Premium sporty/performance car; Built in
  • 2-door convertible
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $19,600 – $60,500*


2013 Mercedes-Benz SLK250


2013 Mercedes-Benz SLK250


2013 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG


2013 Mercedes-Benz SLK250

Pros:
  • Acceleration (SLK350)
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Control layout
  • Wind noise

The SLK is sporty and engaging to drive, but it still delivers the quality and refinement expected of Mercedes. The V6-powered SLK350 delivers great performance, but at a price when new. Current Porsche Boxster owners might not give this car a second glance, but anyone considering the Audi TT or BMW Z4 should give the SLK a spin.

Overview

The redesigned-for-2012 SLK-Class was the smaller and less expensive of Mercedes’ duo of two-seat roadsters. The abbreviation “SLK” was short for the German words for sporty, light, and short. The SLK sat 2 and came with rear-wheel drive and a power-folding hardtop that raised or lowered in about 20 seconds.

The SLK competed with German rivals that included the Audi TT, BMW Z4, and Porsche Boxster.

The SLK lineup consisted of SLK250, SLK350 and SL55 AMG models, with 4-cylinder, V6, and V8 power, respectively.

The SLK250 came standard with MBTex vinyl upholstery, high-definition radio, USB port, wireless cell-phone link, universal garage door opener, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and 17-inch alloy wheels.

The SLK350 added leather upholstery and 18-inch wheels. The SLK55 AMG received a rear spoiler, sport suspension, and larger 18-inch tires.

A Dynamic Handling package came with a driver adjustable suspension and brake torque vectoring. The SLK55 AMG was available with matte paint and an AMG Handling package with a limited-slip differential, a 174-mph top speed limiter, a performance-tuned suspension, and unique alloy wheels. Other notable options included a navigation system with Mercedes’ COMAND interface, keyless access and starting, dual-zone automatic climate control, a windblocker, and Mercedes’ MAGIC SKY CONTROL roof with two levels of tint.

The base engine in the SLK250 was a turbocharged 1.8-liter 4-cylinder that made 201 horsepower. The SLK350 featured a 302-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, and the SL55 AMG was motivated by a 415-horsepower 5.5-liter V8. The SLK250 was offered with a 6-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed automatic with manual shift capability. The SLK350 and SLK55 AMG both used the 7-speed automatic.

The SLK250 was rated at 23 mpg city/33 mpg highway when paired with the 7-speed automatic transmission, and 22/32 with the 6-speed manual. The SLK350 was rated at 21/29 and the SLK55 AMG had a 19/28 rating.

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK came standard with the usual suite of government-mandated safety features, plus side airbags, knee airbags, brake assist, automatic pop-up roll bars, active head restraints, and Mercedes Attention Assist, which monitored drivers and warned them if it sensed they had become drowsy.

Safety options included front- and rear- obstacle detection, blind spot alert, lane departure prevention, and Mercedes’ Pre-Safe system. If this system detected an impending crash, it closed the windows and moved the driver’s seat to a safer position. It also included Pre-Safe brake that warned drivers with audible tones, then applied partial braking and finally full braking as the car approached a possible crash.

Yearly Updates

2012 SLK-Class
There were several changes for the 2013 SLK-Class. The 3.5-liter V6 in the SLK350 now had an idle start/stop feature. The SLK350 also added standard heated seats, Mercedes’ AIRSCARF neck-level heating system, harman/kardon sound system, satellite radio, and a roof that could be operated by the keyless entry remote. Mercedes mbrace became mbrace2 and it was updated to include access to Internet and mobile apps, including Facebook, Google local search, Yelp, and Panoramio photo sharing. The system also offered geo-fencing, speed alerts and a curfew minder, as well as concierge services through a live operator. All SLKs also received new directional and cruise control switches, and Adaptive Highbeam Assist became optional.
2013 SLK-Class
The only change for the 2014 SLK-Class was that the panoramic sunroof was now standard.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive

The base engine in the SLK250 was a turbocharged 1.8-liter 4-cylinder rated at 201 horsepower. The SLK350 featured a 302-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, and the SL55 AMG was motivated by a 415-horsepower 5.5-liter V8. The SLK250 was offered with a 6-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed automatic with manual shift capability. The SLK350 and SLK55 AMG both were only available with the 7-speed automatic.

Turbocharged dohc I41
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.8/110
Engine HP 201
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 229
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
7-speed automatic
22/32
23/31
dohc V62
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/213
Engine HP 302
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 273
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
7-speed automatic

20/29

21.6

Turbocharged dohc V83
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.5/333
Engine HP 415
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 398
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
7-speed automatic

19/28

1. SLK250. 2. SLK350. 3. SLK55 AMG

Road Test

Mercedes has made only SLK350 models available for testing. While the 3.5-liter V6 doesn’t knock you back into your seat, its strong, smooth power builds in linear fashion. Mercedes-Benz quotes a 0-60 mph time of 5.4 seconds, and that seems realistic to us. The automatic transmission is generally responsive, but it can dither between gears, and it isn’t as lightning quick as the dual-clutch automated manuals offered by the competition. Shifting manually via the steering-wheel paddles helps, but the shifts still aren’t that quick.

In Consumer Guide testing, a SLK350 averaged 21.6 mpg. All SLK-Class models require premium-grade gas.

Though a sports car, the SLK offers a fairly smooth ride. The short wheelbase does make sharp bumps quite disruptive, which can become taxing on long stretches of broken pavement.

The SLK strikes a better balance between ride comfort and handling prowess than most competitors. It carves through corners with excellent grip and minimal body roll. The steering’s substantial feel at speed is marred by slow, clunky response when maneuvering in tight quarters. The brakes offer excellent pedal feel and strong stopping power.

Buyers will find the SLK350’s raspy exhaust note either exhilarating or tiring. The sound is far from unrefined, but it’s a constant companion that might turn off some Mercedes-Benz traditionalists. A bit of excess wind rush in the cabin means raised voices are necessary to carry on a conversation at speeds greater than 60 mph. An available wind deflector helps, but not entirely.

Most SLKs are equipped with the brand’s COMAND system to handle audio, climate, and navigation functions. The system takes some time to get used to, but most of the controls become second nature after a month or two. That said, we would like the screen to be slightly larger and offer touch functionality.

The interior materials are of the highest quality with a solid fit-and-finish. The plastic that surrounds the center console and control interface has a satin veneer and looks like metal. Even the footwells have soft-touch surfaces, with aids comfort for folks who may rest their knees there.

Top-up headroom is plentiful, and the seats have enough travel to accommodate all but the longest of leg. Mercedes offers more features for cool-weather driving than hot. Ventilated seats are not offered, but Mercedes’ AIRSCARF feature blows warm air across occupants’ necks, making top-down driving on chilly days more palatable. With the top up, visibility is better than in most convertibles. However, a small rearview mirror and tall deck hurt the view directly behind the car. The SLK rides low and has long doors, so entry and exit can be a challenge for older folks and in tight spaces.

SLK-Class has no rear seating.

The SLK has 10.1 cubic feet of trunk space with the top up. That’s enough for a couple golf bags or carry-on suitcases, but not much more than that. Volume shrinks to 6.4 cubic feet with the top down, limiting the SLK’s long-trip usefulness. In-cabin storage is also limited. The center console is shallow, the door pockets are tiny, and Mercedes provides a couple cubbies behind the seats, but they’re small.

Ratings

Model Tested: SLK350

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 8
80%
Fuel Economy - 6
60%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 8
80%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Front - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Rear - 0
00%
Cargo Room - 2
20%

Other

Value - 5
50%

Total: 52

Specifications

2-door convertible
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
95.7 162.8 71.3 51.2
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
10.1 18.5 2
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.0 42.5
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2012 Not tested 2-door convertible

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Electrical problem
Description: Malfunction in fuse or relay boxes may result in the engine not starting. (2012-13)
Electrical problem
Description: Failure of the radiator fan control unit may cause the air conditioning to malfunction. (2014)

Recall History

2013 SLK250, SLK350
Description: Certain 2013 model Mercedes-Benz SLK250 and SLK350 vehicles made between October 9, 2012 and November 20, 2012 may have occupant classification systems (OCS) that can not correctly differentiate between a child seat or a very light person sitting in the passenger seat. As a result, the passenger-side airbag might not properly deploy if a very light person is sitting in the seat during a collision.
2014 SLK-Class
Description: Cetain 2014 model SLK-Class vehicles made between March 19, 2014 and May 5, 2014 may have an assembly error that prevents the passenger-side air bag from deploying in a collision.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.