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Read the complete 2013 Mercedes SLK250 Review at AutoGuide.comNew Mercedes makes an attractive value proposition
by Mark Atkinson
This era of engine downsizing has offered up some interesting results. Who would’ve thought six-cylinder F-150s would dominate the sales chart and BMW would offer a four-cylinder 5 Series? Madness!
The latest comes from Mercedes-Benz, which is following the trend in various C-Class models, but also now with the 2013 SLK. This is more than a little karmic because the original SLK 230 used a supercharged 2.3-liter with 193 horsepower and on paper, the new car isn’t that far ahead of the original.
TINY 4-CYLINDER UNDER THAT BIG HOOD
The current SLK adopts a smaller turbocharged four-cylinder for its new ‘base’ model in North America, the 250. In this case, a 1.8-liter direct-injection unit that produces a healthy 202 horsepower and 229 lb-ft of torque.
Amazingly, our press car came with the extremely rare six-speed manual transmission; something we believe only existed in theory since no one ever orders them.
The company claims the littlest SLK will run from 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds with a human handling the shift duties (6.6 sec. with the seven-speed automatic). Top speed is limited to 130 mph in every SLK except the crazy 415-horse AMG model.
Compared with the carryover V6-powered SLK 350, the four-banger weighs 140 pounds less and gets better gas mileage, only using 22 mpg in the city and 32 on the highway (23/33 with the automatic.)
Mercedes-Benz’ manual transmissions are much improved since the original SLK of nearly 20 years ago. The shift action is no longer notchy and balky while clutch take-up is smoother too. However, there were a few instances when the electronic throttle and some turbo lag at low revs made changing gears under light throttle a tad challenging. When giving it the boot, these issues mainly disappeared.