By Michael Andre Adams
With an all new design for 2012, gone are the days when driving an SLK meant living in the shadows of big brother SL. The strength of a fierce front fascia that gives an ode to the past, the sweeping side lines with aggressive side air vents, sculpted side sills and a low down body stance that says “I handle and perform,” the new generation SLK has made its mark as a legend!
After the sheer amazement of the body design I was then totally dazzled by the LED daytime running lights—a must for all high end vehicles these days. But they really got me with the roof: a hard top retractable that drops and folds in 20-seconds with the option of either a standard steel top or Panorama sunroofs—as in two version. The options include the basic tinted version, which is a see through roof panel at $500, or the SLK exclusive–Magic Sky Control Panel. With it you choose the degree UV rays and infrared lighting you wish to be allowed in the cabin at all times for the ultimate in cabin comfort. Never can I recall experiencing a convertible with a sunroof. And for me–someone who enjoys both the sun and moon, the absence of a sunroof has always been a draw back when it comes to driving or owning a convertible. But with either of SLK’s Panorama Sunroof options, I’ve found my thrills.
SLK 350’s 3.5 liter engine delivers 273 lb ft of torque, courtesy of a 302 horsepower V6 engine that reaches 0-60 in 5.4 seconds and a maximum speed of 155 miles per hour. The seven speed automatic transmission with manual option is the catalyst for efficiency, helping to deliver an EPA fuel rating of 20 miles per gallon in the city and 29 on the highway. With premium unleaded at $3.77 a gallon, that’s roughly $53 to drive 329 miles per tank.
In addition to the beautiful cornering and overall maneuverability (especially on Harlem streets), Predictive Brake Priming—which sets the brake pads closer to the discs when a quick and sudden lift off the accelerator is sensed.—was another advantage that made me say, WOW.
Perfect for the mixed (hot one day, cool the next) temperatures of the fall season are the additional climate control measures. In particular, AIRCARF—the Mercedes neck heating system made available in the Premium 1 Package, ($2,600), places air vents in the upper potion of the heated seats to keep you in perfect comfort with the top dropped.
Now you can take total advantage of the beauty of the fall season with an uninterrupted view of it all. The same package includes iPod interface, allowing you to rule your mp3 player from the steering wheel or audio system controls so that your theme song is just a touch away.
Still to come is the SLK 250. Meanwhile, at the base price of $54,800, the new SLK350—shining brightly beside the BMW Z4, is turning heads and leaving eyes in the dust!