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Mercedes corrupts the sleek SLK

11.01.2013

A COMPANY, BlendTec, made marketing history in 2006 with a viral campaign showing the power of its awesome food processors.

Every week a man in a white coat would appear on YouTube asking if a certain object could be blended by what was at that time the most powerful commercially available blender. Mr White Coat quickly became bored blending peanuts and watermelon and soon progressed to golf balls, cell phones, batteries and my absolute favourite, the Justin Bieber discography. 

It’s a treat for anyone looking for unintelligent entertainment, but at some point you sit back and wonder why. I can understand why you’d want to process Bieber’s entire collection or any dubstep album for that matter, but the rest of the objects make zero sense to me. Perhaps the blender had too much power, which in its short lifetime, has corrupted it absolutely. 

Powertrain

The SLK 55 AMG may have the same problem. With 310kW and 540Nm on tap, does it have too much power for such a small body?

Standing next to its less-powerful brother, the SLK 350, the answer is no. I was fortunate enough to experience the 350 on a number of occasions and it always failed to impress me. It wasn’t a slouch, but it never gave me that kick you’d expect from a roadster costing as much as it does.

It took only five minutes behind the wheel of the 55 to realise that it had what the 350 was missing. Booting the 55’s throttle results in a dash to 100km/h in 4.6 seconds. If you’re feeling particularly brave, you can keep your foot welded to the floor until it reaches its electronically limited top speed of 250km/h.

The 55 also feels sportier than its lesser brothers thanks to a stiffer AMG suspension and a three-stage Electronic Stability Control (ESP) system. You can switch the ESP on or off, or you can choose the Sport Handling Mode, which allows a limited amount of hooliganism before it interferes.

Safety

Switch the ESP off and it becomes a beast that only the best drivers can tame. Without the interference of the motoring nannies you soon realise there is such a thing as too much power and the SLK definitely suffers from it. Switch the ESP back on and it merely cuts the power to the back wheels. Not to be outdone by the overly powerful engine or exterior upgrades, the interior includes sports seats in Nappa leather with AMG badges in the backrests. Merc’s brilliant Airscarf neck-heating system is also standard fitment, along with a metal and perforated leather-trimmed steering with aluminium shift paddles.

The other major talking point of the SLK has always been the vario-roof. It transforms the SLK from a coupé to a roadster in 20 seconds flat with something called, Magic Sky Control. This enables the glass roof to switch between light and dark at the press of a button.

On its own, the SLK 55 AMG is a deeply impressive car. When you look at the competition, however, a different picture emerges. Its main competitor, the Porsche Boxster S offers so much more, including a better driving experience and it does so at R226 000 less.

Article written by Autodealer
11.01.2013
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