Occupying the central spot in the trio of "entry-level" SLK-Class roadsters created by Mercedes-Benz, the rear-drive SLK350 holds a V6 engine. (In contrast, a V8 powers the SLK55 AMG model, and a four-cylinder engine propels the SLK300.) Promising an even blend of sport and luxury, the SLK350 might not be a wholly practical choice. But it’s a sensible and enticing alternative to one of the exotic-brand convertibles that command stratospheric prices, including Mercedes-Benz’s own, larger SL-Class.
What's New for 2016
A blind-spot monitor is now available on its own, outside of the Driver Assistance Package. Otherwise, the SLK350 sees only two changes in color choice.
Choosing Your Mercedes-Benz SLK350
Under the SLK350 hood, a 3.5-liter V6 develops 302 horsepower, driving a seven-speed automatic transmission. A stop-start function is included, to reduce fuel usage by turning off the engine temporarily when stopped at a traffic light. Acceleration to 60 mph takes a brisk 5.4 seconds. Fuel economy is estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency at 21 mpg city and 29 mpg highway (24 mpg in combined driving). The standard power hardtop contains a fixed glass roof, but you can specify a black metal panel instead. Sporty body trim is borrowed from AMG, Mercedes-Benz’s in-house performance shop.
More than some rivals in the roadster class, the SLK350 aims squarely at comfort and convenience. Standard equipment includes sun-reflective heated leather seats, an 11-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with satellite and HD radio, Bluetooth connectivity, aluminum interior trim, and 18-inch alloy wheels. Also standard is Mercedes-Benz’s COMAND electronic interface. An AirScarf setup has neck-level warm-air vents embedded right into the seats, to keep necks comfortable on chilly day.
As before, Mercedes-Benz offers a selection of option groups:
- Multimedia package adds a navigation system, voice controls, and six-CD changer, as well as a larger touchscreen.
- Sport package has AMG wheels and ambient interior lighting.
- Dynamic Handling package adds an adjustable suspension system.
- Driver Assistance package emphasizes safety, featuring adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, and a PreSafe comprehensive collision mitigation system.
- Lighting package includes adaptive bi-xenon headlights with washers and automatic high-beam control.
Individual options include Nappa leather seats, front and rear parking sensors, wood interior trim, a smartphone app suite, and Magic Sky Control, which electrically alters the tint of the glass roof.
For $59,200, the basic SLK350 contains quite an array of standard items. Option packages are rather reasonably priced, too, considering the extras that they provide. We lean toward the Dynamic Handling package, in particular. Not only does it provide tighter handling when desired, but it delivers a smoother ride while the SLK350 is cruising with the top down.