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2016 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Overview

Tailored to the true luxury drop-top fan, the Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class returns for 2016 with a few changes to its base trim. The 2-seat compact hardtop convertible roadster offers a choice of 3 engines and 2 transmissions, along with some handsome styling and a healthy dose of standard perks. It is only available in its traditional rear-wheel-drive (RWD) configuration, contains a surprisingly spacious (for a convertible) 10.1 cubic feet of trunk space, and offers a power-retractable roof.

For 2016, the base SLK250 has been re-branded the SLK300 and boasts a new powerplant, not to mention a new automatic transmission that replaces both the traditional manual transmission and the now-defunct 7-speed automatic. The two returning trims include the up-featured SLK350 and the V8-equipped SLK55 AMG. Additional changes for the 2016 SLK-Class include a couple of new exterior colors and available blind-spot monitoring as a standalone option (or as part of the Driver Assistance package).

Expect the 2016 SLK300 to be outfitted with 17-inch alloy wheels with performance tires, a fixed glass sunroof, leatherette upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, full power accessories, cruise control, and telescoping tilt-wheel steering. Standard technology includes a remote garage door opener, manual air conditioning, mbrace 2 infotainment with a 5.8-inch touchscreen, memory for driver settings, and a 4.5-inch driver information display. Bluetooth hands-free calling is scheduled to remain standard, as is a CD/MP3 player with 8 speakers and an auxiliary audio input.

The SLK350 adds 18-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a 500-watt Harman Kardon audio system with 11 Surround Sound speakers and satellite radio. If you decide on the SLK AMG55, you'll also get premium leather upholstery, sport front seats, a sport-tuned suspension and steering rack, a sport exhaust system, torque-vector cornering, and added interior lighting.

Options include upgraded alloy wheels, an auto-tinting sunroof (Mercedes' Magic Sky Control), COMAND-interfaced GPS navigation, Airguide wind-blocking for less top-down buffeting, unique Airscarf neck-warming headrests, and available carbon-fiber cabin accents in the AMG55.

Power-wise for 2016, the base SLK300 gets a new 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder (I4) engine that uses a new 9-speed shiftable automatic transmission to manage 241 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. This force-fed I4 is also equipped with engine stop/start technology for some added fuel efficiency, as well as the variable-effort Direct-Steer System. Look for an EPA-estimated 25 mpg city/32 highway/28 combined out of a tank of premium unleaded.

The SLK350 keeps its 3.5-liter non-turbocharged V6 powerplant and standard 7-speed shiftable automatic. Expect this hefty V6 to deliver 302 hp, 273 lb-ft of torque, and mileage of 21/29/24 when burning premium unleaded. The SLK AMG55 sports a 5.5-liter non-turbo V8 mill that again mates with an AMG-tuned 7-speed shiftable automatic for 416 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque. Expect mileage estimates for the V8 to return at 19/28/22, and keep in mind that it only uses premium gasoline.

Safety features slated to return aboard all 2-seat SLK-Class convertibles include 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, side-mounted head curtain airbags, LED daytime running lights, turn-signal-integrated mirrors, mbrace emergency telematics, a post-collision safety system, and a remote antitheft alarm. Optional safety equipment includes the popular Parktronic system with front and rear parking sensors, as well as the Driver Assistance package with adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assistance, and pre-collision braking. Be advised that, for whatever reason, neither the government nor the insurance industry have recent crash test data on the Mercedes SLK-Class.

Often described by owners as impractical but a heck of a lot of fun, the SLK-Class is now on sale for 2016, competing with BMW’s similarly equipped and priced Z4, Porsche’s Boxer, Audi’s all-wheel-drive-eligible TT Roadster, and Chevy’s legendary Corvette Convertible.


Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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