62 mph in 6.3 seconds the SLK 280 has a top speed that has been electronically limited to 155 mph. The SLK 350 also has a 24 valve V6 engine, although the capacity is increased to 3.5 litres, this engine develops 272 bhp, accelerates from 0 - 62 mph in 5.6 seconds and tops out at an electronically limited 155 mph. All three of these models transmit their power through six speed manual gearboxes. Top of the SLK range is the SLK 55 AMG, under the bonnet is a 360 bhp, 24 valve, 5.5 litre engine that rockets the AMG from 0 - 62 mph in only 4.9 seconds, once again the top speed has been electronically limited to 155 mph. The SLK 55 AMG transmits its power through the Mercedes 7G-Tronic 7-speed automatic gearbox.
When it was first launched, much was made of the folding hard top and as many people found out, the change from coupe to cabriolet often drew admiring glances. With this mechanism being widely copied by many of its rivals the ability to draw a crowd has diminished, that said this is still an extremely tricky bit of kit. Press the button and the roof neatly folds into the boot in around twenty-two seconds. With the roof down the boot space has been increased by means of a swivelling rear window, another improvement on the model the new SLK replaces.
High standard specification and fantastic residual values have made the SLK a popular car to own and this is reflected by the fact that that if you want one, the chances are you will have to wait for a factory order, but don't forget, good things come to those who wait.
Like the looks of the Mercedes SLK Class Roadster why not check out the BMW Z4 Roadster, the Audi TT, the Lexus SC 430, the Mazda MX 5, the Volvo C70, the Vauxhall Astra Twin Top or the VW Eos.
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