Is the 2012 Merc SLK a true sportscar?

Discussion in 'International Automotive Scene' started by GTD, Apr 23, 2011.

  1. GTD

    GTD Super Moderator

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    [​IMG]


    With BMW and Mercedes, buyers seeking a compact, premium-level roadster have been well catered for in recent years. The latter has historically approached the market from the comfort end of the scale, with BMW only recently choosing to tone down a previously more overtly sporting proposition.

    The SLK has done a sterling job for Mercedes. When it first launched in 1996, the car debuted a folding metal roof, offering owners the best of both worlds — tin-top refinement and security when you wanted it, plus open-air convenience when it took your fancy.

    By the second generation, the car boasted sharper handling to please those seeking a sportier premium compact roadster experience. With this third generation SLK, Mercedes has further refined the driving experience and added a few welcome extra bits of technology.

    Change is good

    Style-wise, the car offers buyers two choices. The basic SLK shape remains intact, albeit a little sharper and better defined than previously. Opting for the ‘Sport' model results in the addition of a tastefully subtle but visually appealing AMG-branded bodykit and wheels, as well as a more focused sports suspension set-up.

    Even in the world of sportscars, it's hard to escape talk of cutting fuel consumption and emissions. With the inclusion of an improved engine range, this SLK follows other recent Mercedes products in delivering greater savings but, impressively, not at the expense of outright performance.

    The SLK line-up consists of a turbo four-cylinder in 184 and 204 horsepower guise in SLK 200 and 250 trim respectively. There's also a six-cylinder unit boasting 306 horsepower. Four-pot models come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, with the 350 getting a seven-speed auto — optional on the other cars.

    For those watching their fils, the SLK 200 sips just 6.5-litres-100km in auto trim and CO2 emissions are 151 and 158g/km respectively. The 250 variant isn't far behind, while the 350 gets just over the seven-litre mark and posts a creditable 167g/km CO2 figure. There's even an engine stop-start function for good measure plus an eco driving mode that softens the throttle and auto gearbox response.

    As you can see, there's no downside to downsizing. And on the road the 200 is a keen and willing companion. Even in non-Sport guise, the car feels poised on challenging, twisty roads. The manual gearshift is slick and accurate, while the car's steering is direct and weights up in a predictable manner. Sport models take this a step further, but thankfully there's no real compromise in ride quality. You can switch between suspension and (where fitted) auto gearbox modes, and the car's tuned ride and 18in AMG wheels help, not hinder, the experience.

    With each step up in engine output the experience takes another positive leap forward, with the 350 predictably offering the most thrills. However, in a testament to the rounded nature of the 200, it's a car-engine combination you dismiss at your peril.

    No modern Mercedes would be complete without a raft of safety kit and this third-gen SLK doesn't disappoint. Inheriting technology from more expensive cars such as the S-Class and CLS, the usual stability control systems have been enhanced with the (sometimes optional) inclusion of auto braking, lane departure warning, speed road sign detection and auto dipping headlights.

    On the fun side there's a new infotainment system offering internet access, an active wind deflector plus changes to the car's trademark folding metal roof. The basic version remains, offering coupé-like refinement and security when raised. There's now the option of a glass panoramic roof plus a new ‘Magic Sky Control' branded alternative. Fancy name aside, occupants can switch electronically between a light and dark mode, thanks to the clever technology in the glass.

    Verdict

    There's little doubt that, with this third-gen SLK, Mercedes has hit the sweet spot when it comes to compact, premium convertibles. The car's styling strikes the right balance between elegance and a hint of performance, while mechanically it's economical, enjoyable and refined in equal measure.

    Factor in the improved safety and comfort technology — not forgetting the car's trademark roof — and it's likely that prospective customers will need little persuasion to sign on the dotted line.

    Rival

    BMW Z4
    Munich's roadsters have traditionally been rougher but more sportingly capable than Stuttgart's, but now the tables have turned; the new Z4 might actually be softer in nature than its arch-rival, the SLK. Both cars use turbos proficiently, although it can be argued that BMW gets more from less: the base Z4 makes 204bhp for Dh185K.

    Tech sheet: Safe and sound

    Roadsters provide wind-in-the-hair thrills, but also scary moments, should something go wrong; you're totally exposed after all. You'll be fine in the new SLK though, because the engineers shunned the crash test dummies for real life data. That doesn't mean they smashed humans head-first into walls, but rather studied thousands of accidents to make the new SLK safer. The car thus comes with Attention Assist and Adaptive Brake as standard, the latter system comprising ABS, skid control and active yaw control.

    The Distronic Plus senses proximity of other cars, pre-braking in case of danger. Compared to the old car, the new body is stronger on the sides with a new fibre-reinforced roll-over bar. Additional sensors tell the car where the accident is about to occur and how to prepare the occupants for the crash, employing new head bag and crash-responsive head restraints. Of course, airbags completely surround passengers, with an additional thorax airbag in the seat backrest protecting the upper body.

    Specs

    Model SLK 200 Blue Efficiency
    Engine 1.8-litre four-cyl turbo
    Transmission Six-speed manual, RWD
    Max power 184bhp @ 5,250rpm
    Max torque 270Nm @ 1,800rpm
    Top speed 240kph
    0-100kph 7.3sec
    Price Dh180K (UK)
    Plus It's actually sporty this time, economy
    Minus Base engine lacks power
     
  2. *kinnu*

    *kinnu* New Member

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    looks cool :cool:
     
  3. Codename.47

    Codename.47 Guest

    my friend wanted to buy a SLK350 but that is a chicks cars
     
  4. {dEfAuLtErJaTt}

    {dEfAuLtErJaTt} New Member

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