Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class 280 road test report


The Mercedes SLK is a car that is a strange phenomenon, positioned by the maker as a roadster, it is aimed at sports car enthusiasts. This is fine when you look at the car in isolation but put it in a group of vehicles in the same sector and you feel that this car has been misplaced. We put the SLK through its paces…

Road Test Reports Says3.5 star rating
A front-facing image of the Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class

Image number 2 of the Mercedes-Benz SLK-ClassImage number 3 of the Mercedes-Benz SLK-ClassImage number 4 of the Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class

Performance Performance - 3 stars

As I said above, the SLK is just not a genuine sports car. The feeling you get is wrong, this is not to say it is a bad car, in fact it is a really ‘nice’ car to drive but this is the problem…when was a vehicle aimed at the sports car enthusiast ‘nice’ to drive. Under the bonnet the SLK 280, which we had on test had a 3.0-litre V6 engine with an output of 231bhp. If you drive the SLK 280 with a manual box, you could do the zero to 62mph sprint in 6.3 seconds, opt for the automatic ‘box and the zero to 62mph sprint time will be 6.2 seconds. The top speed of the Mercedes SLK 280 is limited at 155mph.

Ride & Handling Ride & Handling - 3 stars

It does look good but ‘push on’ and you will be disappointed with the SLK. Mercedes has a tendency to over-assist the steering and yes the German maker is guilty of the crime again. Get over this and you will feel that the car feels a bit mushy when ‘driving on’ and the suspension is not set up to our liking. When ‘pushing’ the SLK, it has a tendency to pitch and roll, giving the driver little confidence when turning in. The SLK is therefore no sports car in the divine right, a sports car should have brilliant handling plus awesome power. This car is best on long motorway journeys, it is a tease with its good looks, cruising is where the SLK and this driver were happiest together.

Build Quality & Reliability Build Quality & Reliability - 5 stars

As expected, the quality of the materials is first class. The plastics look expensive and doors shut with a proper thud. No expense has been spared in the build of the Mercedes SLK. The driver is cushioned in leather seats, which hug the body, rather than a sports car it is more like a sports tourer with its well-finished interior. The switchgear and dials are all within easy reach of the driver and they feel and have a look of real quality. The exterior of the car is just as good, the shut lines are very neat. Mercedes Benz MobiloLife offer a warranty package with a three-year mechanical warranty, this includes onward travel provided if a breakdown occurs on a trip. It also includes a 30-year transferable warranty against bodywork corrosion.

Safety & Security Safety & Security - 5 stars

It may be a car aimed at the sports car enthusiast, but the German maker has made this one of the safest cars on the road. The car has roll over protection bars, these should protect the driver and passenger in the event of a roll-over. Mercedes has also installed ABS with Brake Assist, it has also got driver and passenger airbags and driver and passenger head/thorax airbags. This makes the SLK one of the safest cars in its class.

Space & Practicality Space & Practicality - 3 stars

The SLK is a two-seater sports coupe so space is always going to be at a premium. It has a Luggage capacity of 208-litres with the roof down and with it up, the boot space expands to 300-litres of luggage space. However, this car is a topless wonder, getting the roof down is a work of genius. Toggle the switch and the roof comes off and folds away, flick it and the car will become a hard top once again. Don’t worry, even if there is a chill in the air, this car will keep your neck warm. The Airscarf feature is a brilliant innovation, it pumps heat from the vents to the rear of your head and keeps you and your passenger warm while you are topless motoring.

Ownership & Value Ownership & Value - 3 stars

Wait for it…prices for the SLK range start at £28,272 and rise to a whopping £50,757. That’s not it, it is very easy to add to the cost when you are upping your specification. Our SLK 280 test car came in at £40,670 – wow. The figures make for reasonable reading, on the combined cycle, the SLK 280 will return 30.4mpg with a manual gearbox, and with the auto ‘box it will return 31.0mpg, CO2 emissions are 220g/km for the car with the manual and the automatic will emit 216g/km of CO2. Retained values may do really well, but servicing a Mercedes can be an expensive business.

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