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Mercedes-Benz SLK350 2011 review

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A bunch of scruffy blokes once told me the Mercedes-Benz SLK was a 'hairdressers' car'. From the look of them, none had been near a hairdresser in years, of course. And none of them have been near the new SLK, or they'd be changing their views.

Metal roof up or down, this is a great little two-seater, and a sheer joy to get around in.

Prices and variants

The entry-level price of $82,900 gets you into the SLK200, with a 135kW/270Nm 1.8-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine mated to a seven-speed automatic, with fuel economy of 6.9L/100km. Base spec includes heated seats with sun-reflective leather, brushed aluminium trim, 147mm colour nav/info screen and 17-in alloy wheels.

Of course it gets a five-star crash rating, with an arsenal of safety equipment including door-head airbags among the six on board, acceleration skid control and the Pre-Safe system that preps the car if it's in danger of crashing.

The $118,900 SLK350 tested here has a 225kW/370Nm 3.5-litre V6 also with the seven-speed auto and fuel economy of 8.3L/100km. Sure, the more powerful engine adds some extra dollars, but the $36,000 price difference also bridges you to Merc's multimedia Comand entertainment/info/comms system, HDD satnav, internet browser, intelligent bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, neck-level heating, electronic memory packages for both seats, ambient lighting and 18-in wheels.

Design

The new SLK has been heavily restyled around the nose, and picks up some extra jewelry to dress up the new face and interior. If there's not enough bling for your personal taste, the AMG accessories shelves will help you out.

You sit deep in the car, with the cockpit wrapped around you, and there's plenty of luxe to enjoy.

The body has a distinct wedge shape, and the high-ish bootline at least allows for a reasonable luggage capacity for a roadster. Opening the roof – a 20-second job -- cuts the 335 boot capacity down to 225 litres, but that's still enough to fit a suitcase.

Driving

Right from the first tap of the accelerator, the SLK350's V8 opens its throat and promises great things. And it lives up to that promise with prompt throttle response, sharply honed and weighted steering, and the unbeatable combination of a big engine in a little car.

It corners brilliantly, rides smoothly and only tends to get upset when you hit rough bitumen. Patchy surfaces give it a touch of the jitters and the noise intrudes on what is otherwise a fairly quiet cabin – even with the roof down, the deflectors keep wind rush under reasonable control.

You'll need that, because it's dangerously easy to get the SLK350 up to – and well beyond – legal speed limits.

Hairdressers' car? You'll be lucky to find a hairdresser that can ever get your 'do' back in place if you've been out in the SLK350 with the top down. Step this way: two chairs, no waiting.

Pricing guides

$29,890
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$16,000
Highest Price
$43,780

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
SLK300 3.0L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $17,500 – 24,420 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class 2011 SLK300 Pricing and Specs
SLK55 AMG 5.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $33,000 – 43,230 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class 2011 SLK55 AMG Pricing and Specs
SLK350 BE 3.5L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $29,000 – 38,390 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class 2011 SLK350 BE Pricing and Specs
SLK200 Kompressor 1.8L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $16,000 – 22,330 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class 2011 SLK200 Kompressor Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$22,200

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.