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Car reviews - Mercedes-Benz - SLK-class - convertible range


The handsome new Mercedes-Benz SLK cabriolet has an alluring starting price

24 Aug 2011

WHEN MERCEDES rolls out a new SLK, the world takes notice, for no grand-touring roadster quite has the pedigree or cachet as the baby Benz retractable hardtop convertible – or at least, that’s what the company says.

But the R172 is indeed (mostly) all-new, with worthwhile safety, driveability and convenience gains, topped by refreshed and revived styling that connects the series with both the animalistic SLS Gullwing and the 1950s 190SL.

Should the Porsche Boxster and BMW Z4 be worried?
Model release date: 1 August 2011 to 1 September 2016

Previous model

Released: August 2004
Ended: July 2011
Family Tree: SLK-class

The second-generation SLK addressed many of the issues levelled at the 1996 original – by adopting rack and pinion steering, a more sports-orientated chassis and better packaging.

The base engine was the SLK200K’s 120kW/240Nm 1.8-litre supercharged four-cylinder unit, available with a five-speed auto or six-speed manual gearbox until the mid-’08 facelift and upgrade saw that rise to a 135Nm/250Nm performer.

Released in 2005, the SLK280 (later SLK300) used a 170kW/300Nm V6 and 7G-Tronic seven-speed auto combination with a six-speed manual option, while the SLK350 upped the ante to a 200kW/350Nm 3.5-litre V6 7G-Tronic/six-speed manual proposition – until the ’08 makeover ushered in a 224kW/360Nm replacement.

Meanwhile the flagship SLK 55 AMG delivered a 265kW/510Nm belter via a 5.4-litre V8 tied to the 7G-Tronic transmission.

Attractive, easy to drive and comfortable, the R172 series proved an appealing enough roadster to convince BMW to release a more closely aligned competitor with its 2009 Mk2 Z4.

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