An Australian friend of mine here in London got a good bonus and
decided to but a new Merc SLK. He's a conservative driver and was quite
happy to order the small 4 cylinder model. But the dealer let him
borrow the 350 version and he loved it. £35k with all sorts of
But Jon has never owned an automatic and decided, with my enthusiastic
backing, because I'll get to drive the car a bit, to forgo the 7 speed
auto, save £700 and opt for the 6 speed manual version of the 350.
But both SLKs he test drove were autos.
Anyway, the deal is that they will either deliver the car to your door
or fly you and partner business class to Germany so you can drive the
car back to the UK yourself. He opted for the latter.
The thing is, after several thousand kms, he still can't get to grips
with the gears. Says it is impossible to drive smoothly around town.
Claims the shift is heavy and clunky, much worse than on the old 1988
Ford Falcon wagon he had in Melbourne some years back. The 6 year old
manual Audi A4 he had before the Merc was a dream to drive in
comparison. He still loves the Merc but regrets not going for the auto.
I feel a bit guilty for saying go for the manual, especially given the
bad press that manual Mercs do get from time to time, but I had no idea
he hadn't actually test driven one. The dealer now tells him, "Well,
Mercedes don't make many manuals..." as if that's an excuse.
I haven't driven the car yet but will this weekend, I wonder if it
really is that bad.
Or maybe the box will loosen up over time. Anyone else got any related