Coming of age

In a country famed for its wet weather, we are surprisingly a nation of convertible lovers. We’re pulling back the roof to take a look inside the new Mercedes SLK…

We Brits are suckers for anything with a retractable roof. In fact, our love affair with wind-in-your-hair motoring is so great that we are among the biggest buyers of convertibles in Europe.

Enter, then, the Mercedes SLK AMG 55. Since the first generation of SLK twenty years ago, it’s been completely revamped. We now have the third generation, which is as different from the original car as chalk is to cheese.

Need proof? Just take a glance at it. It is, without doubt, a handsome car. With brutishly strong shunt lines carved into the metalwork, it seems to be a scaled-down version of its big brother, the Mercedes SL (never a bad thing.)

725311_MB_SLK_AMG_066Beneath the sleek skin of the SLK sits enough state-of-the-art German engineering to silence its previous critics. What’s more, the SLK’s range of engines (six in total) offers a varied spectrum of choice. From economical diesels to a snarling V8, the SLK suits all requirements from £33,150.

The 420bhp version is designed to amble along in the sunshine. It might not have the horsepower to compete with brasher Porsches, Audi’s and BMW’s, but it’s still a superior drive.

To many convertible enthusiasts, motoring in the harsh British elements would be sacrilege, but this is actually the best possible test for the SLK.

The metal roof is so solid, and the ride so sophisticated, that there are times when you forget this car is a convertible. Instead you focus on the refined fit and finish of the cabin, and the burbling noise expelled from its delightful compliant engine.

725255_MB_SLK_AMG_044And that’s the real ethos of this car. It was never designed to satisfy the power hungry thug. The SLK is a classy cruiser with the ability to go fast, (up to 155mph to be precise), which is something it does exceptionally well.

Quick Facts
Mercedes SLK 55AMG
Engine: 5.5-litre V8 Petrol
Fuel consumption: 33.6 mpg (combined)
CO2 emissions: 195g/km
Top Speed: 155mph (electronically limited)
0-62mph: 4.6 seconds
Price: £55,350

About Charlotte Horlock
As a production assistant Charlotte provides extensive support, from the magazines to our websites and client work. She's multi-talented, working on design, editorial, content copy and production. We hope she never leaves us