So what’s Mercedes come up with to mark the SLK’s first decade?
The SLK Edition 10, a special version of the roadster with some very special paint. No different mechanically from the existing production cars, the Edition 10 is distinguished by 10-spoke, 17-inch wheels finished in chrome-shadow, and dark tinted rear lights. Most Edition 10s will come finished in black for that sinister look, although silver is an option. But 350 cars will be coated in allanite grey Magno – a bizarre matt-grey metallic. It looks very strange – like it left the paintshop after the base coat was applied but without the glossy lacquer – and comes with strict instructions not to put the car through a mechanical car wash or to polish it. Doing either could make the paint shine, ruining the whole effect.
What’s it like behind the wheel?
Pretty inviting, what with those silver-stitched heated black leather seats and the bright red instrument markings. Like all SLKs, the Edition 10 feels solidly made, has plenty of cabin room, a brilliantly slick folding hard-top and even a senisbly sized boot, at least when the roof is up. You can have an Edition 10 with any of the SLK’s engines apart from the V8 fitted to the AMG-fettled SLK55. In fact the 55’s no loss: the 268bhp 350 V6 still provides plenty of shove, hitting sixty in 5.6sec, and sounds fairly special too.
If you want six-cylinder smoothness but aren’t so obsessed about outright pace, there’s the 228bhp 280 (62mph in 6.3sec) or if you aren’t bothered about pace at all, you could opt for the entry level SLK200 version of the Edition 10. This 1.8-litre supercharged four isn’t remotely sporty and sounds about as exciting as an evening in front of the tumble drier. In fact, the boom when overtaking that seems to have been added to inject a bit of excitement can be a real pain. But in other respects, this engine is a gem. It’s only got 161bhp, but the 177lb ft of torque is spread right across the middle range where you need it. So while the 8.0sec 0-62mph time is nothing to get excited about, the real-world mid-range grunt makes it really relaxing to drive and probably also contributed to the excellent economy.
We drove over 1000 miles of mixed driving and never recorded less than 30mpg, getting nearer 40mpg on a motorway run. It’s that kind of character that defines the way the chassis feels, too. It’s fun enough when you want it to be, accurate, grippy and always controlled, but not so overly dynamic that it ever becomes a pain to live with. The steering is less communicative than a Boxster’s, but less tiresome too. And no sports car is more comfortable.
We’re big fans of the SLK and, although we’d be paranoid about wrecking that special paintwork, the rest of the kit that comes with the £29,725 SLK200 Edition 10 is well worth the £1200 premium over a stock SLK200 which comes without leather and on tiny wheels as standard. Given the choice, though, we’d save up the extra for a Porsche Boxster.