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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
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The optional PreSafe system anticipates an imminent crash and automatically takes measures to better secure occupants.
Safety extras include active cruise control with collision warning.
Car and Driver
Unfortunately, the ESC on the SLK350 cannot be completely disabled. When the dash switch is toggled off, the tires will spin to aid acceleration on snow or through mud, but any yaw immediately triggers a throttle intervention.
Mercedes has a long and storied reputation for driver safety, as an innovator of anti-lock brakes and lately, the Attention Assist attention-getter that reminds you that, yes, this would be the perfect time to pull over for an espresso.
Unfortunately, that's all we have to go on for now, because neither of the major crash-test agencies has put the SLK through their paces. As is the case with some luxury convertibles, the SLK may never be tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), because of its relative rarity.
Safety equipment on the 2012 SLK includes dual front, side and head airbags with a driver knee airbag; anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control; mbrace telematics; active head restraints; and Attention Assist, which flashes an alert to drowsy drivers in the form of a steaming cup of coffee.
There's no rearview camera at all, but as long as the top is down, there's little need for one. Still, it's an unusual omission on a brand-new luxury vehicle.
It hasn't been crash-tested, but Mercedes' safety heritage has the SLK's back.