The SLK really excels in this area. Sit in the snug cockpit and you are met with brushed aluminium switches and vents, and leather on every surface that isn’t metal or a colour screen. It’s a cabin that leaves you thoroughly convinced of the Mercedes’ premium status.
The optional ‘vario-roof’, a clear glass panel set into the folding electric roof, sounds like an underwhelming detail but it adds a lot to the ambience of the cabin and is something no other direct rival offers. Opting for the AMG Sport trim (a £4000 leap over the base car) gets you some very decent sports seats. There’s even decent elbow room, although the Mercedes feels a little more pinched for cabin width than some.
The luggage is likely to be as well accommodated as the occupants in the SLK. With the roof dropped, you retain 225 litres of a 335-litre boot, which looks particularly good next to the BMW Z4’s 180-310 litres. And it is a very usable boot. A safety partition must be in place before the Merc’s roof will fold, and this limits depth (inevitably) and creates a fairly awkward shaped space, but with the tin-top in place, the boot is a practical size and shape by class standards.
Visibility is relatively good, too. You get a good sense of where the bonnet ends, and although the door mirrors can block your forward view on to an angled junction, the SLK generally offers a good forward and rearward view.
The only concern is over refinement. With such a substantial and seemingly well engineered roof, you would imagine that this would be a strong point with the Merc, but there is a significant amount of wind noise, as well as tyre noise at higher speeds. It’s most likely a factor that many buyers will be happy to overlook, given the nature of the car, but there are quieter cabins among the SLK’s rivals.