Roadshow Video Reviews
2012 Mercedes SLK 350Redesigned and reloaded with tech, but it's not worth the price you pay or the power you get.
-The SLK used to be something of an embarrassment to be honest that worst of oxymorons of starter Mercedes, but thanks to a serious facelift. It at least prints real bonds now. Let's see if that's just a look as we drive the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK350 and check the tech. Okay, here's the center, this LCD display, the command interface and the associated knob are standard on this guy, but this 5.8-inch 4:3 ratio screen looks a little cramp even in a car that's a little cramp and as many Mercedes that I have driven, with this interface and this logic of menus, it never gets intuitive to me. This multi ribbon thing needs a rethink, I think. Let's go to our audio source as you there with either the radio button or the disc button, which brings up the ribbon at the top you can poke around. HD radio and blue tooth streaming are standard, but USB and USB iPod and satellite radio are part of $2600 package the include some other stuff you may not want and navigation with its associated traffic and weather are part of yet another package for $2100 that will also include stuff I bet you don't care about like a hard drive for ripping music too that will seldom use and an SD card slot that I suspect you will never use, and of course, the most important piece of tech on this car is the 22nd retractible power roof, but within that, you got a couple of choices. We have the standard $500 option for a shaded glass panel, but you can also do $2500 option for the magic sky glass, which would be tinted electronically. The Mercedes at early giving you an app to connect to your car, works on the iPhone, right now. It's called the embrace app. I allows you to send to the addresses to the, locate the car a mile away, remote locket, or even friends easily send you their location for the nav system to take you around. Now, the 350 part of SLK 350 tells you, you've got a 3.5 liter engine, V6, your only choice, puts out 302 horsepower, 273 foot pounds of torque, which gets this 3400-pound midget up to 60 in about 5.6 seconds while delivering 20-29 MPG and all that power goes out through a similar one choice only gear box, a 7-speed automatic that has 3 modes; sport, manual, and economy as well as paddle shifters and a little slap gate on the stick. Let's see how it all works. Now, on the road, here's the problem with the SLK350. I can put it on to 1 word for you. When I first got in the car, I hadn't researched it yet. I thought it was a turbo 4 that's not a good thing for a V6. There's prodigious power, but it's very peaky and serge. It's kind of like a 2 position throttle. You're either on or you're off, not cool. Not a car I wanna take on an interesting road. The 7-speed automatic is a very smart gearbox, but it tends to be one of those that seeks those overly tow gears all the time, which combined with the engine's peakiness is not fun. It's really nice in manual mode, but if wanted a car with a manual gearbox, I would have bought a car with a manual gearbox and here's the one that drives me nuts, come in to a stop right now and as I do so and come to a nice full complete legal stop. The car is gonna put its breaks on in the hold mode. I'm off the paddle now and we're not going anywhere and it always does that. It's a small thing, but it adds a little bit of a delay every time you start from a stop, which in stopping go traffic makes me nuts and I check all the settings, I don't believe there is any way to turn it if off by default. It always does that. Okay, here's my bottom line on the SLK350. Major and successful redesign and on the front end is let down by dopey and small car rear end. That peaky motor is a pain in the ass to drive, and you got to listen to that farty exhaust system the whole time. To get loaded up with all the tech that we want CNET style, you got to pick and choose from a whole bunch of really expensive packages and those are on top of an already kind of eye popping $55,000 base price. This car is answering a question that nobody asked. Honestly, it's twice as much money, but just wait so you can afford a real SL.