Mercedes SLK 250

We see if mid-range model is the best choice

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

If you’re looking to buy an SLK, we’d recommend the 250, as it feels punchier than the 200 and is cheaper to run than the 350. It still suffers from the same flaws as the rest of the range, though – it just isn’t as much fun to drive as it should be. While keen drivers will be better off in a BMW Z4 or Porsche Boxster, there’s no doubting the SLK’s talents as a refined and luxurious cruiser.

So far we’ve been impressed by the entry-level Mercedes SLK 200 and the range-topping 350, but could the mid-spec SLK 250 be the pick of the range?
On paper, it strikes a good balance. The 1.8-litre turbo four-cylinder engine punches the drop-top from 0-62mph in only 6.6 seconds, while economy can be as high as 42.8mpg – which is impressive when you compare it to the Porsche Boxster’s 30mpg.
Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Mercedes SLK
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But while it has the edge in the green stakes, the SLK isn’t the most involving roadster. Body roll is tightly controlled and it feels agile through bends, but the numb steering doesn’t reward you with any kind of feedback.
The ride isn’t particularly comfortable, either, with the standard steel suspension failing to soak up rough city roads. In our experience, the adaptive suspension is a better choice. On the plus side, refinement with the top up is excellent.
Our model was also equipped with the optional Magic Sky Control roof, which goes from transparent to nearly opaque at the touch of a button. It works well to cool the cabin on a sunny day, but it’s a costly £1,600 extra over the standard roof.
The interior is top-notch, with fantastic build quality and some features lifted from the SLS AMG supercar – including items of switchgear and the stylish jet-turbine air vents.
The SLK 250 is certainly the best all-round model in the range, but no matter which engine you pick, Mercedes’ roadster can’t quite live up to the more engaging rivals on offer from BMW and Porsche.

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