Sleek, Slick SLK-Class Roadster Still Turns Heads | Part Two

Clever engineering and timeless looks are great, but a sports car needs the performance to match its appearance. Here, the SLK-Class Roadster delivers again. The range has four engines: the SLK 200 KOMPRESSOR and SLK 230 KOMPRESSOR are supercharged four-cylinder units which offer performance levels higher than their engine capacity would suggest. The SLK 320 has a powerful 218 hp V6 engine, which has an incredible exhaust note and turn of speed. A sporty six-speed manual transmission is standard on all these cars, with a five-speed automatic system available optionally.

The range-topping model has been designed and tuned by the specialists at AMG. The SLK 32 AMG uses KOMPRESSOR supercharger technology to deliver an amazing 354 hp from its 3.2 litre six cylinder engine. The performance and noise of the car are as impressive as the numbers suggest. Acceleration from rest to 62.5 mph takes just 5.2 seconds, and its peak torque figure of 450 Nm ensures plenty of grunt at all engine speeds.

Standard transmission is the familiar five-speed automatic unit, but enhanced with AMG SPEEDSHIFT software to reduce shift times, and gives a very sporting response. The software downshifts under hard braking, maintains the selected gear when negotiating corners (to avoid unwelcome surprises), and gives a shift time some 35 per cent faster than the standard transmission systems.

Reigning in the AMG's power is a set of race-inspired brakes that can halt the car from 62.5 mph in just 36 metres. However, every car in the range is fitted with a full complement of safety features as standard.

ABS anti-lock brakes featuring BAS Brake Assist help slow the SLK, while the ESP Electronic Stability Program with ASR traction control ensures smooth, safe progress even over wet, bumpy back roads. Four airbags (front and side) and seat belt pre-tensioners with force limiters are also standard.

To ensure the SLK stays on the road for as long as possible, service intervals are variable, and cars bought from an authorised UK Mercedes Benz Retailer have a three-year unlimited mileage warranty which is backed-up by Mercedes Benz's industry-leading mobilo-life 30 year anti-corrosion and breakdown cover.

The SLK-Class range starts from £25,455 on the road (SLK 200 KOMPRESSOR), rising through £28,955 for the SLK 230 KOMPRESSOR, £31,995 for the SLK 320 and the SLK 32 AMG costs £45,125 – all of which are on the road prices.

With its rare mix of timeless style, effortless performance and enduring popularity the SLK-Class looks set to become another iconic Roadster from Mercedes Benz.

Published 14 June 2003 Melanie Carter

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