2010 Mercedes-Benz SLK Class Review

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2017
The Car Connection
2017
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director

The 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class has the poise and performance of a sports car and the soul of a sunny roadster.

TheCarConnection.com's editors drove and reviewed the latest Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class for this road test. Editors compared the SLK to other two-seat ragtops and hardtop convertibles, and compiled a full review of quotes from other sources to help you decide which roadster is best for you.

The 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class blends sports car and classic roadster in a two-seat body that's appealingly styled and charming to drive. The power-folding hardtop encloses one of the best interior spaces in its class, and its larger-displacement powertrains are swift performers. With prices ranging from $48,000 to $68,000, the 2010 SLK-Class matches up against the Infiniti G37 Convertible, the BMW Z4, and the Porsche Boxster.

The current Mercedes-Benz SLK saw a redesign in 2005 and was refreshed last year with restyled front and rear ends. The look is wedgy and purposeful, and it bears more than a passing resemblance to the heftier SL-Class grand tourer. The arrow-like nose is capped by a big three-pointed star, and side strakes and dramatic details elevate the look far above the first-generation SLK's effete softness. The interior is a high-class, low-key affair with lots of dark leather and low-gloss plastic putting a priority on driver controls. For better or worse, lots of secondary controls-particularly on the radio-have been uniformly designed and grouped in squadrons of matching buttons. It's visual unity, but operational chaos at times. The SLK55 AMG performance edition wears its own distinct details: bigger wheels, aerodynamic body add-ons, and a flat-bottom steering wheel. The same details can be applied to non-AMG cars by ordering a Sport Package.

The 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class comes in three models, each now with a very different driving personality. The SLK300's engine remains a 228-horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6-it's strictly for sun-worshipping folks with lower expectations for performance, though conversely, it's the only SLK that offers a six-speed manual transmission. Its 0-60 time is estimated at 6.1 seconds, with a top speed of 155 mph and 17/26 mpg fuel economy for the manual car, 19/26 mpg with the automatic. The SLK350 runs around a 3.5-liter V-6 with 300 horsepower teamed to a seven-speed automatic. It's the mainstay of the lineup, with ample acceleration and a light snarl as it rises through its powerband. Benz pegs its 0-60 mph time at 5.3 seconds, top speed at 155 mph, and fuel economy at 18/26 mpg. The engine takes good advantage of the SLK's quick handling response and good dynamic balance in tight corners. The fangs come out with the exclusive SLK55 AMG, with 355 horsepower shot out through its rear wheels via a seven-speed automatic, larger wheels and tires, a tightly controlled ride and handling, and breathtaking acceleration. While the seven-speed automatic can feel slow in the lesser SLKs, it's cured in the SLK55 AMG with the addition of paddle shifters and a SpeedShift transmission program. The estimated 0-60 mph time is 4.9 seconds, with a top speed of 155 mph and 14/22 mpg gas mileage. All SLKs benefit from a mechanical variable-steering gear that quickens the steering ratio in tighter corners and helps improve on-center tracking. And though the suspension is tuned for little roll, the 2010 SLK roadsters each have a relatively smooth, composed ride.

Inside the SLK, most drivers will be pleasantly surrounded by ample leg- and headroom. The interior is one of the most comfortable and luxurious in its class, and the seats are proportioned generously, with sporty bolsters and plenty of lumbar support for advanced maneuvers. There's enough small-item storage in the cabin for short trips, but the trunk space is severely limited when the top is folded away, with only 6.5 cubic feet of space, just enough room for a couple of soft-sided bags. This SLK is far better finished inside than the previous car, and various trim options give it even more of a custom look.

Neither NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) nor the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) has crash-tested the 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLK, but its list of safety features is unparalleled among roadsters. Head-and-thorax side-impact airbags and a knee airbag are standard, as are anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control. The seating position is quite low, so visibility can be an issue; when the top is raised, it's particularly difficult to see to the rear quarters.

The standard features list on the 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class has been expanded to include a Bluetooth hands-free interface and an upgraded audio system. Leather upholstery, an in-dash CD changer, and cruise control all are standard. The options list is extensive, including a SmartKey system that allows raising or lowering the top remotely, a Harman Kardon sound system, a navigation system, the latest version of the company's COMAND screen-based interface, bi-xenon headlamps, dual-zone climate control, and an attractive burl walnut trim. An iPod interface is newly available, and the optional sound system comes with an SD memory card slot, as well as HD and satellite radio. The single best feature available on the 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLK that's not offered on a rival vehicle in its class is AIRSCARF, which gently blows hot air around your neck from behind the headrest area, making cold, sunny days so much more enjoyable with the top down.

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March 2, 2016
2015 Mercedes-Benz SLK Class 2-Door Roadster SLK 250

Outstanding "middle age crisis" vehicle

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Having driven all manner of four door sedans during my 40 years as a sales rep, I splurged and purchased my 2015 SLK 250 as a sort of retirement gift. I have had the vehicle for about a month and all I can say... + More »
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December 23, 2015
2015 Mercedes-Benz SLK Class 2-Door Roadster SLK 55 AMG

My dream car

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This is a black/red slk55AMG. It handles very well and is capable of reaching 184MPH.What more could you want.
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September 4, 2015
2015 Mercedes-Benz SLK Class 2-Door Roadster SLK 250

Sporty and elegant

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Mine is a SLK 200, 184 HP, looks very nice, rides excellent, good performance. I love it.
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April 13, 2015
For 2015 Mercedes-Benz SLK Class

2006 Mercedes SLK 350

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My 2006 Mercedes SLK 350 is not the perfect automoble...; but it's perfect for me. I can't get an ironing board in the trunk. I can't carry more than one other person in it, other than myself. But all those... + More »
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December 8, 2016
2013 Mercedes-Benz SLK Class 2-Door Roadster SLK 250

I didn't know I was such a important person until I bought my sik ;)

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Just a joy to drive. Took a five day trip to Arizona with enough room for our luggage. My wife and I drove up to 14 hours a day neither of us any worst for the wear. I'm 6 ft. It's funny how strangers come up... + More »
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October 31, 2015
2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK Class 2-Door Roadster SLK 250

Brilliant piece of Engineering

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This is another example of German Engineering at its Best. A real head turner With the Top down on a sunny day Love the Sports Mode for a bit of Fun around my coastal weekend run Very comfortable and the road... + More »
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June 15, 2015
2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK Class 2-Door Roadster SLK 55 AMG

Strong performance in a small package

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The AMG SLK55 is the way to go for SLK nodels. Previously owned a SLK350 and it takes nice to a new fun level. PLenty of power to play with. Easy to explore the limits of traction control and beyond in sport... + More »
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August 14, 2015
For 2003 Mercedes-Benz SLK Class

My 2003 SLK230 is cute and sexy and filled with joy.

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As long as you find an honest mechanic who knows all of the codes, you're gold. An electric top adds to the easy of enjoying. It's a timeless ride that continues to turn heads. I love it.
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