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Smooth as silk: Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz has done a stellar job of updating the looks of its compact sports car. The protruding front grille gives it tremendous character.

india Updated: Oct 15, 2011 00:46 IST
Ameya Dandekar

Mercedes-Benz has done a stellar job of updating the looks of its compact sports car. The protruding front grille gives it tremendous character.

The pert boot and larger tail-lights are perfectly integrated, and the presence of the new beaky nose means it has that much-sought-after long bonnet.
With the same 3.5-litre motor from the S350, this engine has been tuned to be more responsive and powerful. Every jab at the throttle results in a satisfying surge. It’s quick too; with 305bhp on tap, the 0-100kph time of 6.48 seconds is quick enough to match competition like the BMW Z4 and Nissan 370Z.

The SLK stays quick beyond the 100kph mark all the way towards its 250kph speed-limit. The engine spins freely, elasticity is good and the motor pulls cleanly all the way to the redline. The top end is not ballistic, but the fantastic mid-range more than makes up for it. The speed of 180kph has a tendency to sneak up on you and, if you still don’t pay attention, sliding past 220kph is quite effortless too.

Unlike one of Merc’s typical relaxed gearboxes, the SLK’s is obedient and responsive.

Great around corners
This two-seater is quite stiffly sprung too, thanks to which the new SLK has plenty of grip around corners. Body roll is well contained, and the car feels comfortable when cornered hard. It doesn’t encourage you to drive hard, the steering lacks precision, and the wheel is so well insulated from the road that there’s precious little feel.

The interiors are typical Merc — solid and full of quality bits. Sit in the cockpit and you are met with brushed aluminium and leather, comfortable and large seats and a cleanly designed dash.

Mercedes-Benz
SLK 350
Price: R 61.9 lakh
(ex-showroom, Delhi)
L/W/H: 4,134/1,810/1,301mm
Wheelbase: 2,430mm
Engine: 6-cyls in-Vee,
3,498cc, petrol
Installation: Front
longitudinal, RWD
Power: 305bhp at 6,500rpm
Torque: 37.72kgm at
1,500-4,500rpm
Gearbox: 7-speed auto
Kerb weight: 1,540kg
Tank capacity: 60 litres