- Four, six, or eight cylinders
- Tight, refined interior with the top up
- Unified styling inside and out
- AIRSCARF! Magic Sky Control!
- Tight for tall drivers
- Tall front end
- Not quite as sharp as Boxster, Z4
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class combines mini-SL style with a choice of efficient or potent powertrains, but it's better suited to cruising than corner-carving.
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class lineup spans from relaxed to raging, yet it's very different form its German roadster rivals. The SLK is a comfortable, everyday-drivable option for those who can get by with just two seats, as well as a great third-car option for people who want top-down fun on weekends.
The SLK has evolved over the years, and it's become a more focused, more graceful sports car. The early models were all about comfort, something the latest version manages to retain. We won't discount our love for the Porsche Boxster and its pure driving pleasure, or fail to mention that the BMW Z4 is now one of the best touring roadsters available, but the Mercedes SLK has its own performance qualities, and some things only a Mercedes can provide.
The top is, quite simply, what the coupe-convertible SLK is all about. You lose some trunk space compared to soft-top rivals, but what you get instead is a tight, refined interior that's long-distance quiet and comfortable, and essentially acts as a coupe when the top's up. Unfortunately, the interior's still snug for tall drivers and for luggage. Outward visibility can also be difficult with the top raised, and there's no rearview camera system on offer.
The 2015 SLK Class is offered in three quite dramatically different personalities. At the base end there's the SLK 250 and its 201-horsepower, 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine; we still haven't driven variants with this engine, but we've found it plenty perky in the C Class--and it's the only way you can get an SLK with a (six-speed) manual gearbox. What most are probably going to find the best compromise between price and performance in the lineup is the SLK 350 and its 302-hp, 3.5-liter V-6. But those who always need to have the best and fastest will head straight to the sizzling V-8-powered SLK 55 AMG.
During extensive drive time in the SLK 350, we've found it easy to get used to this model's rhythm and drivability. With any of these automatic models, 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, 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 2015 SLK models include all the infotainment features expected in a luxury vehicle, like 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 and beckons you to put the top down on a chilly-but-sunny day.