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2001 Mercedes-Benz SLK

2001 Mercedes-Benz SLK
New SLK 320 comes with big V6 engine.

By Jim McCraw

Review Pages
1. Overview
2. Walkaround and Interior
3. Driving Impressions
4. Summary, Prices, Specs

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The Mercedes-Benz SLK has undergone a major makeover for the 2001 model year. Mercedes has redesigned the exterior, completely redesigned the interior, and, for the first time, is offering a wider choice of engines and transmissions. New for 2001 is the SLK 320, which comes with a powerful V6 engine.

All this comes at attractive prices when compared to its chief competitors in the marketplace: the Porsche Boxster, the new Audi TT roadster, the BMW Z3 2.8 and the Honda S2000. This may help Mercedes to maintain the SLK's position as the best-selling roadster in its class, worldwide.

The 2001 SLK 230 Kompressor retails for $38,900, down from $41,000 in 2000. The 2001 SLK 320 retails for $43,900. Both offer impressive lists of standard equipment.

Model Lineup

All SLK models are two-seat roadsters with a full power folding steel weatherproof top.

The original SLK 230 Kompressor, with its supercharged 2.3-liter 190-horsepower four-cylinder engine, becomes the base model from now on. It offers the buyer a choice of either a new 6-speed manual gearbox (that replaces the 5-speed manual) or a 5-speed automatic transmission that can be shifted like a manual.

New for 2001 is the SLK 320, which packs a much stronger 3.2-liter V6 engine. This same engine powers the much larger and heavier E 320 sedan and generates 215 horsepower, nearly 15 percent more than the SLK 230's four-cylinder engine.

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