Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class SLK200 BlueEFFICIENCY 7G-Tronic Review
Baby bloom

Story by Mark Yeo Photos by Yang and Raymond Lai
12 Nov 2011
 

Mercedes’ baby roadster model has bloomed into something that looks more masculine than ever. We check out the new gen SLK in base SLK200 form.

Introduction, styling

At first sight, the first generation SLK, launched in 1996 had all it takes to be a desirable roadster. It has got a body that echoes Mercedes’ old Millie Miglia race cars and that metal folding roof was a novelty at that time. Look beyond the styling and the roof though and the SLK reveals its faults – the engines were rough and gruff and the steering was long winded and way too slow in its responses – a fun drivers’ car it simply isn’t.

The second gen SLK, introduced in 2004, was a whole different animal. Its handling capabilities are just so different and so much better than its predecessor’s while the engines offered more power and refinement. The second gen SLK though, somehow still looked a tad feminine and too soft on the outside despite its F1-inspired snout.

With the latest, third generation model, Mercedes seemed to have made amends with the older SLKs’ slightly feminine looks with a more masculine and aggressive looking roadster. Compared to its predecessor, the latest SLK is more generously proportioned as well. The latest car is characterised by its SLS AMG style nose which gives it a distinctive and sporty snout even though we somewhat dislike the twin chrome rings around the fog lamp surrounds on the SLK200 variant tested here.

The latest SLK’s more masculine looks are courtesy of the relatively long bonnet and slightly edgier rear when compared to its predecessor’s. Other notable features include the vents on the front fenders, shapely wing mirrors and LED tail lamps. For those who still think that the SLK is still not sporty enough, the AMG kitted SLK350 or SLK55 AMG model will definitely make you think otherwise.

Despite its new sportier and more aggressive clothes, the latest model is instantly recognisable as a Mercedes roadster model. The SLK200 CGI BlueEfficiency model tested here can be differentiated from the V6 SLK350 model by the lack of the AMG exterior styling pack as well as the badges on the boot lid and its smaller, 17-inch alloy wheels.

One of the SLK’s biggest draws is obviously its metal folding roof. At the touch of a button, the SLK’s Vario-roof takes less than 20 seconds to convert it from a hardtop coupe into an open top roadster. Just like its SL big brother, the SLK features a roof with a swivel-mounted glass rear window. This design allows the roof to be more compact when folded away in the boot, thus freeing up luggage space. The security advantages of a metal top are obvious – there’s better sound deadening and no more fear of the roof getting slashed by jealous hands.


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Engine

Engine Capacity 1796cc Supercharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 9.5:1
Bore x Stroke (82.0 x 85.0)mm
Power 184bhp @ 5500rpm
Torque 250Nm @ 2800rpm
Power to Weight 132.4 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 7.9s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 232 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 14.1 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 7 -speed 7G-TRONIC
Drive Type R4

Measurements

Body Type Cabriolet
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4103 x 1777 x 1296) mm
Wheelbase 2430 mm
Turning Circle 5.25 metres
Kerb Weight 1390 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 70 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs