With the low ride height, sports suspension and AMG bodystyling (£2,550 option), you have to be careful driving the SLK over speed bumps which isn’t always to the amusement of tailing traffic.
With the low ride height, sports suspension and AMG bodystyling (£2,550 option), you have to be careful driving the SLK over speed bumps which isn’t always to the amusement of tailing traffic. We did bottom out the car once or twice at speed on an undulating ‘B’ road which was little unnerving but only to be expected.
Rarely during our drive on Wales' demanding ‘B’ roads did the ESP - Electronic Stability Program impede the SLK's progess. Only when pulling out of a road junction in the wet with a bit too much enthusiasm did the ESP system cut in and bring the car back into line quicker than we could. Obviously the ESP isn’t there to correct bad driving and nor should it be used as a substitute for common sense, but it is reassuring to know that the SLK is equipped with this safety system as standard.
Ease of Use
The Mercedes Benz SLK is a very easy car to drive and manoeuvre. Visibility is very good with the rood down although it is a little more difficult to reverse park with the roof up.
The cabin is simple, ergonomically laid out and brimming with innovative features to reduce the strain of modern driving.
The SLK is fitted with the new electro-hydraulic vario-roof which at the push of a button retracts into the boot space, leaving a flush rear deck. It takes around 22 seconds for the roof to lower, changing from a hard-top coupe to an open-top roadster and vice versa. For safety reasons you cannot operate the roof on the move and your finger is required to stay on the button throughout the process. It can be remotely operated from the key fob, if you have chosen this option (£90) and again you have to keep your finger on the button. The roof is a work of engineering origami, pioneered in 1996 and first seen on the previous model - it set new trends in automotive convertible design.
The new SLK offers greater boot space than the previous model (when the roof is lowered) but if you are planning on going away for a long weekend and intend putting the` roof down you will have to travel light. We attended a wedding away from home and found that we could fit our entire luggage in, but not in suit cases as they were too bulky. Using the standard VDA method for measuring boot space, with the hood down you can cram in 208 litres of luggage (with optional TIREFIT), which increases to 300 litres with the roof closed. The boot is equipped with a light.
Other handy storage areas within the car include a folding armrest with compartment and a large lockable storage box on rear bulkhead between the two seats both lock as does the glovebox via the the central door locking. Further storage includes a compartment (with power socket) in place of an ashtray, a net in the passenger footwell and 2 door bins.
Our car was fitted with optional Bi-Xenon headlamps with cornering function and headlamp wash (£710). The Xenon headlamps are superb offering increased vision in all driving conditions on both dipped and main beam.
The cornering function activates when the headlamps are switched on, and work up to a maximum speed of 25 mph. The cornering light function cuts in automatically in response to the driver using the turn signal indicator or turning the steering wheel by a corresponding angle. At which point the appropriate cornering light (utilising the fog lights) illuminates the area to one side of the vehicle through an angle of up to 65 degrees and a distance of up to 30 metres, thereby lighting up areas of the road which would normally not be visible with conventional headlamp technology.
Headlamp Assist is standard throughout the model range and ensures that the headlamps are automatically activated in low level light conditions such as tunnels and underground car parks. Our test car was equipped with rain sensing wipers (£90 option) and automatically dimming rear-view mirror and driver's exterior mirror (£250 option) preventing tailing traffic dazzling you at night. The passenger mirror can be programmed to drop when reverse gear is selected enabling you to view the kerb when reversing.
Speedtronic variable speed cruise control comes as standard and enables you to select the speed you wish to maintain. You can also store a maximum speed at which you would like to travel which is ideal for those 50mph contra flows or for those with more points on their licence than they would like.
Mercedes Benz SLK-Class Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Mercedes Benz SLK 350|
|Colour||designo Mauritius Blue Metallic|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||5.6 Seconds|
|Top Speed||155 mph|
|Fuel Type||Unleaded Petrol|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||36.2 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||3-Year Unlimited Mileage Warranty|
MobiloLife is Mercedes Benz guarantee to keep you mobile for up to 30 years. Renewed after each service performed by a Mercedes Benz authorised dealer and remains valid until the next service is due
|Price (when tested on the 16/07/05)||£ 34,930 OTR|