What is it?
The diesel cabriolet shouldn’t still be a conundrum. Well over half of new car sales are diesel and ever-improving refinement has made oil burners acceptable, even desirable, in a performance-oriented installation.
That Mercedes has decided to fit its popular baby roadster with its 201bhp twin-turbodiesel four-pot is testament to the demand for sporting image without the associated high running costs. The SLK 250 CDI gets the company’s single-clutch '7G’ seven-speed automatic as standard, and here we’re testing the Sport model, which gets 10mm lowered ride height and 18-inch alloys as standard.
What’s it like?
Pretty good, if a little underwhelming if you’re hoping for an enthusiastic drive.
In normal use the powertrain is actually more cohesive than some of the petrol counterparts. The ratios are well chosen, and whilst this is not the quickest gearbox around it’s rare to find it picking an awkward gear. Simply put, it’s a great car for sticking in ‘economy’ and cruising around without having to think about it.
And if you want more vigorous progress, with 369lb ft of torque there’s gobs of acceleration in the mid-range and this makes the diesel SLK a rapid and relaxing thing to drive quickly.