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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class

Overview
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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.9

The original Mercedes-Benz SLK was a big hit, largely on the basis of its retractable hardtop roof, something the auto industry hadn't seen since the Ford Skyliner of the 1950s. Each successive version of the SLK has been given a more serious edge, and this time around a new V6 engine and muscular styling make the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK the most aggressive SLK ever. At the same time, the SLK seems less of a pure sports car than the Porsche Boxster, but many SLK buyers will simply say, "Who cares?"

You'll Like This Car If...

If part of your self-description includes driving the best-looking convertible of the season with the richest looking interior, then it'll be easy to see yourself in the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you play basketball or first base for a living, or if you've done time as a shopaholic (you need to carry a lot of stuff in your car), then why are you even considering a 2-seat convertible whose hardtop folds into the trunkspace?

What's New for 2012

The Mercedes-Benz SLK350 is all-new and much improved for the 2012 model year. In February, 2012, Mercedes will be adding the turbocharged 4-cylinder SLK250 at the bottom of the lineup, and the SLK55 AMG model at the top, and more performance and sophisticated style throughout.

Driving the SLK-Class

Driving Impressions Mercedes-Benz has worked hard to build sports car credibility into the new SLK, which is the third generation of the car. Each edition of the SLK has upped the performance...

ante as Mercedes-Benz engineers try to put to rest the longstanding notion that the SLK is more a personal-luxury car than a sports car. Certainly the SLK has all the slick moves of a performance machine with outstanding acceleration, confident roadholding and taut, responsive steering. And we were impressed with the SLK's overall handling. Thanks to its well-tuned suspension and substantial tires on 18-inch wheels, the cornering stick and stability were impressive.

The Iconic Retractable Hardtop
Since the SLK started the retractable hardtop craze with its first-generation model, you can bet that Mercedes-Benz engineers were challenged to top themselves in this version, and they've done just that. Buyers can select from three different power-operated roofs - standard is body-colored polycarbonate, optional is a panorama roof of tinted see-through polycarbonate and the one that'll get your neighbors talking is the Magic Sky Control roof whose transparency you control electrically. Electric current motivates nano particles in the roof to align uniformly allowing light to pass through. When the current is off they disperse randomly like slackers tinting the panel.

AIRSCARF & Air Guides
In a bid to make top-down driving in the SLK a more pleasant experience in cooler weather, M-B engineers designed the AIRSCARF system that literally blows warm air on your neck as you drive. That system is accompanied by Air Guides that help manage the airflow into the cabin, another effort to keep you toasty when topless.

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Details
Interior

While the 2012 SLK might not be as pure a sports car as some of its competitors, that has a positive payoff when it comes to comfort and convenience. The SLK bathes you in the warm milk of a luscious interior that is Mercedes-Benz deluxe in every way. One highlight is the thick-section, 3-spoke steering wheel that is flat-bottomed to help clear your thighs. The main gauges are two big analog circles that flank a screen that displays a wide variety of driver-selectable information. The console features a pair of cupholders and the twist-and-push electronic controller that can move in eight different directions to select and operate audio and navigation features – not quite as easy as pushing a dedicated button, but once you get the hang of it, it works. One thing the console lacks is a parking brake lever. Instead a small handle to the left of the steering wheel applies and releases the electronic parking brake. The parking brake also acts as a genuine emergency brake if it is applied continuously above three miles an hour.

Exterior

Mercedes suggests the exterior design of the 2012 SLK is both futuristic and retro, and as oxymoronic as that sounds, it is accurate. There are classic M-B touches and enough new stuff to make a contemporary statement. Of course, the exterior can festooned with optional bi-xenon headlights and LED taillights. It wouldn't be a German luxury car without them. The passenger compartment is said to be reminiscent of an airplane cockpit, but we've never seen a cockpit as well-designed and ergonomic as the SLK. Nothing is startling new about the passenger compartment, and some might find the accommodations tight, but it is beautifully crafted.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The SLK seats aren't just extremely comfortable - we'd like to have one in our family room to watch football in - but they are also covered in sun-reflecting leather that dramatically reduces the rate at which the seats heat up when the car is parked with the top down. They are 8-way power adjustable, offer memory and power lumbar adjustment, and each seat incorporates a side air bag in the seat back as well as NECK-PRO active head restraints that move forward in serious rear-end collisions.

Optional Equipment

Standard on the 2012 SLK is a new infotainment system with a 5.8-inch color display located at the top of the console. It includes Bluetooth capability, FM phase-diversity twin tuner, HD/AM/weatherband, MP3-compatible CD drive and a USB port in the center console. The optional COMAND system ups the ante with a larger 7-inch color display, hard-drive-based GPS navigation, 10-gigabyte music storage hard drive, and for those who haven't left the 20th Century a 6-disc CD/DVD changer. The navigation system offers 3D maps and the ability to show alternate routes before you choose one. An optional SiriusXM feature provides real-time traffic information and weather forecasts.

Under the Hood

When you're going up against big hitters like the Porsche Boxster and BMW Z4, 201 horsepower seems a little underwhelming. So the 2012 SLK250 has got its work cut out for it whether you stick with the 6-speed manual transmission or opt up to the 7-speed automatic. Powering the SLK350, on the other hand, is a new 60-degree 3.5-liter V6 featuring direct injection and multi-spark ignition. Working together with the 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission, the V6 generates 302 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque. That's enough to rocket the SLK from zero to 60 miles per hour in 5.4 seconds. New from AMG, the SLK55's V8 features both fuel-economy measures like cylinder shutoff and scary-big power including 398 lb-ft of axis-bending torque.

1.8-liter turbocharged in-line 4-cylinder
201 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm
229 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2,000-4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy (estimated): 23/31

3.5-liter V6
302 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
273 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/29

5.5-liter V8
415 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
398 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy (estimated): 22 (city/highway combined)

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 11 Ratings for the 2012 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    8.7/10
  • Reliability
    9.8/10
    Performance
    9.3/10
  • Comfort
    9.0/10
    Styling
    9.6/10

Fun to drive, but a little noisier than expected

By on Sunday, May 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,600

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Fun to drive; great handling and braking"

Cons: "More road noise than expected; seats are hard"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I bought an SLK 250 for my wife. She absolutely loves driving it, and she puts the top down every chance she gets. This car is an attention-getter everywhere she goes. It's actually amazing how much attention this car draws. My wife would give it a 10 out of 10 for the fun factor. I would give it 8 out of 10 overall because I find the car to be noisier - both wind noise and road noise - than I anticipated at highway speeds (with the top closed). It's also not as comfortable as I expected from a luxury brand - the seats are kind of hard. However, the engineering that's gone into the retractable hardtop is pretty amazing. A hardtop coupe when closed, and a fun convertible when opened. The best of both worlds as long as you are realistic about some of the compromises that inevitably have to be made for a "hybrid" like this. I also think the engine could use about 30 more horsepower, but my wife says it's just fine. At highway speeds, it has more than enough passing power, but I pine for a little more HP when accelerating from a full stop. The car's handling is top-notch, and the braking ability is impressive. Overall, if you want a convertible, you can't go wrong with this car. And if you really want more horsepower, go for the SLK 350."

3 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Fantastic Vehicle

By on Saturday, May 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Best vehicle i ever owned, Better than the SL Great looking, Handles Great. Sound system and all instruments great, Very comfortable. very maneuverable on the turnpike and in traffic OK you want the negatives? It could be a bit quicker. It is noisy inside. I have never had any repairs needed in 60,000 miles. NONE other than regular maintenance.NO rattles squeaks NONE.This vehicle has held up better than any vehicles I have ever owned and I have had plenty. Even the brakes have not needed new pads and it has 60,,000 miles. Terrific vehicle"

5 people out of 7 found this review helpful

You can and should do better

By on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 600

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
1/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "convertible top"

Cons: "Unreliable and overrated"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Lots of road noise and be prepared to shell out Jaguar type funds to get features most other competition in this class has standard. Keyless entry package is $6000 since not available solo. Engine light come on frequently, and the dealership will tell you to check gas cap an/or use premium gas. Towed to dealer in first week."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Best Sport Car with little compromise

By on Friday, July 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great car, fun to drive"

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is the car to have combining the best in luxury, comfort and sportiness. It might not be as "tossable" as the Boxster but it is no wimp. It does go fast when pushed and has excellent handling and fun, especially when the roof is down. I cannot say for more. I own for more than 2 years and even today I still keep looking at my car each morning before I drive off to work. Great car and years of enjoyment."

24 people out of 38 found this review helpful

GREAT CAR

By on Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Stying, dealer service, craftmanship"

Cons: "trunk space"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Quality car, comfortable and fun to drive. It really turns heads with its classy styling. There are I have the premium I , media, sport packages along with the walnut trim package and wood steering wheel and diamond white paint with beige and white interior, spoiler and glass wind blockers. I bought it off of the showroom floor so there are a couple of option I would have liked such as the lighting package. It is a fun car to drive, fast enough and handles well. I am pleased with my purchase. The Dick Dryer Mercedes in Columbia SC is extremely service minded and has provided excellent service on our other Mercedes and this was a primary reason in purchasing this car. I think they are one of the very few honest dealers in the country. I have had many bad experience's with several dealers in the SC and NC area. So far this has been a terrific car and I am very pleased with my purchase. I looked at Porsche, BMW, Jags, and chose the SLK which met most of my needs. I have 3 other Mercedes and service was the a very important factor in my decision. If I hadn't had such a positive experience with this dealer ship, I would have chosen the Jaguar roadster. This car would be a problem for a tall and large person, but not for me."

19 people out of 33 found this review helpful

Good Looking Car

By on Wednesday, October 09, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "There is nothing as sporty on the road as this car"

Cons: "Horsepower: It takes a while to build up speed"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Of all the luxury cars I have owned, this one gets the most attention. While I'm driving down the street people look and give the thumbs up. While this car is parked in store parking lots people actually stop and look at it. If you don't like being looked at and admired don't get this car. I have never received so much attention in my entire life from a car. It's also fun to drive. I have been very pleased with my purchase. Many people think I paid $100,000 for it because it looks very similar to the $100,000 Mercedes sports car. All the prestige that goes with a very expensive car is definitely apart of this one."

14 people out of 20 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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