Redesigned last year, Mercedes' third-generation SLK roadster continues to offer a folding metal hardtop, but there's also the option of Mercedes' Magic Sky Control, a glass roof panel with variable transparency The SLK is available in three trims: the turbo four-cylinder SLK250 that can be had with a manual transmission, the 302-horsepower V-6 SLK350 and the high-performance SLK55 AMG powered by a big 5.5-liter V-8. Competitors to both cars include the Audi TT, BMW Z4 and Porsche Boxster.
New for 2013
For 2013, all SLK models now come equipped with mbrace2 in-car technology and optional Adaptive Highbeam Assist. SLK350 models now come standard with features including heated seats, iPod/MP3 interface, remote-operated hardtop, Airscarf neck-heating system and a premium stereo with satellite radio. Fuel-saving Eco Start/Stop is also now standard on the 3.5-liter V-6.
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The SLK is one of the shorter cars in its class. Like on the SLS-Class supercar, the SLK's grille sits low and well ahead of the headlights; a single chrome band divides it, with Mercedes' three-pointed star sitting front and center. Like many new luxury cars, the SLK uses LEDs in its taillights and daytime running lights. All SLKs feature a standard power-retracting hardtop with optional Magic Sky Control, a glass pane that can be electronically switched to be transparent or opaque. Other exterior features include:
- 17-inch wheels standard; 18-inch wheels optional
- Standard power-retracting hardtop
- Optional sport appearance package
- Optional adaptive bi-xenon headlights with washers
- Optional keyless access system
- Available rear spoiler
A more shelf-like dashboard dominates the new SLK's two-seat interior; Mercedes says it used horizontal shapes to emphasize the car's width. A standard 5.8-inch center screen houses the stereo and optional navigation displays. The automaker says the SLK's glove compartment is 26 percent larger than its predecessor. Trunk volume measures 10.1 cubic feet with the folding hardtop raised and 6.4 cubic feet with it lowered. Interior features include:
- Available Harman Kardon premium stereo
- Standard aluminum trim; optional wood trim
- Standard flat-bottom, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise controls
- Optional wood-and-leather steering wheel
- Available leather seats; heated seats optional
- Optional neck-level heating vents embedded in seatbacks
Under the Hood
The SLK250 uses a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, while the SLK350 has a 3.5-liter V-6. Mercedes says the SLK250 accelerates to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, while the SLK350 takes 5.4 seconds. Mechanical features include:
- Turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder with 201 hp and 229 pounds-feet of torque (SLK250)
- 3.5-liter V-6 with 302 hp and 273 pounds-feet of torque (SLK350)
- SLK250 comes with a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic; SLK350 comes only with the automatic
- SLK350 has standard Eco Start/Stop fuel-saving technology
All SLKs come with eight airbags, including head-extending side airbags that deploy from the doors. Additional safety features include:
- Available parking assist
- Electronic stability control with traction control
- Mbrace2 in-car telematics
- Attention assist
- Adaptive high-beam assist
The high-performance 2013 SLK55 AMG features the only V-8 powertrain offered on the roadster. The AMG model pairs with a seven-speed AMG automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddles. Like the four-cylinder and six-cylinder, which feature new fuel economy measures, the new V-8 is also more fuel efficient and more powerful than its predecessor.
The 5.5-liter V-8 gains fuel efficiency by implementing stop/start technology and cylinder deactivation and by using more lightweight aluminum in the casting of the powertrain.
Besides the V-8 powertrain, the AMG model distinguishes itself from the regular trims through AMG-specific aesthetic upgrades: light-alloy wheels, a large front air dam, ground effects kit, a spoiler lip and chrome-plated twin tailpipes. The SLK55 AMG also features an optional AMG Handling Package that has a limited-slip differential, performance suspension and steering wheel, and package-specific 18-inch AMG wheels in either silver or matte black.
On the inside, the SLK55 AMG gets a center-console analog clock, aluminum trim and pedals, AMG-specific steering wheel, unique instrument cluster and sport bucket seats. The SLK55 also features a standard hardtop retractable roof with a full glass pane that can be electronically switched to be transparent or opaque. Back to top
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