Join Date: Mar 2010
Vehicle: 2006 SLK280 MT
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40 degrees? No problem
I was wondering what the lowest tolerable temperature would be for a decent top-down roadtrip ...
This morning I pulled out of the driveway, top-down, at 6:50 a.m. The car temp gauge said 46 but that turned out to be "driveway temp." Once the car got moving the gauge dropped to 40 degrees. A neighbor spotted the car creeping quietly out of the driveway in the dark and gave a disbelieving wave as the SLK350 purred by.
For this expedition I wore blue jeans, a long sleeved shirt, a light sweater, an insulated leather jacket, a ski hat and gloves. My buddy Rob appeared to be a member of the Russian mob in his outfit. But then, he always looks that way.
Starting from Tucson, Arizona, our goal was to drive the scenic Rt 83 down to Sonoita, Patagonia and Nogales. Speed limits run 75 MPH on the short stretch of I-10 we covered, then 55 MPH on most of Rt 83. Although there were no highway speed traps, this is an area with a large Border Patrol presence, which can startle an unwary driving enthusiast.
The scenery was superb as the sun rose over the mountains. The air was crystal clear, as we usually get on a windless day. The road rose up to 5,000 feet above sea level and the temp dropped to 39, but we were comfortable with the windows rolled up, seat heaters on occasionally, and the cabin heat set at 72 (no Airscarf).
We stopped in at Patagonia for a snack and a browse around that old town, then continued almost to Nogales (the border with Mexico) and turned around. By the time we got back to I-10 the temp was a balmy 54 and we rolled down the windows -- but kept the hats on.
Roundtrip was 150 miles, averaging 26 MPG, and we were home by 10 a.m. So yes, the SLK is fine even in the cool weather, with a reasonable amount of warm clothing. Can't wait to do it again!