By on March 16, 2015

075

The idea of the Mercedes SLK is just two years younger than the idea of the Mercedes SL. Of course, back in 1954 the marketing folks didn’t quite have the clout or imagination they have now, so the original SLK was simply called the 190SL. Like today’s SLK, it was based on small-sedan mechanicals and shared very little with the high-end “Gullwing” 300SL. It also outsold its more glamorous relative about eight to one, mostly to the coasts where it served as respectable fair-weather transport for the well-heeled.

The 190SL extracted 104 horsepower from a 1.9-liter four-cylinder engine. Even by the standards of the day, it was all show and no go — but it was handsome enough and it was also very popular with the right kind of people. The 1.8-liter, 201-horsepower junior variant of the SLK is that car’s natural descendant, so when I found myself at loose ends in Palm Beach this past Saturday, it occurred to me that renting one might be just the ticket for the weekend. Although I have extensive wheel time in the previous two generations of the snub-nose convertible Benz, including a self-funded Nurburgring test day in a second-generation SLK200, I had yet to try out the current model. This would be my chance to see if the SLK is still firmly on the “touring” side of the sport/touring continuum.

085

There are two ways to look at the $50.195 as-tested price of my SLK250, which was distanced from the $44,875 base MSRP by a commendably-optional seven-speed automatic, an 18-inch wheel upgrade, and a Premium Package consisting of heated seats, a Harmon/Kardon sound system, and a few cold-weather options. You could think of it as one of the most expensive four-cylinder cars money can buy, sandwiched between the far more powerful Mustang GT convertible at $41,800 and the far more capable Corvette convertible at $59,000. But to do so is to miss the SLK’s entire reason for being. There are plenty of places in America, such as Palm Beach, where possession of a Mercedes-Benz is a sort of minimum requirement for membership in society. In a world where you can spend thirty-two grand on an Accord and nearly fifty grand on an Accord wearing a “TLX” badge, this SLK250 is a cheap way to get reasonable treatment from the valet.

088

What you won’t get for that money is a particularly upscale interior. There’s a lot of brushed-aluminum trim, but MB-Tex is the standard seating and unless you want to crack open your wallet for one of the many designo upgrades your passenger is unlikely to be terribly impressed by the available accommodations. Luckily there’s a remarkable amount of space between the doors, particularly compared to the previous generations of the SLK. Another inch or two of legroom wouldn’t go amiss but the standard “Panorama” smoked-glass top has plenty of space overhead for me.

091

As a vehicle for bopping between hotels and upscale dinner locations, the little Mercedes-Benz is perfectly satisfactory. The top is snug when it’s up and drops in about thirty seconds. When it’s down, cargo space is significantly restricted but there’s enough room for one rollaway bag. If it will fit in the overhead bin of a regional jet, it will fit in the trunk of an SLK. Don’t expect to fit two of them, however. The climate control would suffice for a much larger car, and the “Logic 7” sound system is worth the modest upcharge. It’s loud enough to be heard with the top down on the freeway, so I dialed up the Miami Vice soundtrack on my phone and went for a late-night ride.

058

Partnered with the standard six-speed manual, this low-pressure turbo is probably just enough motor to push the SLK250 along. With the optional seven-speed, torque-converter automatic, it takes a firm foot to stay ahead of traffic.

083

Left to its own devices, the transmission starts in second in accordance with time-honored M-B practice. It’s slow to get moving but once you’re on way the shifts are quick and, on the 2-3, accompanied by a very race-y ignition cut-and-pop reminiscent of the current GTI. A button on the console can switch to “manual” control from the wheel-mounted paddles, but the delay between request and shift can be as much as a full second. I didn’t waste much time pretending to shift for myself, even though the SLK’s native algorithms have the gearbox reaching for seventh at speeds as low as thirty miles per hour, where the turbo will cheerfully puff the car along at 900rpm or so.

090

As you can see, even with the small engine and the upshift-happy transmission, this is no fuel-economy superstar. Some of this has to be due to the abuse to which rental cars are typically put, but even with some deliberate throttle moderation on my part I could only manage to record 23.6mpg over 100 miles of relaxed driving. My Boxster beats that easily with a 3.2-liter, 264-horsepower flat six, and I’m willing to bet that the SLK350, with its 302-horsepower V-6, can beat it as well. Couple that with the unpleasant diesel rattle the direct-injected four emits at idle, and it becomes rather easy to make the case for the 3.5-liter model, even at a nine-thousand-dollar markup. The big-league power would be just the icing on the cake.

Nine years ago, I managed to get this car’s predecessor, a Euro-market, 163-horsepower, auto-transmission, SLK200, around the Nurburgring in 9:19 on my seventh-ever lap. (That’s what they call a bridge-to-gantry time, by the way; it was an open day.) In my opinion, that SLK was a very usable mix of handling and ride quality, better in that respect for nearly every potential customer than what you got with a Boxster or Z4. This current SLK tilts the balance farther in the direction of comfort, perhaps to the car’s detriment. The steering possesses zero feel or feedback, substituting a silken heaviness that probably communicates “sport” very well to the average Escalade owner but doesn’t exactly inspire me to attack an on-ramp. Even significant potholes are swallowed by the supple chassis and the stiff bodyshell, which makes me think that it would be possible to put in a little spring rate and maybe connect the steering to the front wheels a little better. As it is, you won’t want to take this Benz to a racetrack. It’s as biased towards comfort as the current SL has become, and it feels both larger and more inert than any previous SLK.

076

It’s tempting to become frustrated with the SLK250, because even today Mercedes-Benz knows how to build brilliant sporting automobiles. If you don’t believe me, spend a day with an SLS Black Series and see if you don’t prefer it to nearly everything else for sale at any price. The nice people at M-B know how to make an SLK that stirs the emotions. They just chose not to do it. Instead, for your fifty thousand dollars you get a very faithful tribute to the original 190SL. It’s stylish enough, it’s comfortable enough, and it will get you parked near the front of your hotel even when there’s a Ferrari FF and a Rolls-Royce Ghost in the lot as well. What it isn’t — fast, capable, brilliant to drive — doesn’t matter much to the vast majority of the people who will buy one. Most TTACers would be better-served with the Boxster, even in its current wide-body form, but if you want the same things that the buyers of the original 190SL wanted, this is the only way you’ll get it.

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82 Comments on “Review: 2015 Mercedes SLK250...”


  • avatar
    deanst

    Isn’t this the last mercedes available with a manual transmission?

  • avatar
    VW16v

    In other words. A car for chicks and retired wealthy folk.

  • avatar

    SIXT rental? Wait – a ’15MY car with seventy-million miles? Must be Hertz.

    Interesting note – pulling a CARFAX or AutoCheck for even a 6-9 year-old SLK will likely reveal almost as many previous owners as the typical SLK purchaser (not registrant) has women on the side. These seem to be frequently obtained as Christmas surprises for the special lady(ies) in a gentleman’s life only to be cast aside to AutoTrader when the penalties of using one as a daily driver become painfully obvious.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      It’s a Hertz – the NeverLost navigation is staring you down in the third picture.

      Speak of which, do people that frequently rent cars use those things instead of using a phone? Every time I’m in a Hertz rental those things are buzzing in their mount, driving me crazy.

    • 0 avatar
      rocketrodeo

      “… only to be cast aside to AutoTrader when the penalties of using one as a daily driver become painfully obvious.”

      I see what you did there.

  • avatar
    jvossman

    Perfect car for the island….assuming your trip was work, any more articles forthcoming?

  • avatar
    319583076

    2015 Mercedes SLK250 – the car that confused Jesus.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    There really are two carmakers called “Mercedes” now – the one that builds magnificent cars like the aforementioned SLS, the S-class sedan, and the SL convertible, and the other that builds weak stuff like this, and the CLA.

    • 0 avatar
      kmoney

      Agreed. I think all of the luxury marques split into the nice stuff and everything else model around the turn of the millennium.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        To an extent. But the dichotomy between the “base” Mercedes models and the higher-end stuff is incredibly pronounced – partially because the upper-end stuff pushes six figures (or more), and Mercedes knows how to deliver the goods at that price point better than just about anyone. They probably make the best high-end models in the industry, period. It’s just that the lower-end stuff is markedly lower-quality by comparison, which is probably unavoidable. Put a CLA next to an S-c;lass, and all the sudden the brand looks awfully cynical.

        I think the C-class may be a harbinger of something different, though – it, too, seemed cheap compared to the competition in its last iteration, but not anymore.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          Remember that Mercedes-Benz has also *always* sold Munich taxicabs and delivery vans, and has for a long time made road tractors.

          They just never sold them in North America.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    This car is from before Mercedes got religion on interiors. The next one may not be any better to drive, but it’s pretty much guaranteed to have the best interior in the class. See the new C-class and AMG GT as examples of what to expect.

    Aside from the uber tech gauge cluster, the new Audi TT on the other hand seems to be very NOT special on the inside, even in TT-S guise. Audi has definitely lost their interior quality crown to M-B.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    “Most TTACers would be better-served with the Boxster”

    Yes, because most TTACers look at 2-seat roadsters as “sports cars” and the Boxster is a sports car. However, most SL (and Z4 and TT and whatever else) customers look at the 2-seat roadsters as top-down in-town urban runabouts, where the skills of a Boxster are wasted. An SLK makes a perfectly good choice if you mostly drive between the gym, the spa, and the mall.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I sincerely hope most TTACers (as long as they’re not too tall or broad of beam) would prefer a Miata.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        Too slow, sorry. If your budget only extends to $2500 or $5k, I get the Miata love, but once you pass $10k there are just too many other good choices (S2000, Z3, C5 Corvette, Boxster, etc) that can get out of their own way.

        • 0 avatar
          319583076

          You’re insufferable.

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          The Miata has absolutely no problem getting out of it’s own way. It also feels faster than it is. Just what you want for a fun car. I like the S2000, but had a very hard time finding one in the 10K range. The ones I did find were all “stanced” and I’m not paying 10K for a car that has been destroyed by it’s previous owner.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            Okay, $12k, or $15k. I dunno.

            My problem with the Miata is that I live in Chicagoland, where there are almost no good sports car roads, and all our traffic is 45mph surface streets and 55mph (really 75mph) 4 lane highways. Neither of those make a fun environment for a Miata. In reality, they ain’t even great for an S2000; if I was smart I’d have bought a C5 or a Mustang GT instead, but I didn’t always want a C5 or Mustang GT, I always wanted an S2000, so that’s what I got.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @S2KChris

            Some of us live in places that don’t suck, thus low-powered roadsters are a lot of fun. I prefer my Spitfire to a Miata, even though it makes a Miata feel like a top-fuel dragster.

            I went to law school just outside Chicagoland, so I feel your pain living in that automotive suckfest. I’d rather drive in metro NYC than Chicago, at least the parkways can be fun there.

        • 0 avatar
          05lgt

          In southern Florida the Miata isn’t slow, it’s somewhere between a kids car and cheap. Jack says he got favorable parking treatment with 4 cylinders, so I’m assuming it was lunch. Dinner time the big boys come out, and the cylinder count on even a new drop top MB must be 8 or 12 for notice to be taken.

          I’d be ignored. Based on experience in other peoples status garnering cars I’m happier to keep a lower profile. Maybe if it was mine and legitimate I would like it, not likely to find out though.

  • avatar
    jmo

    “Even significant potholes are swallowed by the supple chassis and the stiff bodyshell”

    How terrible. It’s a shame then could stiffen the whole thing up and slap some ultra low profile tires on it so it can crash and shudder over the slightest imperfection. Who cares if it’s impossible to live with when you you might track it once a… well never.

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    Nice review, I liked the tie in with the 190 SL. This seems like a nice enough car, and very much a modern 190 SL.

    “You could think of it as one of the most expensive four-cylinder cars money can buy, sandwiched between the far more powerful Mustang GT convertible at $41,800 and the far more capable Corvette convertible at $59,000.”

    At one time the material and build quality of the Benz would have been a solid step up from the mass market marques, so that even if the Benz lagged in features and power you were getting something more than just a valet approved badge. Is that still the case here?

    It seems to me that the material and build quality of mainstream brands has improved, and at the same time the entry level models from the premium brands has slipped, so the differences aren’t as obvious as they once were.

  • avatar
    7402

    “SLK250 is a cheap way to get reasonable treatment from the valet”

    Having been a valet at an upscale restaurant back in the day, I can assert this is not true. Valet’s will quickly assess this vehicle as a trophy-wife car, and trophy wives don’t tip well if at all.

    If you want a valet to respect *you* provide a generous tip when you drop the car off. At that point you may ask that it be left out front, that you park it yourself and they please not touch it, or whatever. Don’t kid yourself, this is easily $20 and if you’re a repeat customer throw the valet another $20 when you pick it up. This valet-customer “respect” really is about the money.

    If you want the valet to respect *your car*, stick with the very high end of the model range of any sports or luxury car marque. No valet is fooled by an SLK because they have parked the SLs. 3-series BMW, no respect unless it’s an M3. Porsche Boxster, uh, no, it needs to be a 911. An awful lot of valets are car guys and a vintage selection that hits the sweet spot only the cognoscenti will appreciate is always deemed worthy.

    Valets drive everything, though not very far (obligatory hat tip to the Ferris Bueller valets….), and they know that all cars back up pretty much the same. A car with a tight turning circle is a bonus.

    And, yeah, former valets will NEVER let a valet park a car they value.

    • 0 avatar

      So, slipping the valet a fin while handing him the keys to my ’76 LeSabre and remarking how I’ve counted the change in the ashtray won’t earn me any favors?

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      I wouldn’t tip a valet $40 if he blew me.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      I have to pay them to not touch my car? That’s outrageous.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      I valeted at a Bahama Breeze on the Main Line (PA) in college, and even at that type of plebian restaurant you quickly become jaded to where anything under $100k is just another car, unless it’s the first/second time you’re seeing something (the first time you see the new Camaro or Mustang is cool, but that only lasts 2-3 days). After that, they’re all just cars unless it’s pretty far out of the mainstream or an older classic or something. Even the full-boat MB SL barely got an eyebrow raise, nevermind an SLK. The only cars I remember getting us really going were a Dodge Viper and an MB G500 (this back in 2004 when they were still rare). We didn’t get the real exotica (f-cars, lambos, rollers) but we saw enough 996 Carreras and Jag XK8s and MB SLs that we didn’t really care enough to do anything other than park and get back to whatever discussion we were having in the valet shack.

      And BTW, new 3-series/C-Class/A4 drivers were always the worst tippers. $1-2 at the most.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        lol @ Bahama Breeze. Total scrap food.

        I think the one in Troy, Michigan was shut down a long time ago.

        lol even louder at thought of players trying to impress anyone by going to eat @ Bahama Breeze in any vehicle.

        So many people are so incredibly imbecilic, and this is goooood, as it creates arbitrage opportunity.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          I never liked their menu. I worked there because it opened right when I was looking for a job, and like any new restaurant, it was pretty popular for 3 months, so there was lots of money to be made valeting for people eager to wait 2 hours to eat some crappy jerk chicken.

          After 3 months, the newness wore off, the lines went away, and the valet opportunities all but dried up, except for old people who didn’t want to walk 50′ to the door. Forunately, that was right about the time I graduated and got a real job anyways, so it was fun while it lasted.

          I don’t think anyone was trying to “impress” anyone else, it was just typical urban sprawl in King of Prussia, where there was limited parking by the out lot the restaurant was on, so most people didn’t want to park 1/4 mile away at the big empty Lockheed Martin lot. I got a lot of good exercise running back and forth.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            To be clear, I wasn’t faulting you (I worked crappy jobs, too), but that restaurant chain, only.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Huh, I’ve eaten at that one in KoP a few times. I like the Tortilla Soup. I usually stay at that HI Express nearby when I am in that area for work.

            A chain restaurant, but at least one we don’t have in Maine so something a little different. I would never call myself a foodie anyway.

        • 0 avatar
          05lgt

          Xkcd fan, huh?

      • 0 avatar
        badreligion702

        Since when is $2 to park a car considered low? I typically tip $3 unless I am low on singles(then it is a $5), and for the 2-5 minutes of work you are doing, that is not bad, but it is not like $2 is terrible either.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          Since forever? I dunno, when I was parking cars 10 years ago, $5 was standard, $6-10 was generous, $20 was outstanding, and $1-2 was “you’re a cheapass”.

          This was at a place with complementary valet; all bets are off if you’re parking somewhere with $5 or $10 valet service. But if you’re too cheap to throw $5 at a guy to park your car, park your own car (actually, retrieve your car, everyone I’ve ever met pays when they pick up, and gives nothing on the front end, with very rare exception).

          • 0 avatar
            badreligion702

            I live in Vegas and have valet parked since I was 16. I have never seen anyone pay that much for complimentary valet. The people parking at hotel’s park between 20-40 cars an hour, so I guess that is where the difference lies, as they are still making huge money plus their base pay even if they average $1 per car.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I went to two high-end hotels and two expensive restaurants this weekend and in all four cases the SLK was sitting up front when I came out.

      YMMV.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      I was going to say I never valet. Ever. If someplace is all valet, I still park it myself. You’ll get over it.

      Houston has a bad habit of valet services bum-rushing the bars etc, putting cones all over the available spots in the venue parking lot.

      Not happening sparky.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    The interior of this piece of trash is so cheaply finished & tasteless (worse than a $16,000 Hyundai Elantra in terms of gauges & overall aesthetics – look at that plastic rimjob around the gauges or those plastic-tacular vents) that it makes me want to do reverse neutral slams with this vehicle until I smash the giant plastic-chrome tristar on the hood through the front glass of M-B’s North American HQ lobby, and then pull my pants down & defecate on the front passenger seat with a note that reads “return to manufacturer with respect warranted.”

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      Gently put down any sharp objects and slowly back away from the keyboard. The nice man with the straightjacket will be there shortly and everything will be fine.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        The wussification, feminization & de-testosteronization of the western male continues unabated, where those with strong (and strongly expressed opinions), even (healthily) crossing into p!ss & vinegar (often warranted fully), is somehow deemed abnormal.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          “those with strong (and strongly expressed opinions), even (healthily) crossing into p!ss & vinegar (often warranted fully), is somehow deemed abnormal.”

          No, the problem is A) you fly off the handle way too often to where it doesn’t have any effect any more, and B) your vitriol is over minutae.

          Are you really THAT passionate about the interior of a MB that you don’t own and aren’t going to buy that you need to crap in it and smash it into a building? Really? That says more about you than about the Merc.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Sometimes overpriced garbage deserves such treatment, thusly – a person with passion and good taste and sensibility destroying its (probably made in China) transmission while hunching over the driver’s seat & defecating.

            Bring back The Rat Pack & Pax Americana, damnit!

            The estrogen in your words is like nails on a chalkboard!

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I guess I forgot that you have to throw yourself into rants like this to be a real man.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Put that pinky finger down and head on down to Cadillac’s red tag sale.

            With prices this low on leftover 2014 (and even 2013) ATSs & CTSs, you’d be crazy not to drive away in a new Clatter-lac!

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            And I guess forgot whether you’re a real man or not depends on whether you get a deal on a Caddy or not.

            Keep it coming, DW…get your money’s worth out of that tinfoil hat!

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I saw a tatted Caddy salesman with an ATS FOB in his hand
            Walkin’ through a channel stuffed Soho dealer lot in the rain
            He was lookin’ for a laydown who called earlier named Lee Ho Fooks
            Gonna get a big dish of GM cash on the hood from Johan

            Aaahoo! Lot lizards of Johan
            Aaahoo!
            Aaahoo! Lot lizards of Johan
            Aaahoo!

        • 0 avatar
          VW16v

          Be careful the nanny troll’s will attack at any moment.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Just for clarity, I never attack anyone on the basis of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, religion, etc.

            It’s not just that it’s not socially acceptable to do so, but I really am not that type of person, really striving instead to judge people on their individual beliefs, and more importantly, their actions.

            If anything, I could probably be fairly accused/labeled as being a “culturalist” in the sense that certain cultures tend to lead members to poor life choices, IMO, and a warped ethical paradigm.

            But that’s neither here nor there (e.g. – whether I think school truancy, pants falling down & hard core rap music are destructive cultural influences).

            My comments earlier relate to & express my firm belief that we now live in a society where holding and expressing strong opinions, regardless as to whether there’s an objective criteria by which to determine their “truthiness” (that’s complicated), is nearly universally frowned upon.

            Everyone gets a trophy! (except for the those who are actually passionate), it seems.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Didn’t know you had to be a ranting clown to be passionate.

            Passion:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-kA3UtBj4M

            Ranting:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ug8KPpai5Fo

            Guess you just have to decide how to put your point across. But I bet you Dre would never call Marvin Gaye’s masculinity into question, though.

            Then again, Dre was never into trolling.

          • 0 avatar
            VW16v

            I thought this was an auto site. Well, before reading some of the posts.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      You want strong, vitriolic opinions? Back the fuck off MB, off any manufacturer really – there’s far too many people with a little bit of money (or the trendsetters of nebulous merit they aspire to be) with just awful taste, and the all consuming desire to prove they’re important! and they have money and deserve your respect, admiration, or envy!

      Your problem is with the buyers, it’s just sensible business to appeal to them. That said, you’d have to be a little insane to think a Hyundai Elantra is all that tasteful.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Reminds me of the GLK I test drove in December.

      Blinded by the glare of the sun off the *speedometer* surround.

      Took that right off the list of contenders; gauges need to be legible, guys.

      (And the what seemed like 3/4 of an inch of chrome around the vents.

      Plainly I am not the target market for the GLK.

      Zero regrets on the XC-70.)

      • 0 avatar
        VW16v

        It also reminds me of my dads old Pontiac Vibe. Besides the gocart like brakes, card board headliner, the damn crome rings around the speedometer would give me seizures in the Florida sun. So damn annoying, I would tape paper up against the rings. I’d rather have a speeding ticket then crash the car or get a 3 hour headache.

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          I have very light-sensitive eyes; nearly everything I test drove on my new-car quest in 2012-2013 drove me nuts with the reflections and glare. Even on the Outback I’ve had to put a tasteful (lol) piece of leather on the console to prevent glare from the silver/gray shift surroundings.

          I’m glad they went back to black on the ’15 new model.

  • avatar
    hf_auto

    MB-Tex may not have the prestige of leather, but it is absolutely a superior material.

    A few years ago I was lead engineer for seating at an OEM and spent a significant amount of time doing material selection for top goods. Good polyurethanes (MB-Tex and Ultraleather being two premium examples) embarrass leather in terms of durability and breathability. Most customers we surveyed actually preferred the feel of some polyurethanes to genuine leather. Despite all that, leather has the brand recognition and outsells the polyurethane “because it’s leather.” Sigh.

    I just bought an E350 two weeks ago, fully loaded with every option (4Matic, Premium 2 package, designo paint, panoramic roof, wood steering wheel, massage seats) and **MB-Tex**.

    • 0 avatar
      Davekaybsc

      There are many different grades of leather, and they all vary in durability and feel. My old Audi A6 had what they called “cricket leather” that was a nice middle ground. It didn’t feel like complete crap like cheap Honda leather, but at 10 years old it still looked pretty fresh, and I never bothered to use expensive (or any) leather treatment products on it. Audi Allroads came with their top Nappa leather which was softer and definitely had a nicer feel, but is far less durable.

      In the UK you can order most Audis with several different seat options and leather types, but in the US they tend to just stick us with the cheapest base option, even in “prestige” trim.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    You were reliving the scene in the pilot episode on A1A, right? Minus running red lights at high speed and a black guy riding shotgun with a shotgun? Or no?

    youtube.com/watch?v=-aMCzRj3Syg

  • avatar
    ccp

    With the proliferation of 4 cylinder “entry” luxury/sporty models, would be interesting to see how this compares with similar cars this size and powered (albeit in different price ranges). particularly interested in your impression of a 228i msport or THP-equipped coupe….it’s about the same weight but rated 40 more hp and probably lot more torque.

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      I’d have to believe that for most SLK buyers, the more practical and torquier 228 convertible (or the new A3 convertible) would be a more satisfying choice. On the other hand, I know three people who have an SLK and *all* *three* refer to it as “my sports car.” So there you go.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Oddly, you can’t get a power driver seat on the new A3 convertible. True story. Something to do with the rush to get the model here and certification (that’s what the salesman said). Maybe for ’16. My buddy was crestfallen, as it’s time to replace his 9-3 convertible.

        BTW Jack, you going full hippie?

  • avatar
    Vojta Dobeš

    It needs diesel. I rarely say that, and the idea of diesel engine in a roadster may sound stupid, but my business partner has an SLK200 CDI in fairly good spec and it’s a great car. Comfortable enough to server as a daily driver, if you don’t need to carry more than one other person/have another car availablee. Quick enough for all practical purposes. Quite nice inside, after all the extra money spent on it.

    And gets 30mpg with his driving style (which is similar to that of a car thief). 40mpg when driven like a sane person.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    My wife and I had ’00 Limited Edition, black/ 2 tone interior bought used w/ 5 spoke polished 18inch wheels. It didn’t bother me that they didn’t offer a manual (only the later V6s offered), as I had my s/c’d e36 project at the time.It was a nice tourer. Excellent seats, stereo and build quality. I autocrossed it a few times, and with the lighter engine in front, pretty good turn-in. Not a single problem. Ultimately kiddos came around and we traded it on a G35x. I still peak at SLK 55 prices every now and then.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    It’s kind of alarming how low-tech and cheap the interior looks compared to my Sonata. And it’s not even that much faster!

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Why the bitter disappointment? It’s just a German Chevy. Not like it’s a “luxury car” in intent.

      • 0 avatar
        PeriSoft

        I’m surprised, not disappointed; I’m the one driving the Sonata! I might be disappointed if I’d spent triple the coin for the same thing, though. Plus, the Sonata isn’t a luxury car in intent either, but aside from the badge, it would appear to have the upper hand – at least from photos.

  • avatar
    Carzzi

    Two faux-exhaust tips on the 250-spec? The temerity. The gall. The opprobrium. Last-gen C250’s had a caste-appropriate single, poverty-indicative outlet. Sheesh. Reminds me of the transgression Ford committed with the 2011 Mustang hairdresser-spec V6 gaining a second tip. Base engines for the hoi-polloi should always, always, be relegated to hidden vespa-sized, deferentially-downward-angled tips, subdued under the bumper skirt. There ought to be a law (or an executive order, as is the flavour these days).

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    One of the items that get’s lost in comparisons of the “value proposition” of a car like this vs mainstream competition is when you buy a premium brand car, you’re not just buying the badge snob factor, but also (typically) premium service from the dealer. The local Lexus dealer will pick up your car and drop off the service laoaner within an 8 mile radius of the dealership. The BMW dealer has a free cafe with food and coffee. The Infiniti dealer used to have a putting green. The Volvo dealer will give you a service loaner if you bought the car from them, whether or not it’s under still under warranty. One of our local Fiat dealers (the one I bought my Abarth from) also offers some concierge style services to anyone who buys a car from them. They have complimentary espresso and coffee, lifetime complimentary car washes, complimentary loaner cars, free wifi, and courtesy rides to areas around the dealership. I admit that in one month, I’m already spoiled. People who can afford cars like this are used to similar levels of service in other areas of their life, so they’ll probably favor the same sort of experience with their cars. If you don’t care about the performance of the car and just want a convertible, wouldn’t you rather get Mercedes customer service and amenities vs Ford or Chevrolet?

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