STUTTGART: The third-generation SLK roadster is rolling into showrooms with the promise of a new level of sportiness, comfort and open-top motoring.
At the same time, it's also 25% more economical than its predecessors.
The vario roof, first seen in the first generation SLK, has evolved in the latest form. Making its world premiere this year, it now comes with a feature called MAGIC SKY CONTROL in the top-of-the-line SLK 350 BlueEFFICIENCY that allows it to quickly switched to light or dark at the press of a button.
Two other variants are the SLK 200 BlueEFFICIENCY and SLK 250 BlueEFFICIENCY.
The SLK emphasises its classic roadster proportions, with a long bonnet, a compact passenger compartment positioned far back, and a short tail.
The upright radiator grille bears the new Mercedes-Benz brand look and headlamps resembles that of the 190 SL from the 1950s, regarded as being the original “SLK”. The front end was designed to create a close visual link to the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG “gullwing model” and the new CLS.
It's even more slippery with a Cd of 0.30, down from 0.32 in the previous model.
Even in the base version, the cabin's centre console and other trim parts are decked out in brushed aluminium. Wood can be selected as an option in dark brown walnut or black ash. Four round, galvanised air outlets in the dashboard are a nod to those in the SLS.
All the three SLK variants are powered by new engines with direct injection.
The four-cylinder engines in the SLK 200 and SLK 250 develop 184hp and 204hp respectively from a displacement of 1.8-litres.
The SLK 200 is the base version. With the optional seven-speed automatic transmission 7G-TRONIC PLUS, it consumes just 6.1 litres of premium petrol (NEDC, combined) over 100km (that corresponds to 142 g of CO2 per kilometre). The frugal model sprints from 0 to 100kph in 7.0 seconds, and achieves its top speed at 237kph (240kph with manual transmission).
The SLK 250 is equipped as standard with the 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission and consumes only 6.2 litres (NEDC, combined) over 100km (144 g of CO2 per kilometre). From standstill, it reaches 100kph in 6.6 seconds, and has a top speed of 243kph.
The V6 engine in the SLK 350 draws 306 hp from its 3.5-litre displacement, using this power to accelerate in 5.6 seconds from 0 to 100kph (top speed 250kph). Its consumption is 7.1 litres (NEDC, combined) over 100km (167 g of CO2 per kilometre).
The better fuel economy is also due to the ECO start/stop system which is fitted as part of the standard specification in all models.
There are also three suspension versions to choose from:
> A conventional steel suspension is standard
> A sports suspension with harder springs and dampers for a sportier ride
> A Dynamic Handling suspension with adaptive damping. It has an electronically controlled automatic damping system, so the vehicle rolls away gently even on poor road surfaces, but still offers high driving dynamics
The new SLK can be ordered from Jan 17. Prices in Europe start from 38,675 euros.
To mark the launch of the new SLK, Mercedes-Benz is offering a grey “Edition 1” model.
The special edition has, among others, the panoramic vario-roof, the Dynamic Handling package, AMG bodystyling, two-tone designo nappa leather with contrasting topstitching, AIRSCARF and ambient lighting.
The fancy stuff adds an extra 8,500 euros to 9,000 euros to the price of the base model that is chosen.
For more pictures of the SLK, please click on the link to the photo gallery below.