Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Origins
Mercedes-Benz introduced this luxury roadster in 1998, and the SLK-Class represents the first modern convertible to use a power-retractable roof top made out of steel panels rather than fabric. Although the panels prove more bulky, and the design more complex, it does have several advantages. The SLK-Class benefits from having a hardtop during bad weather, making the car a more versatile and better year-round choice.
Initially, the SLK-Class didn't get everyone's approval, as many driving enthusiasts found it somewhat uninspiring. Later models have benefited from a better design, creating a more serious sports car. It offers an ideal choice for an all-weather car, while the Mercedes-Benz badge automatically brings luxury and prestige. Its competitors include the Porsche Boxster and the BMW Z3, but it wins over both of these models due to its hardtop roof, which provides greater security and a quieter ride. Drivers can close the roof completely in 30 seconds flat, without even getting out of the car.About the Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class
This roadster offers all-round solid performance and handling, although it can be slightly slower to respond than others in its class. When the SLK-Class first came out, it only came with a supercharged, 2.3-liter engine, paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. The lack of a manual gearbox dismays driving enthusiasts. In later years, Mercedes-Benz put this right, making a manual transmission standard, and the automatic an option, and introducing more powerful engines.Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Features
In 2012, the Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class received a complete redesign. It comes in two different trims: the SLK250 and the SLK350. The SLK 250 contains a 1.8-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine that produces 201 hp. It pairs with a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic transmission. The SLK350 has a 3.5-liter, V-6 engine, producing 302 hp, and it only couples with the automatic transmission.
The retractable metal roof comes standard, but a panoramic glass roof provides an optional extra, and owners can tint the glass darker with the flick of a switch. The cabin still has an attractive design with much more intuitive controls than in previous models. The sporty seats give good support, and the car remains comfortable even on longer drives.
With the top down and the windows up, the wind has minimal effects, but if you suffer from the cold, then it's worth considering the optional warming system, which provides channels of warm air to your neck and shoulders through registers in the headrest. When combined with the heated seats, the system works extremely well and makes for a comfortable ride, even on the coldest days.Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Evolution
1998 marks the first year of production for this model. Its main strength lies in its retractable hardtop roof. Although initially only available with one transmission, Mercedes quickly remedied this the following year, introducing a manual gearbox as a standard feature. In the year 2000, Mercedes introduced several different editions featuring unique colors such as Electric Green and Copper combined with a unique interior. In 2001, Mercedes-Benz pleased enthusiasts by introducing a 3.2-liter, V-6 engine for the SLK320, and replacing five-speed gearboxes with six-speed units. The following couple of years saw no significant changes to this model.
Mercedes-Benz revamped the SLK-Class in 2004, bringing out a special edition that includes napa leather trim for the sport seats, chrome accents around the windows, a color-keyed front grille and rear spoiler, and 17-inch wheels.
In 2006, the SLK-Class received a makeover, resulting in a powerful and eye-catching car which measures slightly larger than the original model while remaining just as much fun to drive. A better steering system combines with a better braking system that feels lighter and more responsive.
2007 saw no real changes to the SLK-Class, and only very minor changes appeared in 2008. These include the SLK350 only coming with automatic transmission and the introduction of a new package to celebrate 10 years of production. This package includes smoked headlights and taillights, special 10-spoke wheels, and a red and black interior scheme.
In 2009, Mercedes-Benz made several changes to the SLK-Class, including making the base level the SLK300, while the SLK350 became more powerful. Steering gets more responsive, and an iPod integration kit provides an optional extra. 2010 models remain largely unchanged.
Some optional equipment became standard for both the SLK300 and SLK350 models in 2011, and Mercedes-Benz introduced an optional pre-paid maintenance program.