Mercedes-Benz SLK -

Used Car Review

Mercedes SLK, front
Mercedes SLK, front
Mercedes SLK, front
Mercedes SLK, side
Mercedes SLK, rear
Mercedes SLK, interior

WHEN the original Mercedes SLK was launched in the late 90s, we drove from the coast of Spain up to Granada in the mountains on the most beautiful switchback route.

At one point, we passed through a village that seemed to cling to the mountain side, with dramatic views down to a valley about 2,000 feet below.

A little later, we were able to look back at the village from a viewpoint even higher up and saw that it really did cling to the mountain.

Most of the houses and parts of the road were built out from the steep slope on stilts, with what looked like very precarious gardens overlooking a drop of hundreds of metres.

Rather them than me I thought as we headed on up to the high plateau above, thoroughly enjoying the car with the roof down.

Of course, that was the first machine on the market to have a folding metal roof and all the following SLK models carried on using it, even though it takes up a good part of the boot when its down.

The last one was built between 2011 and 2016 and it celebrated Mercedes' 125th anniversary, with a great looking new face copied from the legendary 190SL from the 1950s, improved driving dynamics and a new range of efficient engines.

This model featured the excellent ‘Airscarf' system that takes warm air through the seat and out around the neck for open driving in winter.

Engines were 1.8, 2.0-litre and 3.5 petrols, with power ranging from 180 to 301bhp, and a single 2.1 diesel with 201bhp.

The 1.8 latterly had 201bhp and could cover the zero to 60mph sprint in just 6.3 seconds with an average economy rating of 43 miles per gallon. The 2.0-litre had 241bhp and could still average 43mpg but was 0.7 of a second quicker over the sprint.

Top petrol was the 3.5-litre V6 with 301bhp. This can cover the sprint in 5.4 seconds and is also capable of a best of 39mpg.

The petrols are usually a good deal cheaper and quicker, but obviously, the diesel is is the one to go for if you want best economy. Its rated at an excellent 56 to 70mpg and can still get to 60mph in 6.5 seconds.

The manual six-speed gearbox was much improved by the time this model came out, but there are not many about as most were sold with the seven-speed automatic.

SLKs are agile and smooth through the corners, with a high level of grip, but I've found that they don't have the same driver connection as a Porsche Boxster or even like the much cheaper Mazda MX-5.

Apart from the top AMG models, which have huge power, these are much more boulevard cruisers than sports cars, with a comfortable, sophisticated ride and well subdued wind and and road noise with the roof up.

Always remember - never buy without the proper service history - its so important with any top end car. You need to know servicing has been carried out properly and what has been repaired or replaced.

The interior is high quality and beautifully put together, but the dash is a bit like an aircraft cockpit, with switches all over the place for things like the seat heaters and the entertainment system.

The roof is quick to put up and down, and most models have added equipment on top of the standard spec.

Expect leather, cruise, climate, traction control, front and side airbags, electric seats, parking sensors, audio remote control, alarm and sports seats.

Pay around £9,700 for a '14 14-reg petrol 200 Bluefficiency auto, or £13,550 for a '16 16-reg 250d AMG Sport automatic.

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