Part the second
After lunch the cloud base had lifted and apart from an odd spot of rain it was really pleasant, roof down and time to take some pics so off around the corner to Avon Dassett. I discovered this picturesque hamlet by chance only last week and was taken by its charming beauty, it's well worth passing through if you're in the area. Anyway back to the test....with the weather improved and my confidence in myself and the car growing it was time to head home, top down and Sport + all the way.
This car is an absolute hoot!!! It sits at about 3000rpm willing you to to press the go pedal, drops a gear or two (maybe three?) readily and screams away accompanied by the most glorious soundtrack......
.....So let's get this out of the way now. No, it's not a V8 and it doesn't have a handbuilt by Wolfgang plate on top of the engine. For whatever reason, and I certainly don't intend to debate it, those days are gone I think.
BUT: I am confident that any SLK55 owners willing to give the little six-pot three litre bi-turbo an even chance will not be disappointed, I'd almost guarantee it in fact. It's up to you....take one for a proper test drive, preferably for a day and I'm sure this upstart will win you over.
Other things to note. 9- speed box is pretty much faultless as far as I can tell, I love the rear haunches, reminiscent of the XK/R, they look great in the mirrors just as they do in the Jag. The interior is a very pleasant place to be, good driving position, well contoured seat, nice fit and finish, great Harmon Kardon stereo, a very polite sat nav lady who says "please" turn left......., no knocks, rattles or creaks from the roof, up or down (only to be expected I guess). Even the useless looking fold down wind deflectors are in fact pretty effective (I was amazed).
I forgot the brakes, mmmm, the brakes. When I got in it and pulled out of the dealership and slowed at the dual carriageway I nearly went through the windscreen. Now the brakes on the SLK aren't too shabby (but will need front discs and pads this year) but these.....after a few score miles I was totally used to them and boy! Do they inspire confidence. I think they'll stop this thing from a hundred plus on a sixpence.
As for looks, I like it! The "diamond" grille isn't as in your face as some people fear, it's a well balanced design I think with some subtle upgrade styling cues, the exhaust pipes are not plastic.....as far as I can tell!
So, nearly home after an exhilarating run, time to pop into work at Cotswold Airport for a coffee and write Part 2. Better put the roof up just in case. Boot opens, rear deck moves an inch, then nothing. Try again, same result. Open boot check my gear hasn't shifted and jammed something, try again, same result. Now I have a problem. I'm twenty five miles from home, with a roof I can't close on a very thundery day......abandon coffee and head for the dealership!
I manage to reprogram the sat nav en route to take the fastest route thus avoiding traffic, as I head south west I can see some very ominous clouds ahead, I pray I don't have to stop! On the M4 westbound the heavens open and it absolutely hammers it down, what to do?......go faster of course! At 70 barely a drop enters the car and I make the dealership at Cribbs Causeway with barely a spot of water in the cockpit, race inside and hurriedly explain my predicament. A very cool young man says "let's take a look Sir shall we?" Tries the roof, same result, looks at the back and flips the near side plastic hinge cover with his finger - hey presto the roof closes perfectly! "Don't worry sir it just needs a slight adjustment". Phew! I'm sooooo relived. Roof firmly closed I head home through darkening skies and heavy rain showers.
25.2 ave. MPG
Five hours behind the wheel.
She's now parked on the drive and I'm enjoying a beer as I write.
So, how to sum up a fantastic days test drive?
It was a VERY enjoyable experience and the SLC43 AMG is a very lovely and rewarding car to drive, it's almost like three cars......in Eco/Comfort it will tootle all day long and if you wanted to do the shopping in it you could easily do so and without any effort (assuming you're happy to park it in the supermarket car park and don't buy much shopping). Not only that but when you let off in Eco you get a pretty blue sailing yacht to admire......
In Sport it's a fun car, goes brilliantly, sounds good and rewards your inputs.
In Sport + it's totally BONKERS! Sounds AbFab, goes like the proverbial, and gives you a grin from here to Blackpool.
Personally, at the price point I think Mercedes Benz have an absolute winner on their hands, it should sell like hot cakes.
Would I buy one? At the drop of a hat
NB Do pop by tomorrow for Part 3 to see how it handles monsoon rain and muddy fields......