The 2016 Mercedes-Benz SLK-300 replaces the much-loved SLK 250. To recap, the SLK-250 was the small, sleek two-seat roadster that had been around for many years with its nifty hard top retractable roof, and excellent combination of sport and luxury. It has been a while since an SLK has come my way and happy to report the new version is every bit as good, in fact much improved in every way. The new SLK looks wider, lower and with a more aggressive and swoopy look to it both front and rear. It is from the side from the side, however, where it look most dramatic. The long, blunt nose, with its large MB grille flares into a tightly styled cabin section and out to a neat, compact tail. Our tester looked particularly good, with its dark metallic gray finish and big five-spoke AMG alloy wheels and low profile tires.
There are changes under the hood as well. For the 2016 SLK. This Model has the new and more powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with 241 Horsepower Torque at 272 lb-ft. A nine-speed automatic is standard with that engine. The SLK-Class comprises three models and starts with entry-level SLK 300, the V6-powered SLK 350 and the tops out with fire-breathing SLK55 AMG with its 5.5-liter/415-horsepower V8.
At a starting price of $52,200, the Mercedes-Benz SLK300 offers decent value with a full roster of equipment and luxury features. Options can stack the price higher once you start ordering bit and pieces, particularly from the AMG catalog. Major options include the Dynamic Handling package which includes adaptive dampers with Sport and Comfort modes, the Sports package which offers 18-inch AMG wheels, a body kit, t blind-spot warning system, and sleek red ambient cabin lighting, as featured on our tester. Premium options include remote roof operation, keyless ignition and entry, the “AirScarf” neck heater, heated seats, satellite radio, an iPod/media player interface, and an 11-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system. Suspension, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, front and rear parking sensors and an automatic parallel parking system.
Interior wise, the SLK300 features a snug, tight interior with the glass roof panel set in the retracting roof. The optional Magic Sky Control feature allows the driver or occupant to darken the glass at the press of a button. The SLK 300 features a tasteful, smart cabin featuring high-quality materials and superb comfort. The nice, chunky tilting and telescoping steering wheel is power adjustable and along with power, seats allow drivers of any size to get comfortable. Well-tailored chrome and textiles set off a neat conservative, yet effective dash layout. Showy bling is absent and replaced instead by thoughtfully designed, beautifully crafted instruments and controls. A center floor console with a control dial allows easy access to navigation, audio, climate control and system settings and functions. A nice sized 5.8-inch monitor at the top of the center stack keeps an eye on everything.
Put the top down, and of note is the Mercedes-Benz AirScarf system, a neck heater that blows air on the occupant’s neck through rear seat vents as the weather turns colder. It makes open top motoring possible in almost any weather apart from rain or snow. The turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline engine has plenty of mid and upper range power with a 201 hp @ 5500 rpm and mid-range torque at 229 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm.
The new nine-speed automatic transmission is standard on the line. Cornering is excellent as the SLK tracks flat and composed with its Variable power assisted steering. The SLK is not a balls- out street racer type car, but more of a comfortable, cruiser that can hold its own with features such as the standard Dynamic Handling and Direct-Steer system, aid in the handling and nimble agility of this great roadster. The SLK is fairly fuel-efficient as well. Downsides are few. The SLK range can start getting expensive with options, and the cabin is rather compact. However, the rear trunk is surprisingly roomy for such a small car.
To sum up, the SLK range offers the best of both worlds’ coupe-like solidity and security and the open-top thrills of a roadster. Compact, roomy and with three-pointed stars on the front grill; what more could you ask for in a super- luxury premium sports car? The Mercedes – Benz SLK is worth every dollar.
2016 Mercedes-Benz SLK 300 priced from $52,200
By Veeno Dewan