When it appeared on the scene in 1996, the relatively affordable Mercedes-Benz SLK brought the hardtop roadster to a much wider audience. Although somewhat awkward at first, the SLK has only improved over time. And the current SLK250 is an ideal grand tourer for a couple and their weekend luggage.
The 2014 SLK250 remains almost entirely unchanged from 2013; there have, in fact, been few changes since the start of this generation in 2011.
Mercedes-Benz styling, especially when compared to Porsche's or BMW's, is decidedly conservative. However, what the SLK250 lacks in flashy design it makes up for in grace and class. It's perfect for buyers who want the fun and style of a luxury roadster without the pretentious image. The interior continues this line of thought with simple design and high-quality materials throughout.
Under the Hood
The SLK250 is the most affordable version of the SLK, with a starting price of $43,525. Needless to say, this also means it is the least powerful, equipped with a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder good for 201 horsepower. If you're the type of driver who prefers three pedals, note that the SLK250 is the only SLK that's available with a manual transmission. Most will be ordered with a seven-speed automatic. Fuel economy is impressive, with a rating of 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway.
The rear-wheel drive SLK250 is fun to drive, with sprightly acceleration and a planted feel due to the torque-vectoring system and tuned suspension system. While the retractable hardtop does add some additional weight and take up trunk space, there is no soft-top roadster on the market that can compare with the SLK's top-up quiet and security.
The SLK250 only comes in just one configuration with a reasonable base price of $43,525. The 201-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine isn't a powerhouse, but is sprightly and gets the job done. Option packages allow SLK250 buyers to load their roadster up, but these drive the price up rather quickly.
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