Mercedes SLK350 Test Drive Review
Mercedes SLK 350 – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

Mercedes SLK 350 Review

Car Tested: Mercedes-Benz SLK 350

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 90,19,180/-

The Mercedes SLK is stunning in every possible way and draws a crowd in nano seconds.

Mercedes-Benz is known for its luxury cars but the company knows the right way to develop sports cars with spine tingling performance. After all, Mercedes has been associated with Formula 1 for a long time now and also has its own team. The German car maker has developed quite a few stellar sports cars over the years, like the McLaren SLR and Mercedes SLS AMG, both of which are very high end machines. The compact sports roadster from Mercedes-Benz is the SLK, which standards for sporty, light and short (which in German translates to Sportlich, Leicht und Kurz aka SLK). The third generation R172 model has been in development for six years and is on sale in India. We put the Mercedes SLK 350 through its paces to see if it is a driver’s delight.

Exteriors – The Mercedes-Benz SLK is quite compact and one glance on this roadster will immediately prove that small can indeed be beautiful. The SLK has a stunning design and looks really eye catchy all around, more so with the roof down. The frameless doors feel amazing to hold and with the windows and top down, one can simply put their right hand over the door, slap on a pair of aviator style sunglasses and cruise around in style, with the awesome feeling of the wind blowing through your hair.

The front takes design inspiration from the SLS and the upright radiator grille looks very classy. The large grille adorns a big three pointed star with chrome strip running on either side of the logo. The hood is long, while the tail is rather short and the overall proportions are very reminiscent of the classic sports car of yesteryear. The side profile reveals the ventilation grilles near the front wheels, which have chrome fins to give you an immediate deja vu of the 190 SL roadster. The rear has massive attention to detail with large tail lights and twin exhausts to give you a hint of what this vehicle is capable off.

Interiors – The 2-seater SLK roadster offers good space for two passengers. The cockpit is sporty and luxurious offering splendid levels of quality and good attention to detail. The dashboard is all black and features brushed aluminum inserts throughout, including on the centre console and 3-spoke steering wheel. The steering wheel is well contoured and good to hold, offering very good levels of grip when you mash the throttle and get to the twisties. The circular AC vents are nicely done and look sporty. Everything inside the vehicle is so nicely laid, that the premium feeling becomes immediately apparent.

Mercedes-Benz offers the best bit of equipment like front and rear parking sensors, memory seats, etc on the SLK. The panoramic vario-roof is offered with Magic Sky Control (as an option), which can darken or lighten the roof with a touch of a button. Like all Mercedes cars, the SLK too gets a color display positioned right in the centre of the dashboard, which displays all car functions. The seats are well contoured and offer splendid levels of comfort. The instrument cluster has twin pods with chrome surrounds and is clear to read. The SLK has quite a few places to keep things and with the roof down, the vehicle offers a decent 225-litres of luggage space.

Performance – Mercedes-Benz offers a range of petrol engines on the latest generation SLK, although only one engine is available in India. The SLK 350 is the top-end non AMG variant and features a very eager engine which screams out loud when you floor the accelerator pedal. Throttle response is particularly impressive and the SLK 350 lunges forward with sheer thrust every time you floor it. With 306 trained horses under its arsenal, the SLK 350 reaches 100 km/hr in just 5.6 seconds. Acceleration is so strong that the vehicle is never reluctant and nudges past 200 km/hr with ample amount of juice still left in it.

The six-cylinder motor powering the Mercedes SLK is a gem, it has impressive amount of mid-range bite and is thoroughly refined, even when it is rushing to its 6900 RPM redline. This cracker of a engine is mated to a 7-speed automatic gearbox, which does a good job of selecting the right cogs and is very responsive too. There are three modes – E for economy, M for manual and S for sports. The engine gets a bit jerky in sports mode but holds the revvs to the redline in every gear. There are paddle shifters on the steering wheel to change gears but there is no tiptronic function on the gear knob.

Driving Dynamics – Mercedes-Benz is known to make cars which are more oriented towards comfort. With the SLK, the company has naturally taken a different approach and thus the SLK 350 is stiffly sprung, which gives it terrific handling around corners. The massive 17-inch wheels are slapped with 245/45 low profile tyres which give the vehicle very good driving dynamics and the SLK feels well planted through the sharpest of bends. This Mercedes roadster is quite sharp but the steering isn’t as communicative as we would have liked.

With ample amount of performance available on the Mercedes SLK 350, high speed stability is important and Mercedes has delighted in this regard. The SLK 350 stays well planted to the road even at high speeds, inspiring confidence to be pushed even harder. The ride quality is on the stiffer side though and the low profile rubber doesn’t help matters much, with the vehicle getting quite jittery over bad roads. Braking performance is excellent with good bite and confidence inspiring stopping power on offer.

Verdict – The Mercedes-Benz SLK pleases in almost all regards. As a sports car, it comes on top in most departments including drop dead gorgeous styling, sheer performance, high quality interiors and decent practicality. The Mercedes SLK makes top down motoring really enjoyable with the hardtop going down in a matter of seconds. The V6 powertrain is smooth and offers splendid performance, which is accompanied by aural delight too. The dynamics are not the best though with the steering not being as involving as one would expect from a sports car. However when it comes to sheer performance and desirability, the SLK 350 takes the laurels.

The performance from the SLK 350 is thoroughly impressive with the exhaust snarl still ringing in your ears, hours after you have left the vehicle.

Whats Cool

* Stunning Design
* Stellar Performance
* High Quality Interiors

Whats Not So Cool

* Left side mirror is too magnified

Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 Specifications

* Engine: 3498cc, V6 BlueEFFICIENCY
* Power: 306 HP @ 6500 RPM
* Torque: 370 Nm @ 3500 RPM
* Transmission: 7G-TRONIC PLUS
* Top Speed: 250 km/hr
* 0-100 km/h: 5.6 seconds
* Fuel Consumption: 5 km/l (City), 7 km/l (Highway)
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Suspension: Multi-link
* Tyres: 225/45/17 Tubeless Radials
* Brakes: Ventilated Discs (Front), Discs (Rear)
* Safety: ABS, PRE-SAFE Brake, ATTENTION ASSIST, Active Bonnet, NECK-PRO, 6 Airbags

Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 Dimensions

* Overall length x width x height: 4134 mm X 1810 mm X 1301 mm
* Wheelbase: 2430 mm
* Boot Volume: 335-litres
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 60-litres
* Kerb Weight: 1540 kgs