Who needs to stop at the coffee shop when you’ve got this angry little pistol? The Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 convertible may not fit the bill for big and tall motorists – that’s why Goddess made Mustang floptops – but its 3.5 liter, 6-cylinder, 7-speed transmission seems King Kong- sized and it’ll get your heart rate up and your eyes bulging better than your morning cawfee. I carved corners, stepped on it when the coast was clear, spun the car’s racy flat-bottom steering wheel left and right to my heart’s content and dug its 11-speaker, 500-wattharman/kardon surround sound system through a blissful week’s test. It was the summer of Auto Gigolo.
The SLK-350 comes with three different engines – a 4-cylinder turbo, a V-8 and my tester, the aforementioned V-6. The list of SLK optional goodies is long and luxurious, but smart-looking 18-inch wheels, fine interior wood trim, LED daytime running lamps, adaptive bi-xenon headlamps, heated seats, keyless start, leather seats, 8-way power sports seats all come with. You’ll also love the 302 horsepower engine mated to a standard 7-speed automatic gearbox with staggered wheels and tires, combining the premium package, Logic7 surround sound, satellite radio and the Airscarf neck-warming system at no extra cost.
Safety-wise, the SLK comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, 10 airbags, active headrests, aluminum roll bars behind those headrests and a plethora of computer-driven safety systems, including a driver-drowsiness monitor. It also comes with the mbrace2 safety telematics suite, connecting your car, computer and/or compatible smartphone to both cloud-based and GPS technology, enhancing emergency response times and the like. Watch where you’re going anyway, please.
Will you be revving the SLK 350 through a snowstorm, helping a pal move a pool table, or lugging a set of drums to a gig? No. But that’s not the point when your top comes down in a mere 20 seconds and you’ve got crisp metallic trim on your gauges, controls and air vents reminiscent of Benz’s SLS AMG supercar. This is a here-now car – or, rather, here and gone.