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