A rare breath of air
The SLK’S refined alfresco lines cloak a serious sportster
The 250 is the pick of the pair of 1.8-litre turbo engines that start the SLK line-up. At $92,450, it is $3000 dearer than BMW’s rival Z4 28i and $11,000 dearer than the allwheel drive Audi TT 2.0 quattro. It’s still $15,000 under a Porsche Boxster or its SLK 350 stablemate. The SLK 250 rolls off the showroom floor with an infotainment system including satnav, web browser and voice control, a seven-inch high-res screen, bi-xenon headlamps and heated and powered seats.
It takes just 20 seconds to transform from classy to cool as the roof tucks into the boot. That will chew up most of the cargo space, so on weekends away plan on getting to the hotel and unloading the luggage before you go topless.
The engine is matched to a seven-speed auto, a switchhitter in which the default economy setting heavily favours frugality over fun. That leads to a long wait between burying the right foot and eliciting a response from the engine but is also key in helping the car achieve a claimed 6.7L/100km. Great for boulevard cruising; frustrating when trying to get on the throttle mid-corner.
Sports mode eliminates the lag and is the preferred option for those making moves. Better still, go for manual mode and change gears via the wheelmounted paddle shifters.
There’s a touch of SL and SLS about Merc’s baby roadster. The $130,000 price difference makes it the standout of the two-seater range. The single horizontal bar that carries the Benz emblem on the front brings enough aggression to the