Find a car review

Make
Model

Mercedes-Benz SLK 250 CDI diesel review

It's a diesel sports car! We review the Mercedes-Benz SLK 250 CDI AMG Sport roadster

Evo rating
Price
from £36,255
  • An economical sports car
  • Emphasis is on 'eco' not 'sporty'

What is it? The Mercedes-Benz SLK 250 CDI, a diesel version of Merc’s folding hard-top roadster. And while oil-burning convertibles have been a staple premium manufacturer product for a number of years, this is the first two-seat, rear-drive drop-top that runs on diesel. It costs £32,255 in basic trim, or £36,255 as the AMG Sport we’ve tested here. Technical highlights? The headlines are grabbed by the SLK’s engine, a four-cylinder, 2.1-litre unit that’s used in the C-class saloon. Its 201bhp sounds underwhelming but its far healthier maximum torque figure – 368lb ft – is delivered from just 1600rpm. Tax band E CO2 emissions (132g/km) and claimed 56.5mpg look impressive alongside a 6.7sec dash to 62mph. AMG Sport trim doesn’t mean it rolls off the production line alongside SLS supercars; it’s merely a BMW M Sport-style trim line which is differentiated from standard by 18in alloy wheels and 10mm lower sports suspension. What’s it like to drive? With the rumoured BMW Z4 diesel yet to surface, has Mercedes scored an enviable first? No. That’s the impression as you turn the key and its CDI engine rattles into life. Sports cars simply shouldn’t sound like this. Once on the move, there’s not much to change your mind. With such meaty low-down torque, it’s relatively easy to overwhelm the rear tyres, particularly if the roads are greasy, but it’s not behaviour that feels natural. The SLK is a capable and tidy handler but enthusiastic driving is neither fun nor particularly rewarding. The standard 7-speed automatic gearbox is well suited to the engine, but you’ll need to be in Sport or Manual modes if you want snappy response to throttle inputs. Our test car’s ride felt very firm, and with most SLK CDI buyers likely to be seeking out a comfortable, economical cruiser, we imagine the standard suspension is the better option – especially with the base car being four grand cheaper. How does it compare? The only diesel roadster that comes to mind is the Audi TT TDI Quattro; it’s cheaper at £30,300, but less powerful (168bhp, 258lb ft) and less economical (51.4mpg, 144g/km and tax band F). It remains to be seen whether the Z4 – the SLK’s most natural rival – will get diesel power. Anything else I need to know? Enthusiastic driving saw our mpg in the mid 30s, more mixed driving around 43mpg. To its credit – and unusually in the current car market – the CDI is over two grand cheaper than its petrol 250 equivalent, so the mpg and tax savings will be felt immediately.

Specifications

EngineIn-line 4-cyl, 2143cc, turbodiesel
Max power201bhp @ 4200rpm
Max torque368lb ft @ 1600rpm
0-606.7sec (claimed 0-62)
Top speed151mph (claimed)
On saleNow
Advertisement
Advertisement

Have You Considered

Visit/mercedes/gle/201748/2019-mercedes-gle400d-review-a-worthy-original
Mercedes GLE

2019 Mercedes GLE400d review – a worthy original

12 Sep 2019
Visit/porsche/porsche-911-carrera-4/201744/2019-porsche-911-carrera-4-and-carrera-4-cabriolet-detailed
Porsche 911 Carrera 4

2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and Carrera 4 Cabriolet detailed

12 Sep 2019
Visit/mercedes/201726/mercedes-amg-electric-car-to-target-porsche-taycan-and-tesla-model-s
Mercedes

Mercedes-AMG electric car to target Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model S

10 Sep 2019
Visit/volkswagen/18328/2020-volkswagen-id3-revealed-vws-electric-revolution-is-here
Volkswagen

2020 Volkswagen ID.3 revealed - VW’s electric revolution is here

9 May 2019

Most Popular

Visit/features/17721/the-best-family-cars-that-are-fun-to-drive
Best cars

Best family cars that are still fun to drive

Saloon, hatchback or SUV, family cars come in all shapes and sizes, and needn’t be a snore to drive. These are some of the team’s favourites.
13 Sep 2019
Visit/electric-cars/201750/volkswagen-id3-r-considered-the-next-generation-golf-r
electric cars

Volkswagen ID.3 R considered – the next-generation Golf R

Bosses confirm a hot electric VW is under consideration, and we could see it within the next five years
12 Sep 2019
Visit/abarth/201755/2020-abarth-595-pista-arrives-with-162bhp
Abarth 595

2020 Abarth 595 Pista arrives with 162bhp

The supermini has been given a new Garrett turbocharger, paint options and tweaks inside
13 Sep 2019
Visit/features/22773/goodyear-eagle-f1-supersport-chosen-by-those-in-the-know-advertisement-feature
Advertisement Feature

Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport - chosen by those in the know

The perfect choice for those looking to extract every last drop of performance, we run down Goodyear's Eagle F1 SuperSport range
12 Jun 2019