Preach­ing to con­vert­ible

Mercedes-Benz says it has made 650 changes to its SLK hard­top range, writes JAMES STAN­FORD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test -

IT’S hard to warm to con­vert­ibles in the mid­dle of win­ter. In a few months it will be pos­si­ble to drop the roof with­out get­ting frost­bite but un­til then it’s good to have a con­vert­ible that looks nice with its lid up.

Metal fold­ing hard­tops are com- mon place, in­tro­duced with the last­gen­er­a­tion Mercedes-Benz SLK.

It’s a facelifted sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion SLK and Mercedes says it has made 650 al­ter­ations to the range. The big­gest changes have been un­der the bon­net, with the four and six­cylin­der en­gines be­ing up­graded.

The en­try-level model, the SLK 200 Kom­pres­sor, starts at $88,520. That in­cludes the pro­posed lux­ury tax price in­crease.

This car has a su­per­charged 1.8-litre four-cylin­der en­gine and now pro­duces 15kW more for a to­tal of 135kW, torque in­creas­ing by 10Nm to 250Nm. That pro­pels the SLK 200 from 0 to 100km/h in 7.6 sec­onds. A more im­pres­sive num­ber is the 8 litres for 100km fuel con­sump­tion.

Un­til now, the SLK has come stan­dard with an au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, but with the re­vised ver­sion, Mercedes is of­fer­ing the SLK 200 and the SLK 350 with man­u­als.

The man­u­als for both en­gines are six-speed­ers; the SLK 200 is avail­able with an op­tional five-speed au­to­matic for an ex­tra $3305.

Mercedes has also up­graded the 3.5-litre V6 en­gine, with power ris­ing by 24kW to 224kW and torque in­creas­ing by 10Nm to 390Nm. The op­tional au­to­matic is a sev­en­speeder and costs $3728. The SLK 350 costs $112,380 and dashes from 0-100km/h in 5.4 sec­onds.

There is al­ways some­thing faster and more ex­pen­sive at Mercedes and in this case it’s the $171,270 SLK 55, which runs an un­changed 5.5-litre V8 with 265kW and 510Nm. That’s enough for a 0-100km/h of 4.9 sec­onds.

Hard times: this Mercedes-Benz SLK is ready for the sum­mer, but its metal fold­ing hard­top will keep you warm un­til win­ter’s gone.

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