Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 2012 Review
You'd think more power would mean higher fuel consumption. But amazingly the Mercedes-Benz SLK 55...
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We weren't fans of the first Z4 - too many disparate angles to the sheetmetal, too short in the rump and long in the snout, too retro around the grille and headlights. Went OK though.
That's been fixed with the latest model - an altogether more appealing shape, sleek, elegant and muscular all rolled into one and with a hardtop to boot. The best of both worlds. Topping out the Z4 range is a twin-turbo 3.0-litre straight six called the 35is.
It's complete with a seven-speed, twin-clutch "manumatic" transmission that functions as a full auto or a sequential manual through paddles on the wheel or via the stick shift.
The price is a sobering $129,900 but you have to remember this car competes with the likes of Porsche's Boxster S at five grand more, the Benz SLK55 AMG at a lot more and plenty of others. The Bimmer stacks up well no matter which way you cut it.
Performance is strong thanks to the 250kW/500Nm twin-turbo six cylinder. That's enough to propel the 1525kg Z4 from 0-100kmh in a scant 4.8 seconds or exactly the same as the BMW M3 coupe. It does this while consuming fuel at the combined rate of 9.0-litres/100km.
The twin-turbo arrangement uses two small turbines that spool up quickly pressurising air going into three cylinders apiece. It gets around any lag and delivers near maximum torque at a low 1500rpm.
There's launch control to get off the mark as quickly as possible and a range of electronic systems to keep everything in check, much of it switchable.
The 35is version is differentiated by its more aggressive aero kit, 18-inch alloys and adaptive suspension that can lower the ride height by 10mm. It also has a whole swag of goodies including premium audio bixenons, stop/start button and automatic aircon.
The cruise control system features a braking function. Inside is a study in leather, aluminium and carbon fibre fascia tastefully and functionally arranged.
It has regenerative braking and high beam assist as well as adaptive headlights and park assist front and rear. Bluetooth is part of the package as well as large format navigation with voice control.
It's a super thing to drive, sharp, responsive, engaging, sounds unbelievable and makes you feel like you're in a race car. Obviously in a car as powerful and low slung as this, corners are a piece of cake at almost any speed - aided and abetted by large brakes and wide tyres.
The ride can be dialled up to anything between plush to sporty firm which was controlled and comfortable enough for us to select all the time.
Actually getting into a car this low does at times cause a problem, especially in tight spaces when you have to basically drop into the seat because the large doors can't be opened far enough - ouch.
But worth the discomfort for the drive experience. The Z4 35is is an impressive rear wheel drive sports car that can be made roofless in a short time to give you the best of both worlds.
|Z4 Sdrive 23I||2.5L, PULP, 6 SP MAN||$17,600 – 24,530||2011 BMW Z Models 2011 Z4 Sdrive 23I Pricing and Specs|
|Z4 Sdrive 30I||3.0L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO||$21,200 – 28,820||2011 BMW Z Models 2011 Z4 Sdrive 30I Pricing and Specs|
|Z4 Sdrive 35I||3.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$25,800 – 34,210||2011 BMW Z Models 2011 Z4 Sdrive 35I Pricing and Specs|
|Z4 Sdrive 35IS||3.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$27,900 – 36,960||2011 BMW Z Models 2011 Z4 Sdrive 35IS Pricing and Specs|
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