By Emme Hall.
So, you want a German car but you’re just not sure which one to pick. They all seem great; precise engineering, well-appointed interiors, great driving dynamics. How does one choose when one is always singing “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles?” Today we’ve got two convertible options for you, the 2013 Mercedes Benz SLK 350 and the 2013 Audi TTS Premium Plus. Which one is “mehr gute”? Read on…
The SLK 350 comes off the showroom floor with a 3.5L V6 engine that knocks out 302 horsepower and 273 lb/ft of torque. Power goes to the rear wheels only one way; via a seven-speed automatic. 60 mph comes in 5.6 seconds and EPA estimated fuel ratings are 21 mpg in the city, 29 mpg out on the highway, and 24 mpg combined.
You’ll get a nice array of standard equipment on the Mercedes Benz SLK. Included are 18” wheels, LED running lights, cruise control, and eight way power adjustable seats with lumbar support, Bluetooth, iPod integration, power convertible roof, satellite radio, and an 11 speaker Harman Kardon sound system. My favorite standard feature on the SLK 350 is the Air Scarf heating system, which blows warm air on your neck, keeping you toasty on those sunny, yet cooler days.
There are a few packages available on the SLK350. The Dynamic Handling package gives you better brakes and adjustable suspension. The Sport package lets you rock 18” AMG wheels and some unique styling. Multimedia comes with navigation, Mercedes COMAND interface, a CD changer, and voice control. The Lighting package adds bi-xenon headlights and Distronic Plus adds adaptive cruise control and the PreSafe system.
The Mercedes Benz SLK 350 is both a luxury touring roadster and a luxury sport roadster. The suspension has been retuned a bit and the steering is better than last year, resulting in an exciting topless experience through the corners, especially if you opt for the Dynamic Handling package. The exhaust note is fantastic, but a manual transmission would up the driving pleasure immensely.
The 2013 Audi TTS comes with 2.0L 4 banger, but thanks to turbo charging it produces 265 horsepower and 258 lb/ft or torque. AWD is standard and so is a six-speed dual clutch transmission. No manual transmission is offered. 0-60 mph comes in 5.3 seconds and EPA fuel ratings are 21 mpg in the city, 29 mpg on the highway, and 24 mpg combined.
Standard features in the Audi TTS include 19” wheels, cruise control, eight way power adjustable seats, Bluetooth, power soft-top, xenon headlights, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack, leather upholstery, and a nine speaker sound system.
The Prestige package is the only option, which adds heated seats, navigation, a 12-speaker Bose sound system, rear parking sensors, and the choice between a CD changer or iPod integration.
The TTS feels secure in the corners, thanks to Audi’s Quattro AWD system. It’s agile and quick to respond, with power coming in very evenly throughout the power band. The dual clutch gearbox is great, but at the end of the day, you’re still driving a car with two pedals, not three. Additionally, the Audi misses with its steering. It’s too light and uncommunicative for my taste.
Even though I prefer the look of the 2013 Audi TTS Premium Plus, and starting at $50,350 it’s less expensive than the SLK, I’d still open my wallet wider for the Mercedes Benz. The 2013 SLK 350 will cost you $55,400 (starting price), but the steering on the Audi just doesn’t deliver, and it’s enough to push me to the more expensive car.
Oh, and the Air Scarf. Best. Feature. Ever.