Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Interior
Though snug, the 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLK's interior is the ultimate in luxury and comfort. Car and Driver says the SLK "drips posh," while the notes the cabin "feels suitably rich and refined."
Most see the materials as top-notch. "Inside the cabin, Mercedes has installed attractive, soft-touch material for the top of the dash, glovebox and doors, while plastics of similar quality fill in the rest," says Edmunds. Forbes calls the interior "elegant," while says it's "so artful and handsome that you could move in for a few days and not even grow restless."
The SLK's power-retractable hardtop -- which raises or lowers in 22 seconds -- is a reviewer favorite and gives it excellent sound damping for a convertible. The Car and Driver says the steel roof "creates a far more peaceable kingdom underneath than its canvas-topped competitors." However, AutoWeek comments that noise in the cabin is "on the high side, but the majority seems to emanate from the tires."says it "allows a quiet interior and is cleverly designed." Likewise,
The SLK's two-seat cabin is compact -- and it may not be for everyone. Forbes suggests "larger drivers should take a spin with the top both up and down to make sure it's comfortable over the long haul; getting in and out can be tricky with the top up." The finds the cabin adequate for the driver, but notes problems when it's packed to maximum capacity: "Long-distance drives in this little car will leave you and your passenger stiff and grumpy. If you started out as spouses, best friends or lovers, there's a good chance you might not remain that way by the end of your journey in the roadster."
Still, the seats make for a pleasant experience. Cars.com found them "adeptly supportive and snugly bolstered, yet surprisingly comfortable." Likewise, Edmunds says, "The soft and supportive seats remain comfortable even after several hours of driving." The , says that the SLK 350's small cabin "means if you are accustomed to leaning back a bit as you caress the steering wheel, forget it ... The driver's seat, for example, keeps your body upright, whether you want to be upright or not."
The 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLK comes standard with electronic cruise control, dual-zone climate control, eight-way manual sport seats with leather upholstery, and an in-dash single CD player. A DVD-based navigation system (and COMAND head unit) is available with the optional Premium III package.
An innovative option (and another reviewer favorite) is AIRSCARF, a system that channels warm air through the headrests to the occupants' neck and shoulders. "It actually works quite well, and when it's combined with traditional seat heaters, the 2007 Mercedes-Benz SLK becomes one of the most useful all-weather convertibles on the market," says Edmunds. The system compensates for changes in speed and air temperature and is operated via three-stage temperature controls. It's available with the optional Heating Package, which also includes heated seats and a cloth windscreen.
Though most are quite happy with the SLK's features, the controls leave something to be desired. Buyers who choose the optional upgraded stereo or navigation system will get COMAND, a sometimes-complicated system that integrates several of the car's functions -- which is not well-liked. "The COMAND system, like BMW's iDrive, drives us nuts," says AutoWeek. "Some on staff simply refuse to interact with it -- leaving the counterintuitive navigation system and stereo off -- which in a car like the SLK is fine because simply driving the car provides enough entertainment all on its own."
But even without COMAND, the controls can be complicated. Car and Driver notes that a few testers "complained about confusion with the SLK's button-dense dash." Consumer Guide finds the controls "close at hand, but not all are obviously marked, and steering-column stalk for cruise control invites confusion with turn-signal lever." Likewise, Forbes says, "As with all Mercedes-Benzes, there are many buttons and knobs that can seem overwhelming at first." Of course, the one control that everyone loves is the hardtop operation, which Consumer Guide calls "a one-button breeze."
Still, a few reviews speak more highly of the dashboard and control layout. "The climate-control layout varies depending on whether you add a navigation system, but both arrangements use easy-to-decipher dials," comments Edmunds. calls the dash "busy but intuitive," and BusinessWeek concludes, "The instruments are easy and intuitive to use (I can testify to that, because my test car had no owner's manual)."
The SLK provides 9.8 cubic feet of trunk space with the top raised and 6.5 cubic feet with the top lowered. With the top down, Consumer Guide says there's "just enough space for a couple of soft suitcases." Raising the roof, on the other hand, "frees sufficient trunk volume for a long weekend." BusinessWeek agrees, commenting, "The snugness with which the hard top and glass rear window fit into the trunk is a feat of engineering because it leaves a reasonable amount of luggage space."
Interior storage includes an enclosed space in the center console and on the rear cabin wall, an illuminated glove box, pockets in both doors, and a parcel net in the right front foot well. BusinessWeek calls this space "especially scant," noting that "the CD changer in my test car took up the entire glovebox." Likewise, the says it's "challenging to find a place to put anything, especially if the passenger seat is occupied by a passenger."
However,commends the SLK for its storage space, saying, "Storage pockets and cupholders are cleverly engineered into the cabin, when it seems like there should be no room." Likewise, the review credits Mercedes for including retractable cup holders -- but also complains that they're "in a funny place, at the top of the center stack -- where a 20-ounce soda bottle tends to bump into the rearview mirror."