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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK Class Photo
8.4
/ 10
TCC Rating
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Reviewed by Marty Padgett
Editorial Director, The Car Connection
BASE INVOICE
$39,525
BASE MSRP
$42,500
Quick Take
It may be the most pragmatic roadster of its kind, but the SLK 350 dares you to doubt its partying skills. Read more »
Decision Guide
Opinions from around the Web
Styling
Performance
Quality
Safety
Features
Mileage

The SLK's new look is heavily influenced by the bigger SL roadster, not to mention the SLS AMG gullwing and even the new 2012 CLS four-door. It's compact and stubbier, which shows up clearly in its nose, but the careful attention paid to omitting extra lines and sculpting surfaces gives the SLK its own grace, mostly from the rear three-quarters.

Motor Authority »

The new interior is a welcome departure from that of the last SLK. Gone is shiny-plastic, generic switchgear; in its place is what appears to be a scale model of the SLS dashboard.

Car and Driver »

The SLK's newly aggressive road presence is dominated by a large three-pointed star leading the way from the middle of the wide upright radiator grille split by a horizontal chrome blade.

Automobile »

As the new SLK's interior design closely mimics that of the Mercedes SLS, owners of the range-topping supercar may be a little miffed that their car essentially shares the same cabin with Benz's cheapest sports car.

Edmunds »

The split-grill design reconstitutes the 190 SL's design from the late 1950s in a handsome, modern manner.

Autoblog »
Pricing and Specifications by Style
$42,500 $67,500
MSRP $42,500
INVOICE $39,525 Browse used listings in your area
2-Door Roadster SLK250
Gas Mileage 22 mpg City/32 mpg Hwy
Engine Gas I4, 1.8L
EPA Class 2 Seater
Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity 2
Passenger Doors 2
Body Style Convertible
See Detailed Specs »
8.4 out of 10
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The Basics:

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK still may be the least honed, least intense of the trio of pricey German roadsters, but it's ripened over its 15 years and three generations. New for 2012, the latest SLK has pretty much steamrolled over any trace of its dainty past and hot-paved it with real, substantial, and sometimes intoxicating sports-car urgency.

Argue if you want in favor of the Porsche Boxster's no-compromises chassis, or the BMW Z4's now-outed closet speed freak. The SLK holds its own: it grips and grunts with its own visceral pulse, and proves that it's still a three-way arms race in its very small, very exclusive club.

Thus far in the 2012 model year, we've driven two flavors of SLK--the eventual mid-range SLK 350 and the sizzling V-8-powered SLK 55 AMG. There's a turbo four-cylinder SLK in the pipeline, too, but it's likely tagged for a 2013 model-year intro. In either SLK, you'll find ever more sharpening to the performance edge--we wouldn't yet call it the equal of the Boxster or Z4 just yet, but the steering's adopted electric variable ratios to tie it more closely to your nerve endings. The suspension can do the same, if you want--and that gives the SLK unexpected ride softness when you need it, without the pothole jarring of a very stiff-riding machine when you don't.

If it's pure acceleration you're after, of course, the 415-horsepower SLK 55 AMG is the only choice. It's easy to get used to the 302-hp V-6's rhythm, though, and with either, there's a paddle-shifted seven-speed automatic pushing force to the rear wheels in a mostly smooth way. Massive, biting brakes are in store, either way, and new torque-vectoring control works with the SLK's stability control to tighten cornering, giving this latest edition a lot of tech weaponry to tackle corners.

The SLK didn't grow very much this time around, and the interior's still snug for tall drivers and for luggage. There are no safety scores as of yet, and oddly, there's no rearview camera at all on the features list. However, the SLK is as comprehensively equipped as any Mercedes and better by a long shot than its German compatriots. On top of HD radio, Bluetooth, navigation and real-time traffic, the SLK can be fitted with a photochromic glass roof that tints itself on bright sunny days--and there's AIRSCARF, which blows a warm, gentle breeze on your neck to keep top-down season going another few weeks.

The top, after all, is what the coupe-convertible SLK is all about. And it's just as good at lowering the roof as it is at raising it.












Likes:

  • Handling keeps getting better
  • Four, six, or eight cylinders--an SLK for any displacement
  • AIRSCARF! Magic Sky Roof!
  • Simplified styling, inside and out

Dislikes:

  • Can be tight for tall drivers
  • Reflexes not quite as sharp as Boxster, Z4
  • Tall front end
Next: Interior / Exterior »
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