Mercedes-Benz SLK has been the go-to “Chick-car” for far too long and when we heard about the redesign coming in 2012, we were not ready to change our mind just yet. Mercedes-Benz accepted the challenge and dropped off a 2012 SLK 350 with a price tag of almost $70,000. Read along to find out if this newly released 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 was able to change our decade long perception.
The SLK is the 3rd Generation of the roadster that started its life back in the day as a 190SL. The real SLK showed up State side in 1997 and the motorized hardtop made immediate friends. It started a wave of wanna-be copy cats who still thank Mercedes-Benz for this innovation.
To be honest, Mercedes-Benz has done an excellent job right off the bat as far as the exterior is concerned. We were actually not sure if the car that just showed up in our driveway was a SL or SLK due to the immense similarities between the two – and that is not a bad thing.
The new front end sits taller compared to the older generation, with the traditional Mercedes-Benz logo sitting in the front. The newly designed squared-look headlights paired with the LED running lights give it a really aggressive look. Due to the size of the car, there is not much you can do on the sides but designers were able to keep the aggressive front-end flowing through the sides all the way to the rear. The door mounted mirrors give it a nice touch and the rear tail lamps have the hint of that previous generation SLK. The $2,500 Sport Package really enhanced the looks with the 18” AMG Wheels.
The SLK comes with three options for the roof: Regular, Tinted Panorama and Opaque Hardtop. Our test vehicle came with the Tinted Panorama option that added $500 to the MSRP. The hardtop can now fold in flat 20 seconds shaving two seconds off the last gen’s time. We really loved the Magic Sky Control system that follows the same concept as the Maybach but implements using a different technology and does the job just fine.
While we were still thinking about how aggressive the exterior was, it was time to step in the SLK. Once seated, we were totally amazed with the room available inside. It looks like a totally different car inside and you are hard pressed to think that you might be in a larger car and not the SLK. Gone are the metallic buttons in favor of new black switches that will still need some getting used- to. Over all the inside is roomy, well laid-out and technologically advanced. The center dash does have the SLS look but it is very simple yet productive. Heavy bolstered sport seats were definitely industry leading and provided the perfect seating for that aggressive driving experience.
Our tester came with the Premium Package ($2,590) and the Multimedia package for an additional $2,150 but added some must have features. iPod Interface, Neck-Level Heating, Harman/Kardon System, Heated Seats, COMAND system with hard drive Navigation, 7.0” High-Resolution LCD Screen with 3D Map Views, Enhanced Voice Control System, 10GB Music Register ,SD Card Slot and SIRIUS Traffic and SIRIUS Weather. The COMAND system really makes the whole experience easy to follow and setup. The steering wheel also comes with its own set of buttons for the voice, audio and navigation controls. Overall, the multimedia system gets a shiny A+ from us.
Our tester came with a 302 Horsepower 3.5 Liter V6 mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters for efficiency and sport driving experience. The engine sounded very aggressive and is capable of providing 0-60 times for about 5.4 seconds. The transmission comes with three shift modes – Manual, ECO and Sport. We actually used the Sport mode most of the time to test the SLK and were truly impressed with the shifts.
So what’s the verdict? Well at $54,800 MSRP and added optional features like Premium Package ($2.590), Lighting Package ($1,070), Multimedia Package ($2,150), Panorama Roof ($500), AIRGUIDE Windstop ($350), Sport Package (2,500) – Our tester was nearing $67.195. On more than one occasion we had general public mistaking this for the SL which was a compliment in itself. We thought that the overall design is very aggressive and 100 times better than the outgoing model. The interior was roomy, well designed and comfortable. The added packages really provided the must have electronics like the iPod integration and multimedia system. So we are not ashamed in admitting that Mercedes-benz was able to change our mind with this newly designed 2012 SLK! It is a Chick-Car nomore!