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2011 Mercedes Benz SLK Roadster Road Test Review by Martha Hindes

2011 Sexy Car Buyer's Guide by Martha Hindes

2011 Mercedes-Benz SLK Roadster

You could say the 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLK roadster is a bit of a conundrum. With one of the finest names in autodom as its heritage, it still gets saddled with that plebeian "entry level" badge. Isn't that rather like referring to Paris Hilton as a "broad?"

Silver spoon breeding brings a natural expectation of superiority and the SLK has it in bulk. The only problem is it doesn't reach the breathtaking summit of excess that only the rich and famous, or rich and infamous can aspire to. That's like having an SL 550 topless model in Lindsay Lohan's garage, perhaps (for those days she's not doing time, oops we meant "therapy," for her naughty, unbridled living). We're sure she'd nix an auto with five instead of six digit pricing, even if it still needs to hold a barf bag.

The 2011 SLK will get booted off the viewing stand shortly with the advent of the NEW AND IMPROVED TA DAA!!! next generation models, crowned by the AMG-tweaked SLK 55. But you know, folks. We still like the 2011. Here's why:

Start with the retractable hard top that makes it two cars in one -- a weather-worthy coupe or balmy day sunbather when the top's down. (If we're going to pay $50-plus K for a car, dividing its use into two parts sounds like a bargain.)

We also get two gutsy V-6 engine choices, 228 HP with six-speed manual standard (auto optional), and 300 HP with seven-speed auto. (Those numbers don't match the SLK 300 and SLK 350 designations respectively, so something seems lost in translation.) No problem with the SLK 350's MPG rating at 19/25 (auto). Best is its intoxicating, world class grip and handling (a haunting memory of our very first tap on its accelerator). It simply owns the road.

So, when we come into our expected millions -- lottery, Vegas, maybe from an unknown relative who remembered us in a will -- that's when we'll look beyond the interim SLK ranks. If we totally assimilate being nouveau riche while acquiring, say, exquisite diamonds from Elizabeth Taylor's estate sale, we'll toss off some jewels of our own. Then we can say our next car -- perhaps an SLS AMG supercar at a mere $183,000 -- is like comparing a Koenigsegg to a Yugo, or an F16 fighter to an ultra light, or something equally ludicrous.

Fat chance that would happen. That little 2011 SLK we've been eyeing is an awfully sweet stopgap, the kind you daydream about while passing an M-B dealership or that wakes you up with sheet metal envy from a deep sleep at night. It's not only gorgeous, but it's actually sexy as eternal inferno, if you get the drift.

For more info on the 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLK Roadster, click here.


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