2005 Mercedes-Benz SLK 350

Design, power train, and drive.

The redesigned Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 is a model anyone can love. It′s sleekly sculpted body screams power and performance. The sharply sloped front end and dramatically tilted windshield give the SLK a windswept appearance and the short rear end adds the final sporty touch—the combination underscoring speed.

Whether using the console-mounted control or the remote entry switch, the retractable top tucks neatly into the rear cargo space in only 22 seconds, converting the coupe into a snappy roadster.

The 3.5 liter V-6 engine, coupled to the 6-speed manual transmission produces more power than any city driving and most freeway conditions demand. Well-balanced and with a low center of gravity the SLK, riding on 17-inch wheels with independent front and rear suspension, tightly grips the road. Positive steering gives good road feel and begs to take on winding mountain roads.

From its large, well-illuminated speedometer and tachometer to its dash- and steering wheel-mounted controls, the SLK′s accessories clearly displayed and easily managed from the cockpit-like driver position.

Comfort and safety

The SLK 350 is as easy on the body as it is on the eyes. Firm, well-formed leather seats provide comfort and support. The telescopic, tilting steering wheel and the 8-way adjustable seat allow the driver to find the perfect positioning and commit it to the memory system.

For protection, in addition to the standard 3-point seat belts, the SLK is equipped with front and knee airbags. Airbags, for head and thorax protection, are built into the seat backrests.

Structurally, the SLK cabin is steel-reinforced with front and rear crumple zones and dual roll bars. Other safety features include the dash-mounted emergency calling system, electronic stability program (ESP) and power brakes with ABS and brake assist.

While the SLK 350 definitely is a most appealing package, it desperately lacks storage space. With the retractable top down, the already skimpy trunk space can accommodate only a few small travel bags. For power and performance aficionados, the question might well be, “Who cares?”