No longer the hairdresser's sportscar, the new vastly improved R171 version Mercedes SLK is a genuine challenge to the Porsche Boxster. Using basically the 5.4L V8 from the SL but without the supercharger, the SLK delivers class leading performance with 60mph arriving from rest in comfortably under 5 sec. The SLK also shares it's big brother's electric folding hardtop and adjustable gearbox modes for comfort, sport and manual.
Mercedes' new 7-speed auto is also fitted but disappointingly for keen drivers, there is no manual option. Traction control can also be intrusive but all in all, the £50k SLK delivers a keen driving experience while cosseted in the usual Mercedes levels of luxury.