EPA-estimated to achieve up to 33 mpg on the highway
Up to 415 horsepower and 398 lb.-ft. of torque
Mercedes-Benz redesigned its SLK-Class 2-door hardtop convertible in 2012, meaning the 2013 model arrives with only a few changes. Highlights include the introduction of Mbrace2 safety technology, an available start/stop feature engineered to improve fuel efficiency, and additional standard features for the mid-level SLK350 model.
Technically, the lineup's entry-level model, the SLK250, is well equipped with a power-retractable hardtop, heated power-folding mirrors with driver's side auto-dimming, rain-sensing wipers, 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in performance tires, sport-tuned suspension, variable-ratio steering, and dual chrome exhaust tips. The 2013 SLK350 adds remote control to the power-retractable hardtop and 18-inch alloy wheels, while the SLK55 AMG features an AMG-tuned suspension, revised styling and rear spoiler to improve aerodynamics, and high-performance tires.
The interior of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLK250 is equipped with leather upholstery, Bluetooth connectivity and streaming audio, leather-wrapped power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with integrated controls, aluminum and stainless steel trim, auto-dimming rearview mirror, power seats with 8-way adjustment for the driver, and memory settings for up to three drivers. Buyers of this SLK-Class model also get a USB port, HD Radio, and a console-mounted central control dial linked to a 5.8-inch display.
A move up to the 2013 SLK350 opens the door to standard heated seats, premium 500-watt surround-sound system, satellite radio service, and Mercedes' Airscarf system, which blows warm air from the lower part of the head restraints.
In addition to these amenities, the SLK55 AMG offers upgraded leather upholstery, red ambient interior lighting, sport steering wheel, and brushed aluminum foot pedals.
Mercedes-Benz offers a broad selection of options for the 2013 SLK-Class, one of which is a Premium 1 package for the SLK250 that is comprised of the remote-control hardtop, heated front seats, Airscarf, 500-watt audio upgrade, and satellite radio.
SLK250 and SLK350 models share a Trim package featuring burl walnut interior accents, Lighting package with adaptive and active HID headlights with washers, and a Sport package including 18-inch AMG alloy wheels, lower body kit, and red ambient lighting. A Dynamic Handling package is also available, providing access to an electronic suspension with two modes, torque-vectoring brakes to limit understeer, and a sport button.
For buyers focused on ultimate safety, a Driver Assistance package fits the SLK250 and SLK350 with pre-collision braking, blind-spot monitoring and lane-departure warning systems, and intelligent cruise control.
The list of extras also includes a Multimedia package boasting a navigation system, 10-GB hard drive, SD card reader, 7-inch screen, and Gracenote technology that enhances the listening experience by adding missing song titles and cover art to files on their MP3 players, and recommends targeted playlists based on the user's preferences.
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG can also be equipped with the Multimedia and Lighting packages, as well as its own AMG Handling package consisting of an AMG differential lock, AMG sport steering wheel, performance suspension, upgraded 18-inch alloy wheels, and an electronically limited top speed of 174 mph.
Depending on which SLK-Class model is selected, stand-alone options may include push-button start, dual-zone climate control, electrochromic roof panel (can be adjusted from transparent to opaque), front and rear park-assist sensors, and a portable Becker Map Pilot navigation device.
Under the Hood
A direct-injection, turbocharged, 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking Mercedes-Benz, but that is indeed what buyers will find under the hood of the 2013 SLK250. Output measures 202 horsepower and 229 lb.-ft. of torque, and is directed to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed automatic.
The mid-level Mercedes-Benz SLK350 is equipped with a direct-injection, 3.5-liter V-6 engine that generates 302 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque, and is paired with a 7-speed automatic transmission featuring manual, sport, and efficiency modes. For 2013, the SLK350 adds a new automatic start/stop system intended to improve efficiency.
Positioned at the top of the powertrain lineup is the SLK55 AMG and its direct-injection, 5.5-liter V-8 engine producing 415 horsepower and 398 lb.-ft. of torque, and featuring fuel-saving cylinder deactivation and start/stop technologies. An AMG-tuned 7-speed automatic transmission is standard and includes manual, sport, and efficiency modes, as well as paddle shifters.
EPA fuel-economy estimates for the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class are:
SLK250 with manual transmission: 22/32/26 mpg (city/highway/combined)
SLK250 with automatic transmission: 23/33/26 mpg
SLK350: 21/29/24 mpg
SLK55 AMG: 19/28/22 mpg
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class' standard safety components include 8 air bags, front active head restraints, traction control, LED daytime running lights, Attention Assist (sends audible and visual alerts when sensors determine driver may be drowsy), rear roll bars, and 4-wheel anti-lock ventilated disc brakes featuring brake assist. Each 2013 SLK-Class also now features Mbrace2, a system that alerts authorities in the event of an emergency and allows limits to be placed on vehicle speed and travel area, capability Mercedes-Benz suggests is beneficial when the car is put in the hands of young drivers.
As this preview is written, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has rated the crashworthiness of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class.