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Car reviews - Mercedes-Benz - SLK-class - SLK350 convertible


Benz's SLK roadster has had a makeover to help it meet new market challenges

5 Jun 2009

WITH a revised Porsche Boxster and new BMW Z4 now on sale, Mercedes-Benz has sharpened its popular SLK two-seater roadster with about 650 fresh parts, including more power and better economy for the SLK350. The result is a charming and unexpectedly involving luxury convertible with impressive road manners and a sweet drivetrain. Better still, the makeover helps the SLK seem a lot younger.

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Model release date: 1 June 2008 to 1 July 2011

Previous model

Mercedes-Benz R171 SLK350 Series 1

Released: June 2004
Ended: May 2008
Family Tree: SLK-class

MERCEDES’ second-generation SLK was a far-more accomplished performer than its timelessly beautiful predecessor, thanks to a concerted effort to improve the two-seater roadster’s on-road dynamics. Rack-and-pinion steering led the charge, but it was the inclusion of a strong and smooth 200kW/350Nm 3.5-litre quad-cam 24-valve V6 – mated to the firm’s innovative 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic or six-speed manual gearbox – that really shone. And while sports suspension aided the SLK350’s tidy handling, it was the inclusion of all the usual luxury accoutrements that made this a highly polished all-rounder. Topping it all off (quite literally) was the folding hardtop roof – an idea reintroduced in the 1997 R170 SLK after decades of neglect – that reliably provided all-year motoring pleasure for those who could afford this stirring and rewarding grand touring convertible.

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