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Why the Mercedes-Benz SLK is a Great Summer Car

03rd Jul 2015

As the weather warms up and you start planning epic road trips across the country, you're also likely to be looking for the perfect four-wheeled companion to take you wherever you want to go.

A used Mercedes-Benz SLK (renamed in recent years as the SLC) has all the hallmarks of a great summer car; stylish, fun to drive and of course the hard-top roof comes off at the push of a button. 

Here are eight solid reasons to consider a used Mercedes-Benz SLK as your summer car. 

1. The Vario Roof Brings the Sun Closer than Ever

Mercedes-Benz SLK Above

 

A unique feature in the Mercedes-Benz SLK is the electro-hydraulic Vario roof, which turns the SLK from a hard-top coupé to an open-top roadster in a matter of seconds. Just because it's sunny doesn't mean it's warm, however, the SLK has plenty of clever solutions to keep you comfortable.

The panoramic-vario sunroof includes an integrated glass panel so you can make the most of those spring evenings - keeping out the cold but letting in the glorious sun-setting vistas. For the ultimate control, the optional MAGIC SKY CONTROL changes the glass from clear to tinted at the press of a button, using a unique layer of liquid crystal within the glass.

2. An Illustrious History

Mercedes-Benz SLK

 

The SLK can trace its roots all the way back to the iconic 230SL, a car which started the roadster style, the likes of which were owned by John Lennon and John Travolta. The 230SL was a more affordable and practical successor to the Mercedes 300SL, and made life on the open road accessible to more people than ever before.

The hallmarks of the 230SL - lightweight, great handling, and comfort - are all attributes which still stand true, on the SLK and the later SLC. The SLK bears design influences from its ancestor to this day, such as the emblematic grille and chrome-finned vents in the front wings.

3. As Good on the Inside as on the Outside

Mercedes-Benz SLK Interior

 

All Mercedes-Benz vehicles are renowned for their luxurious interiors, and the cabin of the SLK certainly doesn't disappoint in that regard. Brushed chrome trim and plenty of leather accents adorn the snug cockpit, leaving no misconceptions about the premium nature of the SLK.

Combined with the 3-spoke multi-function sports steering wheel, trimmed in nappa leather, the roadster is a fantastic place to settle in for summer journeys. A comfortable ride and whisper-quiet refinement also make it a great long distance option, equally suited to twisty, uneven B-roads as it is to motorway cruising.

4. You Can Always have your Favourite Music on

Mercedes-Benz SLK Front

 

 The last generation SLK came with DAB digital radio as standard giving you access to almost 300 radio stations across the UK, meaning that your favourite songs are likely to be only a twist of a dial away. If you prefer to drive to your own tunes, the Mercedes-Benz SLK also comes with a six-disc CD changer and MP3 input for your best driving playlist.

All models boast a six-speaker sound system, and you should look out for models that were specified orignally with Harmon Kardon Surround Sound system with 10 high-performance speakers, which really does get the music pumping. 

5. You get More out of the Tank than You Might Think

Mercedes-Benz SLK Engine

 

The last generation SLK was the first Mercedes-Benz roadster to offer a diesel engine, but it's not just any diesel. The Mercedes-Benz SLK 250 CDI - of which there are plenty available on the used market - offers fantastic performance from the bi-turbo power unit to rival most petrol engines.

It produces in excess of 200 bhp and can reach 60 mph in just 6.7 seconds. That's really impressive for a diesel engine from which you should see low-to-mid 50s in terms of mpg.

This definitely doesn't mean that the petrol models are left way behind on the economy front. The SLK 300 offers classic roadster thrills and a better-sounding engine note, but with an extremely respectable 47.1 mpg.

6. There is Plenty of Storage Space

Mercedes-Benz SLK

 

Planning a weekend away? No problem. With the roof down, the SLK has more than enough space for a couple of medium-sized suitcases.

With the roof in place, this expands to a sizeable 335-litres - around the same amount of space as a medium-sized family hatchback, such as the A-Class. That kind of space can accommodate pretty much all you need for a weekend's activities, including a set of golf clubs and a spare change of clothes. 

Inside the cabin, there's a decent-sized glovebox as well as cupholders, small door pockets and some nets that offer a little bit more practicality than most two-seat roadsters.

7. The AMG Sport Trim

Mercedes-Benz SLK Rear

 

While the SLK is already an extremely well-equipped car, seeking out one with an AMG Sport trim (a £4,000 option when the car was new) will give you some great visual extras. Benefits include larger, uprated 18-inch alloy wheels, and an AMG Sport bodykit with larger front bumper and sills.

Lowered suspension improves the driving feel and handling, involving you more in every corner, and holding you in place are supportive full leather sports seats, which were included as part of the AMG Sport package.

8. Your Safety is Taken Care of

Mercedes-Benz SLK Rear

 

The SLK is an extremely safe car, and comes with plenty of safety features as standard to put your mind at ease. This includes Attention Assist, which monitors over 70 parameters of the driver to ensure alertness, and Pre-Safe which prepares the car's safety systems in the event of an imminent accident.

An Active Bonnet system pops up in the event of a crash to reduce any impact on pedestrians.

Other safety features include electronic stability control, crash-responsive head restraints and four air bags.