Thanks for all of the votes on the Car of the Month for July 2021. The photo was taken in a public car park near Burgh Island in South Devon. I’d just polished the car and a late afternoon run was in order. It’s not got a name other than “my car” (rather than “your car”). My Partner’s always had Mercs, she had an R171 230 Kompressor when we first met and currently has a C220, so saying “We’ll go in the Merc” just gets confusing.

I’d been watching SLKs for a while from the viewpoint of my old NC3 MX5 2 Litre Sport. I’d have kept the Mazda if I’d had a garage, I still think it’s a more responsive driver’s car. However, increasing girth and age meant that it was a little too lowand ‘bijoux’ for me to jump in and out of.

Having already had a 2nd hand top spec MX5 with a few extras, I wanted an SLK 350 and I held out for a R172 AMG Sport model. After several months, one came up on a Friday lunchtime and I was told by the Indy dealer that someone was ‘coming to see it tomorrow morning’. A refundable deposit over the phone got me a late afternoon appointment that day. A quick test drive and it was mine. I picked it up a few days later as they needed to give it the usual service and clean up (it had only just come in). They did some paint chips and totally refurbed the wheels to a nice Anthracite/Gunmetal colour of my choosing. It’s a 2012 with 3 previous owners, full MB service history and had 43k on the clock (I’ve had it 3 years and I’m up to 66k now).

I later did the usual VIN check to find out the original spec and was pleased to find out with the help of an old Mercedes sales manual (from eBay) that it has over £6k of ‘options’ on it. Mind you, I think the cup holder was listed as a £90 option so it’s easy to rinse through a few grand. Airscarf is a nice idea but I can never seem to get it right unless I lean my head right back. Heated seats are a winner though. It came to me in a de-badged state so this saved me some work, I think this may have been an option? Auto dimming mirrors and puddle downlights are also nice. Not had any of this stuff in a car before but once you’ve had it…

It brings a smile to my face every time I drive it. EVERY time. I love the sound of the V6 and have been guilty of driving in a lower gear than was necessary through built up streets to hear the noise reverb off the buildings. I do try to have the roof down as much as possible (even in light rain it’s fine). However, in town traffic during a heatwave, my balding head gives in and I put the roof up and put the air con on. Lovely.

Recently I’ve been travelling from Devon to the Isle of Skye and back every month or so, it’s a 1400 mile round trip and the SLK just eats up the miles whilst I sit in comfort. Not something I could do in the MX5, that’s for certain. I love the open roads up past the top of Loch Lomond, sometimes there’s nothing on them for miles and then you’ll come across 2 campervans nose to tail doing 40 on wide open 60mph roads. Like most of us with performance cars, I have on occasion made ‘purposeful progress’, though I tend not to make a habit of this. It has the ability to scare me, I’ll never get anywhere near using all of its power, it just keeps accelerating when you floor it and I always chicken out well before it’s anywhere near its capabilities. The old biker saying “there’s old bikers and bold bikers, but not many old bold bikers” is always in my mind! Why have a car that’ll do mid 5s 0-60 and be limited to 155mph when the speed limit is 70mph? For me (as an ex-biker), it’s the acceleration that allows a safe overtake past those Campers and back in when most other cars can’t, then it’s back to relaxed cruising ;-) love it.