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Our new 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK250 brings top-down fun to the track

Consumer Reports News: May 17, 2012 05:08 PM

We just took delivery of a car that is made for spring: a "Mars Red" SLK250. This two-seat convertible is just what the doctor ordered to get us out of the winter doldrums. And if the cold weather reappears, our SLK has a folding hardtop, heated seats, and the automaker's exclusive "airscarf neck-level heating system," which features vents in the head restraints that blow warm air on your neck. It's a nice touch that we really liked in the last SLK, and its SL big-brother we tested.

What's new with this generation? Joining the Audi TT and BMW Z4, the SLK is now available with a small, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The new SLK engine puts out 201 hp; we equipped ours with the six-speed manual transmission.

As with many things, the fun in the sun comes at a price. We fitted our SLK with several options that boosted its $42,500 base price, including parking guidance, dual-zone climate control, and the Premium 1 Package. Adding those items resulted in a $48,045 bottom line.

The last SLK we tested was fun to drive, with quick, communicative, and well-weighted steering and a direct and smooth-shifting manual transmission - traits we normally don't experience in a Mercedes. We look forward to seeing if the new generation measures up.

Stay tuned as we put on break-in miles with our SLK and get ready to test it against the Audi and BMW... and maybe another competitor.

Mike Quincy

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