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Mercedes SLK gets A-OK

The third generation of one of the hottest and most successful convertibles, the Mercedes SLK, is hitting the streets – in a big way! Trying to get away from the model’s image as a convertible for women, the designers of the 2012 SLK have put a lot of effort into changing its lines to give the car a more aggressive and muscular shape that will hopefully appeal to testosterone more than before. By Adrian Ion

September 2011 - From the Print Edition

Many call the SLK a baby SLS, and rightfully so if you only take into account the shape of the car: both inside and out, you will find a lot of design features that were implanted to the baby Merc from its super sporty brother.
Courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Romania, I drove the diesel powered version, fitted with a 2.2 liter turbo-diesel and 204HP, which take the car to 100 km/h in 6.7 seconds and from 80 to 120 km/h in a decent 4.3 seconds. In terms of consumption, the manufacturer claims 4.9 liters per 100 km on combined cycle and emissions as low as 128 g/km of CO2, but in real-life driving you should expect around 11 liters in city traffic and about 6 on the highway. The 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK 250 CDI comes with 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission as standard. This will probably be the choice for most drivers, due to the fuel efficiency and lower running costs.
The other versions on offer are the SLK200 and SLK250, which have turbocharged 1.8-litre direct-injection engines, with the 200 pumping 181HP and the 250 reaching 201HP.
The SLK350, which has a 302HP 3.5-litre V6, is the top pick, at least until the AMG version completes the range.
The new SLK is much improved in many areas, from the now perfectly fitted and rattle-free metal roof to the roomier and high quality interior. One special feature I must mention is the air scarf that will be useful if you want to drive with the roof down on colder days, as it wraps a “scarf” of warm air through the headrest vents.
The boot is large enough for a couple of bags even with the roof down, with extra space sensibly being offered if the roof is kept closed.
The diesel version I test-drove offers a more than decent dynamic performance but I wouldn’t call it a sporty car. If you put the transmission in the Sport mode, the response of the car changes noticeably and becomes a nice boy’s toy. The twin turbo engine offers a great torque feeling and pulls the car in a constant manner up the red zone.
The closest rivals of the SLK that will vie for your money are the Porsche Boxter and the BMW Z4. Prices start at EUR 32,500 plus VAT for the SLK 200 and go up to EUR 43,950 for the SLK 350.



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