2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 Roadster Review

With a new, aggressive redesign including an SLS-inspired front-end, we review the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 Roadster – with the top down

Some may deem the luxury roadster, including the SLK convertible, a ‘chick car.’ Derogatory term, perhaps, but that’s the argument. However, the third generation 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 Roadster shatters that stigma—a completely redesigned, ultra-aggressive front end and a new, more powerful 6-cyclinder engine, just a couple new features in the 2012 SLK 350, adds a good dose of masculinity missing in the previous models.

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We’re not advocating more ‘manly cars’ here, but nobody will argue with a beefier roadster with more attitude, much like the classic Mercedes-Benz 190 SL roadster from the 1950’s. Today, Mercedes is back on track with the completely newly developed 2012 SLK 350.

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 Roadster Review2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 Roadster Review

Under the hood

Powered by a newly designed 3.5L V6 engine with direct injection, the 2012 SLK 350 puts down a very respectable 302-hp, going from 0-100km/hr in an estimated 5.6 seconds. Acceleration is surprisingly quick; throw the 7-speed automatic into the Sport Shift mode via steering wheel paddles for a much more spirited drive, hitting the shift points at higher (more jovial) rpm. Hey, this ain’t no SL 65, but the 2012 SLK 350 easily holds it’s own.

SLK 350 with Premium Package

Starting at $66,500 CAD MSRP (reaching $76,500 starting price for the highest trim), my 2012 SLK 350 found the Premium Package adding Parktronic system, an analogue clock mounted upper dash, Airguide with aluminum roll-bar inlay, Airscarf, panoramic vario-roof, SIRIUS satellite radio, and Harman/kardon LOGIC 7 Surround Sound System. The Edition 1 Package (as in this tester) adds to the Premium Package: Comand APS with navigation, AMG 18-in. bi-colour wheels, Keyless Go, designo titan pearl/black nappa leather, designo glacier grey MAGNO paint and aluminum trim.

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 Roadster review

Styling

From parking lots to the open roads, the new SLK 350 will garner a great deal attention and finger pointing—the upright (opposed to severely slanted as per outgoing model) and aggressive SLS AMG inspired front end is totally foreign at this time. The all LED technology headlamps (a first for this model), flowing to a stretched out hood, over the classic roofline, into the shorter rear end renders a sporty yet sophisticated 2-seater with pristine proportions.

Interior

Despite having the most compact interior dimensions in its class, the 2012 SLK 350 cabin feels totally spacious yet well-appointed and comfortable. The SLS AMG theme continues inside with four round, galvanized air outlets nestles in the dashboard, adding huge visual impact. Chilly outside? No sweat, despite the cooler evening temperature, we dropped the top anyway, rolled up the windows, activated the heated seats, and turned on the neck-level AIRSCARF heating system integrated into the seats…super cozy, totally brilliant. Most importantly, the rear trunk with carved out inlets on either end allows for a golf bag. Sold.

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 Roadster review

Innovation keeps Mercedes-Benz ahead of the game. They were the first to introduce AIRSCARF, first to introduce the button activated, retractable hardtop in a coupe (dubbed the vario-roof). And, now, in the 2012 SLK 350, they’ve introduced MAGIC SKY CONTROL—a freaky name for a freaky feature, allowing the panoramic glass vario-roof to toggle between light or dark, offering an open, transparent feel or something more private and shaded (or you can just drop the top and blare the heat!).

Learn more about the new Mercedes-Benz SLC Roadster

CONS:

  • MAGIC SKY CONTROL not real magic (that’s all I got)

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 Roadster review

Shooting motors professionally since film was a thing, Amee's work has been published in various outlets including NBC Sports, Chicago Tribune, SuperStreet, GlobeDrive, MotorTrend, and others. He's a writer, editor at TractionLife.com, AJAC member, and full-time digital marketer at Traction Media working with national brands. Find him traveling, spending time with his kids and family. Or golfing, badly.