Mercedes SLK 250 - driven before presentation

Mercedes SLK 250 - driven before presentation

As soon as I saw the first pictures of the new Mercedes SLK, I concluded it would be one of the brand's biggest styling failures. Particularly the front seemed somewhat uncertain of its identity, with headlights enlarged to emphasize its facial expression. However, that was just an impression from looking at the pictures, and as we know, even the most beautiful woman can look dreadful in photos if she's not photogenic. Therefore, I reserved my final judgment on the little Merc until I saw it in person and took it for a spin.

I must admit, I began to change my mind when I saw the smallest Benz in the parking lot. Contrary to earlier appearances, the small roadster started to take shape in my eyes. The white color, AMG styling, eighteen-inch wheels, red leather, and quite decent equipment—all contributed to its appeal. The front lights no longer looked so intrusive; instead, they added vigor to the little beast. The rear, short yet wide with two exhaust tips, fitting for a sports car. Getting into the car was akin to entering a thoroughbred racer, much like a Ferrari F355—wide threshold and a necessary strong lowering of the posterior. Inside, it felt low and snug, with the front windshield sharply inclined, leaving a limited field of view.

The dashboard, as expected from Mercedes, was very clear and functional, but compared to the limousines under the three-pointed star, it exhibited much more flair and a hint of sportiness, while maintaining total quality. Round, firmly embedded gauges and circular air vents reminiscent of Mercedes' glory days on the racetracks. Looking at this dashboard, you forget about the boring yet loyal taxis, retirees in S-classes, and feel that this could be a car for adventures. The seat adjusted, mirrors set, ready to hit the road to see if the design was just a glimpse of its capabilities. And here comes the first surprise. The engine sound unfortunately does not beckon to the category of sports cars, immediately giving away its small size and mere four cylinders... But I won't jump to conclusions right after the start; I'll give it a chance to warm up, maybe it will be similar to the photo.

At low revs, it resembles a Ferrari F40, before the turbo kicks in, it moves like it's being pushed by a wheelbarrow. Only the compressor adds some kick to the small engine (1.8 liters), and the SLK 250 reaches the first hundred in just 6.6 seconds. Importantly, it continues to smoothly rev up, effortlessly propelling the little Benz to 200 km/h and above. The top speed of this toy is 243 km/h. The tested SLK was equipped with suspension bearing the AMG emblem, which meant it hugged the road perfectly. Whether in long, quickly taken corners or short, narrow ones, it gripped the asphalt without showing any instability. However, if someone gets carried away and exceeds the speed, the small Mercedes shows a slight tendency to understeer. Fortunately for fans of sports cars, thanks to rear-wheel drive, this tendency can be turned into oversteer. However, options to disable all electronics, to the extent Mercedes allows, and playing at the limit of the car's grip should be left only to skilled hands. The small Mercedes has its own abilities, and sports ambitions are dormant within it.

The capabilities and character of the Mercedes SLK 250 raise doubts about whether it's exclusively a car for ladies. The car, however, requires skillful handling and can throw its rear end around, and beautiful ladies may have trouble with their little car, especially in winter, when electronics don't always protect us from the laws of physics. But if not for ladies, then for whom is this car? Certainly for a young and quite wealthy show-off who likes to hunt for long-legged representatives of the opposite sex on city streets. You have a maximum of 20 minutes to fill the passenger seat, and you don't have to spend another night alone. But the Mercedes SLK 250, in this color and with this equipment, catches the eye not only of young materialistic women. Young and old, rich and less wealthy, everyone notices the small, trendy, and incidentally very expensive car. The specimen I traveled in was worth around 250,000 Polish złotys. Considering how small the car is, with a trunk that fits only a few bags and one larger women's handbag, it's really a lot.

Of course, it's a Mercedes, it's quality, history, class, and here, costs don't really matter because those who can afford such toys aren't interested in how much it burns or how much the insurance costs. However, it's worth mentioning that the average fuel consumption that Mercedes provides in the official catalog (6.5 liters) is far from what I observed during the test (13 liters). But despite this, the Mercedes SLK 250 provides a lot of driving pleasure. It's technically refined, qualitatively unrivaled, has sports ambitions, and capabilities that put an end to the myth of retired Mercs, and it looks good. Contrary to my initial opinion, it looks great, like a little aggressor looking only for a confrontation on the street, proudly boasting of its origins.

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