2010 Mercedes-Benz SLK Class Performance

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Performance

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. Edmunds claims even this base SLK300 "provides sprightly acceleration." Popular Mechanics thinks it's a "bummer" that the manual can only be had in the low-powered SLK, though.

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 advantage of the SLK's quick handling response and good dynamic balance in tight corners. Car and Driver tested the prior version and "ran from 0 to 60 in 5.4 seconds"; they note the additional 32 horsepower "should knock a few 10ths off that time." Cars.com performed a road test of "about 150 miles of mostly highway driving," and they found that "the SLK350 averaged 29 mpg."

In its latest generation, the Mercedes-Benz SLK has evolved into a truly satisfying driver's car.

The fangs come out with the exclusive SLK55 AMG, with what Edmunds calls "a beastly 5.4-liter V8 that cranks out 355 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque." The power's 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. Car and Driver calls the seven-speed simply "excellent," while Cars.com also gives high marks for the "smooth shifts that can't be felt most of the time."

All SLKs benefit from a mechanical variable-steering gear that quickens the steering ratio in tighter corners and helps improve on-center tracking. Popular Mechanics says that "a new, all-mechanical direct-steer system tightens the steering ratio when the wheel is turned a mere 5 degrees off-center," which improves overall handling significantly when combined with the "speed-sensitive power assist." And though the suspension is tuned for little roll, the 2010 SLK roadsters each have a relatively smooth, composed ride. Kelley Blue Book contends that the "ride has definitely been improved," and Edmunds reports the 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class is "comfortable and compliant enough to appeal to the average driver." Cars.com declares with the improvements, the SLK "proves to be a decent touring car."

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