- Head turning good looks
- AMG model is blisteringly quick
- Excellent interior
- Insurance is expensive
- Not as fun to drive as rivals
- Expensive when new
Since it’s introduction in 1996, the Mercedes SLK has consistently been one of the best luxury compact roadsters on the market. Combining top-down fun, exceptional handling, and powerful engines has proved to be a winning combination for Mercedes. In direct competition with the Porsche Boxster, the SLK offers that little extra touch of luxury that has kept customers returning again and again to the Mercedes. When the sun’s out, there’s not many cars we’d rather be tearing through country roads in.
Since it’s update in 2011, the SLK is bigger, better looking, and even better to drive than its predecessor.
Exceptional interior with much improved aluminum finish
One place where the SLK really excels is in its interior. Since it’s recent update, gone are the tacky fake carbon-fibre finishes found on older models, in is classy aluminium.
The new and improved dashboard on the SLK is a brilliant combination of soft touch plastics and brushed aluminium, inspired by the much pricier SLS. Controls are easy to use, and have a solid feel to them, making the dash of the SLK as functional as it is aesthetically pleasing. The Airglide system found on the SLK is equally as brilliant, annoyingly however, it is only available as an optional extra, and doesn’t feature as standard throughout the range.
One area that probably isn’t going to be of great importance when buying a compact roadster like the SLK, is boot space. Whilst there’s more room than in a BMW Z4, there still isn’t enough room for suitcases. There’s even less room when the room is down as well, but there’s at least enough room for a picnic hamper or a budget airline sized travel bag. There’s also quite a few nooks and crannies in the cabin to store small items.
Equipment levels as standard on the SLK are pretty decent, without being outstanding. Only the most basic model comes without aircon, and all cars come with the usual gizmos you’d expect in a Mercedes. The fantastic fold-down roof obviously comes as standard as well, though some people may be tempted to upgrade to the Magic Sky Control, for the name alone.
The interior of the SLK is a great place to find yourself in, either top-down, or covered up. There’s pretty good standard kit, but the list of optional extras might be too much of a temptation for some to turn down.
Much improved in latest model, still not a match for the Porsche Boxster
One area that the SLK has always struggled with has been its handling. Whilst it’s always been decent on the long straight roads, for some reason it’s always felt uncomfortable whilst flying through B-roads. Not to mention the fact that its main rival is a bona-fide fun machine. The latest model does improve in these areas, without really excelling. There is still quite a lot of body roll through the corners, and whilst the ride is impeccably comfortable (as you’d expect from a Mercedes), it’s still nowhere near as fun or responsive as either a BMW Z4 or a Porsche Boxster.
There are two gearbox options on the SLK, with a 6-speed manual transmission, which is found on SLK 200, and SLK 250 models, and a 7-speed automatic gearbox found on the SLK 250 CDI, SLK 350, and AMG models. Both gearboxes are decent without being spectacular, and 7 speed auto has its fair share of frustrating down, and upshifts, especially when you’re trying to hang the tail out through the corners.
A decent range of engines to power your pocket rocket here
When it comes to powering your SLK, you’ve got the usual two options, petrol, or diesel. There’s no electric or hybrid option here, but this is a sports car, so it’s to be expected.
For the real petrolheads out there, Mercedes offers us the astonishingly quick SLK 55 AMG model. Packing 421bhp into such a tiny package will catapult you from 0-62mph in just 4.6 seconds. In a car this small, and with the roof down, that’s going to feel rapid. It might not be the most environmentally friendly or economical model in the range, but then this is a sports car after all.
For those who are eco-friendly, the SLK 250d is surprisingly efficient for a sports car. Producing 114g/km might not be the best of figures, but in reality, for a roadster, this is staggeringly low, and won’t cost you too much in road tax. It’s also the most economical, making this the complete money-saving package. Amazingly, you can get 70.6mpg out of it, and it’ll still get you from 0-62mph in just 6.6 seconds. Madness.
Whichever engine choice you go for in your SLK, it’s going to have enough oomph to put a massive grin on your face, without draining your pockets too much.
Impressive standard safety kit
Mercedes is one of the leading lights when it comes to car safety, going by the motto “the best or nothing”. This ethos shines through when considering the standard safety kit that the SLK comes with. Four airbags, attention assist, and adaptive braking come with all models. There’s also the option of Pre-Safe braking, and Distronic Plus proximity control, which both make the SLK even safer.
Expensive to buy new, surprisingly cheap to run
For a sports car, the SLK is exceptionally cheap to run, especially in terms of fuel efficiency. This obviously depends upon which engine choice you go for (the SLK 55 AMG is very thirsty indeed), but most models stack up to be pretty reasonable. The cheapest model in the range in terms of fuel consumption is the aforementioned SLK 250d. Even the 250 CDI manages 56.5mpg. These aren’t thirsty cars. Road tax wise they’re not too bad either, with only the AMG model again breaking synch.
When it comes to insuring your SLK, you’d expect to pay quite a fair bit, what with it being a performance road car. Unsurprisingly, insurance costs are indeed high, with the cheapest model in the range coming in at group 41, and ending with group 48 for the 55 AMG. This may be an issue for some, but for most people who are looking to purchase a performance car, this is only to be expected.
Depreciation is a huge factor to consider with the SLK. Initial off-the-court costs are quite expensive, but used cars can actually be pretty reasonable. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Mercedes SLK is a best seller within its class and there’s little wonder why. This is one of the most complete executive compact saloons on sale within the UK today. With engine and specification models suited to everyone, it’s sure to be a favourite for years to come.
Buying a used Mercedes SLK online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Mercedes for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used SLK. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Mercedes SLK online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Mercedes? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Mercedes SLK, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used SLK, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Mercedes to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st year depreciation cost of 40%.