2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK
A version of the folding hardtop with a panoramic glass roof will be an option, as will a third version with the new "Magic Sky Control" photochromic glass panel, which darkens or goes clear at the touch of a button. When it's dark, it casts a bluish light over the cockpit, and takes a few seconds longer to get to that state, but it's a tech fancy that's been talked about for at least two decades and finally is here--and works as advertised.
As it has since the SLK was born 15 years ago, the folding top leaves precious little luggage space when it's hidden. A flexible cargo lid inside the trunk has to be latched in place over some of the cargo hold before the top can be moved--and on one hard bump, it dislodged from its track, which meant a trip to the deckled for a reset. A backpack-sized space lies under the flat floor; lift out a formed plastic bin and hide valuables, or flip it on its other side for a shallow well that adds a cubic foot or a little more to the equation. In all, there are 10.1 cubic feet of stowage with the roof up, but only a scant 6.4 cubes when it's out of sight.
Safety equipment on the 2012 SLK includes dual front, side and head airbags with a driver knee airbag; anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control; mbrace telematics; active head restraints; and Attention Assist, which flashes an alert to drowsy drivers in the form of a steaming cup of coffee. There's no rearview camera at all, but as long as the top is down, there's little need for one.
Standard equipment includes the usual power windows, locks and mirrors; climate control; an eight-speaker AM/FM/CD player with HD radio, a USB port and Bluetooth audio streaming; and leather seats.
Many of the SLK's major options are bundled in packages. A Premium package with power seats, a media interface, satellite radio and a Harman/Kardon surround-sound system. A Trim package adds walnut to the shifter and steering wheel; a Lighting package adds cornering lights and active bi-xenon headlights. The Sport package gets its own AMG-style 18-inch wheels and distinct body add-ons, as well as ambient interior lighting; a Heating package adds the wonderful AIRSCARF jet of air for your neck, and heated seats. A Multimedia package tops it off with COMAND controller and hard-drive navigation with real-time traffic; a six-DVD changer, a 10GB hard drive and an SD card slot for audio.
Stand-alone options include push-button start; automatic dual-zone climate control; parking sensors; and a panoramic glass roof without the photochromic effect.
It may be the most pragmatic roadster of its kind, but the SLK 350 dares you to doubt its partying skills. It rolls into showrooms in June, with pricing still to come.