The SLK has evolved nicely over the years, with more focus and grace, and just the right amount of intoxicating sports-car urgency combined with true mini-SL gravitas it never possessed in its earlier lives.
We won't mask our love for the new Porsche Boxster, or neglect to note that the current BMW Z4 is now the better touring car for the closet speed freak. But the Mercedes SLK has its own visceral pace and pulse; it holds its own in the corners, and proves that it's still a three-way arms race.
The 2013 SLK Class is offered in three quite dramatically different personalities. At the base end there's the SLK 250 and its 201-horsepower, 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine; we still haven't driven variants with this engine, but we've found it plenty perky in the C Class--and it's the only way you can get an SLK with a (six-speed) manual gearbox. What most are probably going to find the best compromise between price and performance in the lineup is the SLK 350 and its 302-hp, 3.5-liter V-6. But those who always need to have the best and fastest will head straight to the sizzling V-8-powered SLK 55 AMG.
Over extensive drive time in the SLK 350, we've found it easy to get used to this model's rhythm and drivability. With any of these automatic models, there's a paddle-shifted seven-speed automatic pushing force to the rear wheels in a mostly smooth way. Massive, biting brakes are in store, either way, and new torque-vectoring control works with the SLK's stability control to tighten cornering, giving this latest edition a lot of tech weaponry to tackle corners.
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