By Jack R. Nerad, Executive Editorial Director, KBB.com - Updated Date: 11/15/2011
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 It 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.Favorite Features
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.