If your idea of DIY is anything like mine you probably adhere to a strict mantra of procrastination. If something’s broken, simply wait a while to see if it fixes itself. Mercedes-Benz tried this with the open-air SLK; the infamous wooden-spooner at the Wesbank/SAGMJ Car of the Year in 2012. We all believed two-seat, six-cylinder roadsters couldn’t win; right up until the other Stuttgart-based manufacturer, Porsche, took the crown in 2013 with the Boxster. Mercedes-Benz immediately set about making amends to its open-air formula.
Merc realised customers were put off by having to pay extra for cosmetic enhancements like the AMG Sport package. So the AMG Sport Line is now offered at no additional cost across the range. This gives any four- or six-cylinder SLK the muscular front end, low-hanging side skirts, pronounced rear apron and darkened light clusters of a pseudo-SLK 55 AMG. LED daytime running lights are now standard fitment; as are 18-inch AMG wheels, perforated front brake discs, red contrast stitching and red seat belts that swath the interior.
We sampled the new SLK 250 BlueEFFICIENCY around Kyalami, through a number of dynamic exercises, followed by a brief road loop. The 250 uses the same (but remapped) 1.8-litre turbo engine from the 200, now making 150kW and 310Nm of torque. Those figures aren’t exemplary but driveability is improved over the lethargic SLK 200 and overall efficiency is left uncompromised. A 7G-Tronic Plus transmission is standard and it gives lovely orchestral sounds effects on the up-change through all the gears. It’s still not an out-an-out sports car but it’s a much improved means of moving your shopping about. By Ray Leathern.
Mercedes-Benz SLK 250 BlueEFFICIENCY
Price: R635 811
Engine: 1 796cc, four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol, 150 kW @ 5 500 rpm, 310 Nm @ 2 000 – 4 300 rpm.
Transmission: 7G-Tronic Plus, rear-wheel drive
Suspension: Multi-link front, multi-link independent rear
Length/Width/Height: 4 134/1 810/1 303 mm
Weight: 1 500 kg
Performance: 6.6 secs 0 – 100 kph, 243 kph top speed, 7.3l / 100 km, 166 g/km
On Sale: Now