What will an old man do if he wants to relive his youth days? Obviously he would scourge out his old albums and check out all the photos of his youth and the fun/frolic that he encountered then. There is one automobile manufacturer who is treading the same path and it happens to be Mercedes. There was a time when Mercedes were considered as the numero uno in the business; however, more modern rivals like BMW and Audi have pushed them to oblivion. Its more like P T Usha staring down and looking at her past while the youth athletes have taken over the show now. In a bid to infuse some fresh blood into their products, Mercedes have been continuously rejuvenating their products and one such product happens to be the Mercedes SLK350 in India. We have a preview of this automobile and how it would stack up against its peers.
To look fresh, its not about how the heart feels. One also has to look fresh from appearance and this is what the SLK350 has come to. The smaller SLK gets the much spoken about and in a way retro nose of the SLS. We don’t know if this has been said before but then the SLK was always known as a Merc car which most of the girls prefer. It may be due to its non-aggressive looks but no longer would it be called as a girl’s delight. Instead, the flared nostrils depict aggression. The full HID setup looks good in the night and even in the daytime, the DRLs looks fantastic. The long snout of the car has an meshed air scoop to it as well. The side panels also have got their own air intakes and thankfully enough, we can see some impact of a design change to the outside rear view mirrors. The rear portion of this car remains unchanged from its predecessor and even the twin tail pipes wouldn’t catch one’s fancy here.
This one is an open top thing and here, the roof can be put on or even opened in 20 seconds flat. Now, that’s a party trick which many other cars in this category including the BMW Z4 or Audi TT or even the Nissan 370Z can claim to. However, all these cars don’t have the Magic Sky Control in place which actually is an innovation by Mercedes. The brightness inside the cabin can be adjusted via the tinted glass roof panel and the opacity is something which can be tuned up or down. This can be achieved only when the roof is up. Like any low slung sportscar, even this one needs one to be nearly sit on the road but then there is no complaining as space for two inside the cabin is very good. Infact, even taller occupants wouldn’t have their head space fouled with the roof. The sporty instrument binnacle as also the 7 inch touch screen feel great to look at and visibility isn’t hampered even when the roof top is down. The quality of plastics, as expected from any Merc, is top notch and this undoubtedly contributes to a better driver and passenger experience. The seats are also fully powered and finding a comfortable position isn’t going to invite a traffic jam. Visibility towards the rear is a bit of an issue, something which the reverse camera and parking sensors easily solve. The Mercedes SLK350 in India or for that matter elsewhere in the world is a true blue 2 seater car. The boot space for this one is also minimal. All the requisite creature comforts are present inside the cabin with some of them hand built like the air con vents and stuff.
Mercedes cars have been long known for their good ride quality and almost most of the times, owners prefer them for this very quality. First and foremost, the SLK350 has got a good ground clearance amongst its competition. This includes the likes of not scraping speed breakers and also excellent visibility which ensures that one can place the nose exactly where one wants it to be. There is a hint of body roll while cornering but it is something which is easily overcome by the communicative steering wheel. Actually more communicative than the Audi’s unit but lags behind that of the BMW Z4’s. The ride quality in this one is notches ahead of what its rivals can boast of. The electronics in the SLK don’t allow one to play hooligan unlike the units on the Z4 which can be turned off completely for some sideways action and stuff.
What Mercedes always needed was a very good engine with lots of power and also a very quick transmission unit. The earlier car, the SLK200 didn’t have both and hence was more of a toy rather than a mean machine. The new SLK350 gets a V6 engine which has a peak output of 304 Bhp and 370 Nm of torque to play with. Moreover, there is also the 7 speed auto transmission which makes it debut in a SLK unit in India. As a result, Mercedes can claim 0-100 kmph times of only 6.7 seconds and all the way to a top speed of 240 kmph. All wheel composite disc brakes as also ABS, ESP and many other traction control goodies ensure that things don’t go out of hand easily. The sound coming out of the twin tail pipes is also necessarily addictive and in everyday use, the V6 engine shows amazing flexibility. Be it traffic or even the highway conditions, the SLK350’s engine has got just the right amount of power to handle the conditions. Fuel efficiency is approximately pegged at 7.5 kmpl overall figures. The overall fuel tank capacity of this one stands at 87 liters. Did we mention that this one drinks premium unleaded? Very difficult to find in India but then not entirely impossible. The Mercedes SLK350 price in India stands out at Rs 61.9 lakhs. This price is ex-show room, Delhi.