2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class,Reviews

We usually see women behind the wheel of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class. The original SLK debuted in 1996 with a four-cylinder powerplant and all of 136 ponies. The SLK gained some testosterone with its first facelift in 2000. While the exterior was still rather tame, the chick car jokes ceased in 2001 with the introduction of the 354-horsepower SLK 32 AMG.

The reality that AMG could stuff its hand-built 5.4-liter V8 under the hood made the second-generation SLK a serious performance car.

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Classrides on the same 95.7-inch wheelbase. In the States, we will eventually get two of three available engines for the new SLK: the 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and the naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter V6. Four-cylinder models will be called the SLK250, while V6 models gets the SLK350 badge.

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class engineers use the crankshaft position sensor to know which cylinder has stopped closest to the optimum position for re-starting the engine. Mercedes-Benz literature claims 6.4 cubic feet with the roof lowered and 10.1 cubes with the roof raised. The SLK's hallmark retractable hardtop comes in three varieties: solid steel panels, a tinted roof section or with Benz's trick new Magic Sky Control electrochromatic roof section. (Geek Note: Magic Sky Control uses a similar principle to Delphi's Magnetic Ride Control dampers that control the flow path of damper fluid.)

The imperfect roads on Tenerife presented a less-than-ideal surface that worked to shake and rattle the SLK. Short-wheelbase cars can feel skittish, but the SLK simply doesn't. Even at full throttle with every foot-pound of torque twisting the rear half shafts, the SLK350 felt unshakable and secure.

The SLK senses the understeer and helps to mitigate it by adding a measured amount of braking to the inside rear wheel, helping to increase the car's yaw rate and make it rotate more easily.

Unfortunately, the ESC on the SLK350 cannot be completely disabled. Even with ESC on, the SLK remained a remarkably fun steer. In all, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class driving experience was a good one. First, we're looking forward to some time behind the wheel of the lighter SLK250. The SLK350's smaller-engined sibling could end up being the better of the two offerings – that is, until the V8 AMG model enters the mix.

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