The SLK model has been a best seller for Mercedes Benz since 1996. They’ve managed to move over half a million units since then and for good reason. This is a roadster that can really perform and looks incredible doing it. The 2009 model has several improvements that are sure to get many fence sitters off and moving.
The overall design of the 2009 SLK is very much race inspired. The nose has been sliced back a bit, and the side wings have been plumped up as well. The grille has been redesigned and the headlamps got special attention as well. Not to be outdone, the taillights are now tinted and the exhaust tips have a new look as well.
Inside, the changes are more subtle and include a redesigned instrument column and a different head unit. The 2009 will come standard with Mercedes’ new NTG 2.5 electronics system, a change that has been hotly anticipated. In addition, you’ll also notice the brand new steering wheel, which hints at changes that have been made under the hood.
The 3.0L V6 engine with 228hp hasn’t been changed much, but Mercedes is using this model to debut their new Direct Steer system. It features a variable ratio system that has been fine tuned to handle every day steering needs as well as times when you need a little extra handling power. The result is an incredibly smooth ride, no matter where you happen to take your SLK.
Mercedes has stated that the new system has reduced the turns from lock to lock by 25% and it’s easy to feel the difference. Turns are much sharper and overall handling is vastly improved. If you need a little more power though, definitely check out the other models in this line, including the SLK55 AMG.
This engine boasts a 5.4L V8 with 355hp, and an outstanding seven speed automatic transmission. This model is perfect if you need a little extra handling and power for any driving situation. If this is a little too much, they’ve also introduced the SLK350, with a 3.5L engine that has been significantly redesigned to produce better compression ratios and overall better performance. This one clocks in at around 300hp.
Pricing for the new SLK starts at $50k for the base model, going up to $65k for the AMG engine. All take advantage of the new Direct Steer system, so it’s really a matter of how much power you want and what kind of gas mileage you expect to get out of your vehicle.
All in all, this is a solid entry in this class and should continue to keep Mercedes at the top of the line in sales. The overall low price compared to similar vehicles certainly can’t hurt and many consumers have been waiting for the new steering system, which should help Mercedes to have yet another great year. The SLK is a terrific bet in any of its incarnations and should continue the trend for Mercedes roadsters.