First Drive: 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK

There's never been an excess of room inside the SLK, and the new model is no different. A 6'2" passenger with a 34-inch inseam just fit with his back against the wall, trading seatback rake for precious legroom. But the seats are perfectly comfortable and supportive, with high side bolsters, and active safety headrests to reduce whiplash risk in a rear collision. New head bags are incorporated in the doors and thorax bags in the upper seatbacks to protect driver and passenger in side collisions, and Attention Assist monitors drowsy driving behavior, sending a vibration through the wheel when a dotted lane marker is crossed.

Other new SLK options include the Parktronic with parking guidance, Keyless-Go, COMAND with a 7-inch color display that replaces the standard model's new 5.8-inch color display, red ambient lightning during exit and entry, and active bi-xenon headlamps with curve illumination. Most options are bundled into a variety of packages, as usual.

A rich variety of exterior colors are available. The most subliminally wicked color -- one which drew everyone who saw it -- was called "designo magno glacier grey," a striking matte grey paint that is part of the very exotic and optional "designo" line. Inside, the designo titanium grey/black leather sported matte-finish silver leather seat and door trim, which was a tad more disco than evil.

Prices on both SLK350 and SLK250 have yet to be revealed. Perhaps at that time, Mercedes-Benz will also confirm an AMG version of SLK to follow, although the hints were broad enough to assume the obvious.

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There was nothing good about the C class suspension that I drove back in 2008. I am the only one that find the ride more econobox than German luxury? Comparing this suspension to the C class does it no favors. Surely it deserves more text on the subject.

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