From £29,170
Not the sports car it pretends to be.

Our Verdict

Evolutionary looks shroud new underpinnings. Is it a good mix?

The Mercedes-Benz SLK has the right image, a posh cabin and it's easy to live with

  • First Drive

    Mercedes-Benz SLK 250 CDI Sport

    Makes sense if you can forgive the noise, unexceptional dynamics and standard kit
  • First Drive

    Mercedes SLK 200

    An all-weather roadster with a particularly impressive and punchy four-cylinder engine

What’s new?

An optional Performance Pack for those who think £50,555 isn’t enough to pay for a SLK. Only available on the range topping SLK 55 AMG; this £4800 packs adds uprated composite brakes, firmer suspension and ‘bling’ split-rim wheels. Oh yes and for bar-room braggers, the electronic speed limiter has been upped to 174mph.

What’s it like?

The standard SLK 55 chassis may fall short of Boxster levels of precision, but it does a competent job of mixing body control and passenger comfort. With this uprated suspension the SLK55 becomes ultra firm, firm enough to set the windows rattling around town. Up the speed and things improve, but still the suspension is so hard that across tumbling B-roads you fear the wheels may lose contact with the road. Only on smooth fast A-roads does the stiffer set-up make sense; with increased grip, more agility and improved steering accuracy.

The wheel-filling 340mm composite brakes may not want for ultimate stopping power, but lack the delicacy needed to dip into the increased braking performance smoothly.

Should I get one?

In its element the Performance Pack transforms the SLK, making it a more credible sports car, and adding to the opportunities to exploit that fantastic Nascar engine. For the rest of the time, the ride is just too firm for what is as at heart a boulevard cruiser. We can think of better ways to blow £4800.

Jamie Corstophine

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