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Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class SLK350 2011 Review

Looking for a used Mercedes-Benz?

Buy with confidence; all Mercedes-Benz Certified Pre-Owned vehicles come with a factory backed warranty, 100 point safety check, comprehensive service history and 24hr roadside assistance.

If you are looking for wind-in-your-hair motoring this summer and you've got your eye on the Mercedes-Benz SLK, keep looking. The two-seat roadster is a classy car on a sunny day but it has been engineered to keep all but a light breeze out of the interior. Hit the go pedal and the new 3.5-litre V6 will still ruffle your feathers, though.


The two-seat hardtop plays on the same street as the Porsche Boxster, Audi TTRS and BMW Z4. At $118,900 it sits mid-pack in terms of pricing and performance: it can’t match the Boxster’s back road prowess and isn’t as practical as the TT for everyday transport but is the pick of the crop in terms of comfort. The four-cylinder SLK200 is a relative bargain at $82,900, though that's still $6000 over the entry level BMW Z4 20i.


Cloning the look of the SLS AMG gives the SLK presence inside and out. That wide single-bar grille defines the front end and gives an instant expectation that this car will go hard. The dash is dominated by the aircraft-style chrome air vents, giving the cabin an open feel with the roof up or down.  Boot space is 335 litres with the roof up or 225 when it's down, enough for a pair of mid-sized suitcases packed on their sides.


Sunroofs on convertibles make as much sense as underground solar panels but the SLK350 has two versions, a regular panoramic model and the "Magic Sky control" version. The "magic" system uses crystals embedded in the sunroof that react to an electric current to adjust the amount of light entering the cabin. Here's a tip: fold the roof down. A pair of clear wind deflectors behind the rollover bars can be manually moved to block draughts depending on the angle of the wind. Simple but it works, especially in combination with the Airscrarf vents build into the headrests.


The SLK hasn't been officially crash-tested but a five-star rating will be the only acceptable outcome for Benz. An Attention Assist system alerts drivers if the software detects their concentration is waning and the Pre-Safe software automatically pre-tensions seatbelts and closes the windows if it detects a crash is imminent. If you do hit, no less than six airbags will deploy to protect the occupants.


The SLK is a stealth missile. It sidles up to Aussie-built V8s at the lights, whose drivers dismiss it as a hairdressers' car ... right up to the point where the lights go green and the SLK goes feral. The smooth mechanical purr from direct-injection 3.5-litre V6 pitches into a meaty howl as the seven-speed automatic launches from rest to 100km/h in 5.6 seconds. With the top down, you even get to appreciate it (the hardtop does a credible job of muting outside noise). Fuel use is a low 8.3 litres/100km with CO2 emissions at 194g/km. Steering feel is vague at low speed or in a straight line but the response and weight pick up with pace and turn-in angle. The only thing stopping it from being an outrig ht sports car is our roads, with the top down the Merc faithfully transfers the impact from scarred bitumen into the cabin. It still hangs on with the tenacity of a two-year old, but respect for the passenger should see the pace lowered a little off the freeways.


The SLK350 doesn't have the poise to match its pace, but it's not designed to. If you need to corner like Michael Schumacher, buy the C63. If you want to look good, be looked at and enjoy a cruise without setting speed records, sit in the SLK.


3.5 stars


Price: $118,900
Warranty: Three years/100,000km
Resale: 53 per cent after three years (Glass's Guide)
Safety: Six airbags, Attention Assist, Pre-Safe, stability and traction control, ABS with brake assist and brakeforce distribution
Engine: 3.5-litre V6, 225kW/370Nm
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Economy: 8.3 litres/100km, 194g/km CO2.

Pricing guides

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Range and Specs

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


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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.