Select Your City

for best experience

First Drive: Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class

Arup Das, 13-Dec-2011. Car Tested: SLK-Class, Version: SLK 350
1387 Views

Introduction

 

Traditionally, the Mercedes-Benz SLK has had a habit of getting a nose job done along the lines of another sibling. When it was launched in 1997, at a glance the SLK looked like the SL. The next generation 2005 model nicked the nose off the SLR McLaren. Now, the latest edition is reminiscent of SLS but we aren't complaining. 

Highlights:

 

# The SLK 350 has the looks to kill with folding top that transform the vehicle into a sexy convertible or a two-seater speed demon roadster. By resembling the iconic SLS with the similar front grill and the design, the SLK scores more brownie points in the gorgeous department.

 

# The  3.5-litre V6 engine gets 302bhp which makes sure the cars does 0-100kmph in the region of 5 seconds. If you thought that was good news then the 7-speed automatic is extremely responsive giving the SLK a sportscar feel and making it agile.

 

 

# Throw the SLK in a corner and it will negotiate it with ease. It remains planted on the tarmac and does not let you raise any doubts in experiencing understeer. The steering wheel is not as responsive as you would like in a roadster. The feedback is a bit vague.

 

 

# The SLK is a Rs 61.9 lac showstopper. It is a classy sportscar with a lot oomph.

 

 

 

The drive

In design what stands out is the almost 45-degree angle of the windshield, which gives this sexy roadster great aerodynamics and also emphasises heavily on the "if looks could kill" image.

But the real fun starts only after you have strapped yourself in, behind the wheel, and let the revs hit the "are-you-crazy-levels" so that the intoxicating intake snarl captivates you. So, naturally, the first thing I did was switch off the audio system and listen to the V6's symphony. I promise you it will leave you toe tapping if not a bit of head banging too. 

With such a responsive heart and a transmission, which, unlike some other Benzes we have driven, isn't lethargic, this baby wants to sprint with not a care in the world. With so much power (302bhp) at your beck and call, one doesn't realise one is cruising in the 170-180kmph range! If only there were more empty stretches...

On the handling front, this roadster gives you a lot of confidence when you throw it into a sharp corner. Not only does the SLK holds its own but you don't have to battle or experience any scary understeer. But with the SLK being a mini-sports car of sorts, the steering wheel is the weak link in this fabulous package. Unfortunately it is just does not give the crisp response one expects from a roadster. 

The ride quality of the SLK is something worth raving about as Mercedes has not stiffened the suspension so much that you get to feel each bump or cat-eye on the road. Usually, car manufacturers go overboard with the suspension when it comes to two-seaters and one only ends up experiencing a bone jarring ride. The SLK though is extremely practical in the city limits and while tackling traffic. 

A talking point of the SLK 350 has to be the panoramic vario-roof. It gets the new Magic Sky Control roof — which alters its opacity at the push of a button. This snazzy transforming roof is now 50kg lighter too. With winter setting in, somehow the longer, wider and considerably more luxurious new SLK with it's roof tucked in the boot sounds like a good idea.

 

Verdict

 

The Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 is a power packed "mini SLS", not only for its looks but also thanks to its performance hungry nature. On the outside, the muscular visual cues makes this roadster a lot more macho compared to previous editions. Interiors meanwhile are top class, as expected from a Mercedes-Benz product. Thankfully, Stuttgart has done away with the shiny-plastic of the earlier cars and has brought in an all black and aluminum look. This not only adds to its sporty nature but also adds a touch of class. If you want to tell the world that you have arrived in life then the SLK will announce your success with a roar.

 

Quick Research

Ask the Experts

1800 2090 230

(Toll free)