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.