MERCEDES-BENZ SLK REVIEW
VEHICLE STYLE: Two-door hardtop convertible
Engine: 3.0 litre petrol V6
Outputs: 170kW / 300Nm
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic with paddle shifters
Official fuel efficiency: 9.1 L/100km
On test fuel efficiency: 9.8 L/100km
CO2 emissions: 211 g/km
Mercedes-Benz has added the SLK 300 to its range of sports roadsters, pinning it between the entry-level SLK 200 and the more powerful SLK 350.
The SLK 300 may offer a little less performance than the larger-engined SLK 350, but at $98,600 it's almost $20,000 cheaper.
- Quality: The SLK's cabin isn't quite up to the standard of the new E-Class, with a few cheap-feeling plastics and switchgear spoiling what is an otherwise very nice cockpit.
- Comfort: The low seating position and high waistline is classic roadster, and the seats are comfortable and easily adjusted. The longer-legged may find the seat travel limited, but the SLK offers high levels of comfort in a cosseting cabin.
- Equipment: The SLK 300 has dual electric heated seats, sat-nav, single-disc CD/DVD player, Bluetooth connectivity, a trip computer, cruise control and dual-zone climate control.
- Storage: You can fit enough luggage for a weekend retreat into the SLK's boot – provided the roof is raised. Cargo space is cut in half with the roof retracted, and the loading aperture becomes very tight.
ON THE ROAD
- Driveability: With 170kW on tap, the smaller-displacement V6 coupled with Benz's excellent seven-speed auto provides decent performance.
It’s not blisteringly fast, certainly, but not slow either. In manual mode the gearshifts are direct and brisk enough, although the gearbox needs to be warmed up for best performance.
- Refinement: With the roof up, the cabin is as snug as a bug but there's a fair amount of wind buffeting with the top down - and only slightly improved with the side-glass raised. The chassis is impressively stiff even with the roof lowered. Top down, you can also enjoy the surprisingly sporty engine note.
- Suspension: The SLK 300, sitting on attractive 18-inch alloys, feels very agile. The standard Sports Suspension is firm but not unbearable, and roadholding and handling is sharp.
- Braking: The SLK 300 gets disc brakes all round, with perforated front discs and uprated calipers. They make light work of slowing the 300's 1465kg body.
- ANCAP rating: The R171 generation SLK has not been tested by ANCAP or Euro NCAP.
- Safety features: Front and side/head airbags are standard, as are belt tensioners. The SLK 300 is also equipped with ABS, brake assist, stability control and traction control.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
- Warranty: All new Mercedes-Benz cars are sold with a three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.
- Service costs are not provided by Mercedes Benz Australia. Before purchase, check with your Mercedes-Benz dealer.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
- BMW Z4 sDrive30i ($98,100) - The mid-grade Z4 just edges ahead of the SLK 300 on price when equipped with a manual transmission (it costs $101,400 with a six-speed auto), and has 20kW more power and 10Nm more torque from its in-line six.
Its interior and exterior designs are more modern than the Benz, but the Z4's styling does polarise opinion. (click for Z4 reviews)
- Nissan 370Z Roadster ($74,990) - It's cheaper and a far more capable performance car, but the 370Z Roadster has none of the badge cachet of the Mercedes. Still, its superb 245kW V6 make it a TMR favourite. (click for 370z reviews)
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The Mercedes-Benz SLK 300 might not be the brawniest drop-top around, but its sharp AMG-crafted looks and keen handling are certainly endearing.
The SLK family may be getting a little old these days – especially compared to the fresher BMW Z4 - but for buyers looking for a quality sub-$100k prestige roadster, the impeccably engineered SLK 300 deserves a close look.