If you’re tempted by the pure brawn of the Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG, we don’t blame you. It is a tremendously powerful car, and with that goes fantastic straight-line performance and an addictive soundtrack. There’s more than a touch of hot rod about it, and if that sort of noise and drama appeals to you, there’s no shame in that.
However, be aware of its significant drawbacks: first up, its ride quality, which is irritating at best and downright uncomfortable at worst. Then there’s the handling which, with the exception of that sharp steering, feels pretty slow-witted and uninspiring. And of course, there’s the gearbox, which takes the edge off a sporting car rather further.
And yes, it’s cheaper than the Porsche Boxster S to buy and run, but not by enough. The Boxster makes itself worth the extra cash it’ll cost to buy and run by dint of being the best to drive. It chassis is the best in the business; its performance is brilliantly quick, and in the real world, just as impressive as the SLK’s, despite its power deficit; and it feels great to sit in. It is, we reckon, the best used sports car money can buy.
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1st – Porsche Boxster
For Wonderful chassis; searing pcae; gorgeous interior; nifty hood
Against Expensive to buy, especially with options; road noise
Verdict The best used roadster on the planet. By a mile.
2nd – Mercedes-Benz SLK
For Fabulous engine note; straight-line speed; well equipped
Against Stodgy handling; crashy ride; slow roof; ponderous gearbox
Verdict Not a bad car, but embarrassed against the Porsche
Specifications: Porsche Boxster S
Engine size 3.4-litre petrol
List price when new £45,384
Price today £29,000
Torque 266lb ft
Top speed 173mph
Fuel economy 32.1mpg (Official average)
CO2 emissions 206g/km
Specifications: Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG
Engine size 5.5-litre petrol
List price when new £54,965
Price today £28,000
Torque 398lb ft
Top speed 155mph
Fuel economy 33.6mpg (Official average)
CO2 emissions 398g/km
Price today is based on a 2012 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing
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