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The Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class is the quintessential roadster, delivering speed, style, and snappy acceleration, while simultaneously cradling its passengers in an interior luxurious enough to be dangerous competition for other sports cars in the segment.
This 2-passenger RWD luxury convertible features a retractable folding hardtop, which is more durable than the traditional canvas, and its powerful 3.5L V6 201hp engine will satisfy sports car fans looking for a high-performance driving experience. The 7-speed automatic system goes 0-60 in 5.5 seconds, and the car’s quick handling is enhanced by front and rear performance tires. The engine yields 21mpg for in-city driving, and 29mpg on the highway, keeping pace with other sports cars in its segment.
The 350 also offers an extra range of special features grouped into four different package options, ranging from $990-$2,500. The Trim Package caters to drivers who like a taste of the antique, with burl walnut wood trim, a wood and leather shift knob, and a wood and leather steering wheel. The Lighting Package extends exterior safety and visibility with adaptive highbeam assist, custom headlamp washers, and bi-xenon headlamps equipped with Mercedes’ custom Active Curve Illumination. Tech and audio enthusiasts will appreciate the 350’s Multimedia Package, which offers an SD card reader, enhanced voice control navigation, SiriusXM traffic and weather, Gracenote media database, and COMAND system that comes with an 80gb hard-drive navigation. The Sport Package is the true essence of the Roadster, with extra athletic body styling, 18-inch AMG high performance 5-spoke alloy wheels, and direct ambient lighting in an illuminating Solar Red shade.
The SLK350 has stiff competition in its segment, butting heads with the 2013 Porsche Boxter in the steering and handling department, and competing with the 2013 BMW Z4 and 2013 Audi TTS Roadster for elegance and design. Drivers who crave a high amount of luxury features in a standard model respond well to the SLK350, while drivers who want an even larger engine sometimes opt for the Corvette. With each model striving for best design, and none of them achieving top marks in every category, buyers have a number of options to choose from.
Style, power, and comfort are in ample supply, but tall drivers may want to reconsider the SLK350, as the cabin can be cramped for long legs, and the hard top may not provide sufficient headroom. Picky drivers may also find the roadster’s steering and brakes a bit softer than other sports cars in the segment, though the overall enjoyment of the drive is uncontested.
A wealth of amenities come standard in the SLK350’s base trim, including features that in last year’s model were only available with the Premium 1 package, such as heated seats and a high-quality Harman/Kardon stereo system. Drivers also enjoy a leather tilt-column steering wheel, leather seats, separate driver and front passenger climate control, tinted glass, power front and rear windows, heated exterior mirrors, halogen headlights, and variable assisted steering. Safety features cover driver and passenger thoroughly, offering 4 wheel ABS brakes, Electronic Brake Assist, integrated rollover protection, BabySmart airbag childseat sensor, side seat mounted airbags, and driver and passenger knee airbags.
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Sharper handling with high emphasis on performance driving, but with a starting price that's about $6,000 higher than the SLK350
Similar exterior design and options as the SLK350, but with a less powerful engine
Powerful performance and eye-catching exterior design, but disappointing interior for the $60,000 MSRP.
A stylish, solid vehicle, but not as much fun to drive, with no manual transmission offered