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Steering, suspension and comfort

There is nothing terribly wrong with the Mercedes SLK in this area, but it remains an uninspiring car to drive. Having experienced SLKs both with and without the optional adaptive dampers and lowered AMG sports suspension, we’d say they’re worth the extra they cost. Regardless of whether you have them, mind you the SLK's ride is nothing to write home about.

More of a disappointment than the underwhelming but acceptable ride quality is the steering’s general lack of precision and feedback. Unfortunately, you can’t specify the adaptive dampers without also getting the ‘Direct Steer’ system, but certainly the variable system could offer better weighting and sharper response. As it stands, it’s a little too desensitised and, at only 2.2 turns lock to lock, can also make the car feel nervous and artificially nimble, without any real communication or progression to the steering to make it more rewarding.

The SLK200 never feels like either a really rewarding sports roadster or a GT

Still, the chassis itself provides plenty of grip and responds well enough to driver input. It performs quite well on track, but if you encounter a broken road surface when there are cornering forces involved, it can cause the car to shimmy or crash a little.

The biggest disappointment here is that, because of the combination the average dynamics, the SLK never feels like either a really rewarding sports roadster or a GT. Rather, it falls somewhere vaguely and disappointingly in the middle. There are no major flaws in the package, but nothing outstanding, either. As one road tester replied when asked what he thought of the car, it’s just “okay”.

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