With the completely newly developed SLK, one of the most exciting and successful sports cars ever built is entering its third generation. The new roadster uncompromisingly takes driving pleasure and open-air enjoyment to a new level. It blends light-footed sportiness with stylish comfort, a striking sports-car design with total suitability for everyday use, top performance with exemplary fuel efficiency. What’s more, the SLK is proud to present the world premiere of the panoramic vario-roof with MAGIC SKY CONTROL, which switches to light or dark at the touch of a button. Exemplary efficiency and sporty flair come courtesy of powerful new 4- and 6-cylinder engines. With a unique set of safety equipment and a wealth of technical innovations, the SLK is once again the benchmark in its class.
“The new SLK embodies the role of the trend-setter like no other car”, says Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “I am convinced that with its passionate design, its high-quality interior and its modesty at the filling station it will continue to provide an enormous amount of fun on the road in future, too, consolidating its status as a cult roadster.”
Innovations are part of the successful history of the Mercedes-Benz SLK:
In 1996 the first generation caused a sensation with the vario-roof, which transformed the wide-open roadster into a coupé with a fixed roof at the touch of a button in just a few seconds;
the second generation placed the warm AIRSCARF around the neck and shoulders of the occupants as needed, ensuring pleasurable open-top motoring even in cooler temperatures;
now the third generation is presenting one of its unique highlights – the world premiere of the panoramic vario-roof with MAGIC SKY CONTROL. It can be quickly switched to light or dark at the touch of a button
But the new Mercedes-Benz SLK offers more than merely individual highlights. It assumes a leading position in every discipline and offers fun at the wheel in every respect, with no half-hearted compromises. It impresses with characteristics which are generally deemed to be irreconcilable: it succeeds in uniting excellent comfort and high-quality equipment and appointments with a decidedly sporty flair, for instance. At the same time the new roadster is the most economical and thus the most environmentally friendly in its class, also setting new safety standards. And all-weather driving enjoyment – open and closed, in leisure-time and everyday use – is firmly anchored in the SLK’s genes.
A distinctive design creates a sporty presence
The designers have tailor-made an outfit for the new SLK which emphasises its classic roadster proportions and puts them in the spotlight to thrilling effect. Behind the long bonnet is a compact passenger compartment positioned far back, and a short tail end. The SLK will tempt potential customers with the key attributes that characterise all the classic roadsters from Mercedes-Benz and that have also made many of them automotive icons.
The first feature to catch the eye is an upright radiator grille that stands proud and confident in the wind. It facilitates the long and well-proportioned bonnet and with its rearward light-catching contours it already hints at the roadster’s dynamic qualities. The wide radiator grille bears the Mercedes-Benz star in a prominent central position and displays a powerfully contoured fin, chromed at the front. The clearly defined headlamps complete the look for the new SLK’s face, which resembles that of the legendary 190 SL from the 1950s, which is regarded by many as being the original “SLK”. But it was certainly not just the past that the designers were focusing on; with the new SLK’s front end they also intentionally created a close visual link with the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG “gull-wing model” and the new CLS.
The amazing and measurable proof of the meticulously detailed work that has been carried out is that in spite of the more striking, steeper front and the larger frontal area, the Cd value has been cut to just 0.30 – a brilliant achievement (the preceding model’s Cd value was 0.32).
The closed, elegant shape of the side view with the classic roadster proportions quickens the pulse and is a visual promise of the sportiness and driving pleasure in store. Fine details show the care that has been taken by the Mercedes-Benz designers. For example, a fillet conceals the boot joint, so that it does not disturb the side aspect as with similar roof designs. The ventilation grilles in the front wings with a chromed fin are reminiscent of the famous Mercedes-Benz roadsters of the 1950s. In the new SLK they form the perfect starting point for a feature line which flows to the muscular rear wing, using light and shadow to add style and elegance to the sides. Meanwhile the upper edge of the wide headlamps – which boast all-LED technology for the first time – also appears to flow into the feature line.
Interior with style and a feel-good atmosphere
With the most compact dimensions in its class, the new SLK has an interior whose generous size is exemplary. To achieve this, the designers have developed interior appointments which offer the driver and passenger a real feel-good ambience. The interior is characterised by sporty refinement, well-thought-out ergonomics and high-quality, authentic materials which have been processed with painstaking attention to detail and skilled craftsmanship. Even in the base version the centre console and other trim parts gleam in brushed aluminium. Wood can be selected as an option in high-gloss dark brown walnut or high-gloss black ash. Four round galvanised air outlets integrated in the dashboard emphasise that this model well and truly belongs to the Mercedes-Benz sports car family, their shape being derived from those in the SLS.
The SLK’s generous dial instruments are flanked by a display for the information generated by the online computer. The colour display for the communications and entertainment functions is housed in the centre of the dashboard, and can be easily read by both the driver and passenger. On the top of the dashboard, also in the centre, sits an optional fine analogue clock – an unusual detail which subtly underlines the roadster’s stylish character.
Other high-quality items of equipment include a multifunction sports steering wheel with a flattened lower section and a thick leather rim, plus optional sun-reflecting leather which noticeably reduces the degree to which the surfaces it covers heat up, impressive ambient lighting which for the first time has a red colour tone, and the innovative neck-level heating system AIRSCARF familiar from the preceding model.
Unique feature: MAGIC SKY CONTROL
For the first time Mercedes-Benz is offering a choice of three variants of the lightweight-construction vario-roof for the new SLK. In just a few seconds this feature transforms the roadster into a coupé with a “fixed” roof at the touch of a button – and vice versa:
The base version is a painted roof in body colour
Alternatively there is the option of a panoramic vario-roof with tinted polycarbonate.
The third variant is a world premiere – the panoramic vario-roof with MAGIC SKY CONTROL. This glass roof switches to light or dark as you wish at the press of a button. When light it is virtually transparent, offering an open-air experience even in cold weather. In its dark state the roof provides welcome shade and prevents the interior from heating up when the sun’s rays are very intense. In other words: a feel-good atmosphere at the touch of a button
Innovative draught-stop system AIRGUIDE
A comfortable alternative to the conventional draught-stop is a new, pivoting draught-stop for the new SLK which has been invented by Mercedes-Benz aerodynamics engineers. It consists of pivoting, transparent perspex sections which are attached to the reverse of the roll-over bars. The driver or passenger can pivot them to the centre of the vehicle in a flash, thus taming turbulent air flow. When the pivoting draught-stops are not required, they disappear almost invisibly behind the roll-over bars. There is no awkward disassembly and removal as with other draught-stops.
Spirit and efficiency
There will initially be two models of the SLK available at its Australian and New Zealand launch, both of them powered by new engines with direct injection. The four-cylinder engine in the SLK 200 BlueEFFICIENCY develops 135 kW from a displacement of 1796 cubic centimetres. With the enhanced, standard seven-speed automatic transmission 7G-TRONIC PLUS it consumes just 6.9 litres of fuel (combined) over 100 kilometres, corresponding to 161 g of CO2 per kilometre. This sporty model sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds.
The V6 engine in the SLK 350 BlueEFFICIENCY generates 225 kW from its 3498 cubic-centimetre displacement, using this power to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.6 seconds. Its consumption is 8.3 litres (combined) per 100 kilometres (194 g of CO2 per kilometre). The V6 engine has been completely newly developed. Its most important hallmarks are 3rd-generation direct injection, piezo injectors and multi-spark ignition.
Suspension for the closest connection to the road
There are also two suspension versions to choose from:
A sports suspension with steel springs and firmer dampers ensures a systematically sporty driving experience
As an alternative a Dynamic Handling package is available. This includes an electronically controlled, fully automatic damping system. This means that the vehicle has excellent suspension comfort even on poor road surfaces, but still offers high driving dynamics
Also included in the Dynamic Handling package is the Torque Vectoring Brakes developed by Mercedes-Benz. In critical conditions the Torque Vectoring Brakes produce a defined rotational movement of the vehicle about the vertical axis in fractions of seconds through selective brake actuation at the rear wheel on the inside of the bend. This results in the SLK stabilising without any compromises where dynamism is concerned.
Ingenious material mix and high levels of safety
The new SLK’s bodyshell structure has been further refined, with the bonnet and wings now made of aluminium. The new Mercedes-Benz SLK also sets new benchmarks in terms of safety. The third generation of the powerful trend-setter will make use of a whole host of the latest assistance systems to support the driver, including the drowsiness detection system ATTENTION ASSIST, developed by Mercedes-Benz and fitted as standard; the anticipatory occupant protection system PRE-SAFE®, which is unique in the world; and the PRE-SAFE® Brake, which can apply the brakes autonomously in the event of an impending rear-end collision. This means that with the SLK too, Mercedes-Benz is consistently and significantly exceeding the requirements imposed by safety standards.
Further assistance systems are available on request:
DISTRONIC PLUS: this proximity control system automatically maintains a set distance from the vehicle ahead, braking the roadster to a standstill if necessary and accelerating the SLK again.
The Intelligent Light System (standard on the SLK 350) provides five lighting functions (cornering light function, country mode, motorway mode, active light function and enhanced fog lamps), which are activated depending on the driving conditions
The market launch for the SLK is August 2011.
SLK 200 BlueEFFICIENCY: $82,900 (MLP)
SLK 350 BlueEFFICIENCY: $118,900 (MLP)