While many cars or rather brand names may lay their claims to being the ultimate luxury ones, there is only one manufacturer which started it all 125 years ago and that is Mercedes Benz. However Mercedes don’t lay big time claims on being the number one as far as luxury is concerned. However all their customers can vouch for the Mercedes reliability and luxury lap that Mercedes cars ensconce one in. Way back in 1957, Mercedes released their first roadster, the Mercedes SLK. However now, they have brought in a face lifted 2012 version and it is called as the 2012 Mercedes SLK roadster. We got to test drive one of the 2012 versions. A review of the car would follow once Mercedes slates a date for its launch in the US soil. As of now, India as also some of the other countries have already received this roadster.
The look of this car is enough to distinguish it from the older generation one since this car seems to be highly inspired by its gull winged sibling, the SLS AMG. Though the 2012 Mercedes SLK roadster is a compact car and as usual compact cars don’t warrant enough of styling cues to be drawn into their design factor, the SLK still manages to impress with its unique styling elements. Some like the bit darkened head lamps with their LED strings warrant an AMG version in the near future. The wide gaping grille and the huge by any standards 3 pointed star logo make sure that this car retains its retro theme well. The LED strips acting as fog lamps and the side skirts do project that this car means serious business. The air dam is no longer a subtler effect thing and is equally wide and gaping as the grille. By the way, the SLK moniker stands for something in German. The S denotes sporty or Sportlich, the L stands for light or Leicht and the K is for compact or Kompact in German. As with all the cars, the SLK has grown a bit in proportions and those incremental changes add to the overall length and width of the car by 1 inch. The 19 inch high profile tires with a traditional starfish type alloy pattern looks striking while the escape from the run of the mill ORVMs with turn indicators on them is also a Merc new. The rear in the meanwhile with its all LED tail lamp configuration and the twin tail pipes looks smashing.
In the interiors, mirroring the exterior color paint scheme are the red colored seat belts. Along with those are the red detailed stitches for the seats and a certain strange type of silver cover for the aircon vents, usually the ones found on ultra rich cars such as the Bentley and Buggati. The steering wheel is a semi flat bottomed unit with the usual steering mounted controls. The usual plethora of switches on the console are also missing and replacing them is easy to understand switches which serve many purposes. The central console is finished in silver while the dashboard is a mix of light and dark gray plastic. However the co-passenger wouldn’t feel shortchanged about the driver centric cabin as even he has to deal with some of the buttons on his end. The seats hug the occupants very nicely. The roof section boasts of a new Magic Sky Control electrochromatic which has been in the offing for long. The roof has few party tricks up its glass sleeves and that is by varying the degree of darkness inside the cabin by altering the tint of the glass. There is too much technology flowing down its veins and those can hardly be explained in writing. Nano particles are used for the construction of this roof and it causes the variation in the color of the glass tints. The boot space is also limited as can be expected from roadsters.
2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK roadster Photo Gallery
The steering wheel of the new Merc is a delight to use. It entertains thoroughly with its engaging involvement. This is a rear wheel drive Merc and the chassis is more than capable of handling the 273 pound feet of torque and 302 Hp that the 1.8 liter engined direct injection motor makes. The handling is sublime and the Merc uses ESP to reign in all the power in a proper manner. Unfortunately tail out actions are strictly restricted as the ESP cannot be turned off completely. However it does allow for some leeway before things seem to go out of control. The power delivery by this engine is linear and also very smooth. It gives the impression of reserve power in stock. The 7 speed automatic also does its work well and impresses with its smoothness in the upshifts as also the downshifts. Brakes are also uprated from other Mercedes models however they do suffer from brake fade, which was experienced on the test car. EPA estimates say that this gasoline engine would return 23 mpg in city and 31 mpg on the highway. Those are good figures for a roadster after all.