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In-depth reviews

Mercedes SLK cabriolet (2011-2015) - Engines, drive & performance

All the engines in the Mercedes SLK range are powerful and responsive

Carbuyer Rating

3.2 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.2 out of 5

While the Mercedes SLK is in many ways a direct competitor to the Porsche 718 Boxster, the way in which it drives couldn’t be more different from that mid-engined machine.

While the Boxster is direct, responsive and thrilling for the driver, the Mercedes SLK is smooth, comfortable and satisfying. If you’re looking for a car to drive just for fun at the weekend – or even take to the occasional track day – the Boxster will win every time. But, if you want a sports convertible to drive long distances in and perhaps to be your only car, the SLK is a more attractive proposition.

For a small sports car with large wheels, the SLK offers superb ride comfort, filtering out most of the road's imperfections and preventing them from entering the cabin. Even larger potholes are kept from jarring occupants too much, although they’re still best avoided if possible.

Mercedes SLK diesel engines

The 2.2-litre CDI diesel automatic feels surprisingly well suited to the SLK, offering a huge surge of overtaking power at motorway speeds. It makes 201bhp and goes from 0-62mph in as little as 6.4 seconds – making it faster than the diesel Audi TT Roadster.

Petrol engines

The SLK 200 and 250 petrol engines feel like they need to be worked harder than the diesel, but automatic versions complete the 0-62mph sprint in 7.0 and 6.6 seconds respectively.

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The 302bhp SLK 350 offers a big step up in power, with 0-62mph coming up in just 5.6 seconds. But it’s no match for the SLK 55 AMG with its huge 5.4-litre V8 engine, 415bhp and 4.6-second 0-62mph time. This car is something of a convertible hot rod and even equals the Porsche 718 Boxster S for acceleration.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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