2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK Class Comfort & Quality

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Comfort & Quality

The Mercedes-Benz SLK is now in its third generation, and by the numbers, gen two and gen three are much more closely related. The 2012 model rides on a wheelbase of 95.7 inches, and measures 162.8 inches in all, which makes it nearly identical in size to the prior version.

It has grown a bit broader, but it's hard to gauge in shoulder room; it just doesn't seem meaningfully larger. Most passengers will fit fine, but our taller editors--basically, all of them--think the SLK could use an inch or two more leg room, and more seat travel. The sport seats themselves fit perfectly snugly, but you'll sit close to the dash. We've also noticed the passenger footwell doesn't have as much space, which can make very long drives a little tiring. Very tall passengers will have some geometry to figure out--how far back can I move the seat before I need to adjust the backrest more vertically than I would like?

It's still snug around the feet and shoulders, but the SLK has some soft-side luggage space and swell fit and finish.
Otherwise, however, interior space and comfort are excellent for a sporty two-seater. There's not a lot of extra space, nor is there much room in the trunk with the folding top down--and you can't put it down without first aligning the trunk dividing partition properly--but there's enough space for a weekend retreat for two. A flexible cargo lid inside the trunk has to be latched in place over some of the cargo hold before the top can be moved--and it's possible to dislodge it on hard bumps. A backpack-sized space lies under the flat floor; lift out a formed plastic bin and hide valuables, or flip it on its other side for a shallow well that adds a cubic foot or a little more to the equation. In all, there are 10.1 cubic feet of stowage with the roof up, but only a scant 6.4 cubes when it's out of sight.

With the windows up and the climate control system set, the cabin is neither turbulent nor uncomfortably cold. A mesh divider between the seats helps to settle the wind. With the sun fully out and beginning to roast our tender, chained-to-a-desk skin, we decided it was time to put the top up. It's a simple and quick affair, just a button press away--though you do have to be at a full stop for it to operate, or at least we did. Once the top is up, the SLK is much more coupe-like; that is to say, quieter, more closed-in feeling.

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