The new Mercedes-Benz SLK Roadster

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Passion, style and innovative technology – the new SLK sets standards

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 ecology.

The SLK is proud to present 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 the powerful new 4- and 6-cylinder engines. With their superb levels of performance, they are up to 23 percent more economical than their predecessors. 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, and with its passionate design and high-quality interior, this roadster provides all-round driving dynamics,” says Eckart Mayer, Vice President, Sales & Marketing Mercedes-Benz South Africa.

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”.

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. 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 a 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.  The innovative neck-level heating system AIRSCARF familiar from the preceding model is a standard feature.

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 roof painted in the vehicle colour
  • Alternatively there is the option of a panoramic vario-roof with tinted glass.
  • 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 the local market launch, all of them powered by new engines with direct injection.

“With these new engines, and coupled with BlueEFFICIENCY measures in both the SLK 200 and SLK 350, our engineers have achieved fuel savings of 19% and 28% respectively.  With a CO₂ value of 151 gm/km, the SLK 200 BlueEFFICIENCY has the lowest CO2 emissions in its segment,” adds Mayer.

The four-cylinder engines in the SLK 200 BlueEFFICIENCY develops 135 kW respectively from a displacement of 1796 cubic centimetres. With the enhanced, optional seven-speed automatic transmission 7G-TRONIC PLUS it consumes just 6.5 litres of premium petrol (NEDC, combined) over 100 kilometres, corresponding to 151 g of CO2 per kilometre. This sporty model sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 7 seconds, and achieves a top speed of 237 km/h (240 km/h with manual transmission).

The V6 engine in the SLK 350 BlueEFFICIENCY generates 225 kW from its 3 498 cubic-centimetre displacement, using this power to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.6 seconds (top speed 250 km/h). Its consumption is 7.1 litres (NEDC, combined) per 100 kilometres (167 g/km 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 three suspension versions to choose from:

  • A conventional steel suspension comes as standard
  • A sports suspension with harder springs and 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 are a Direct-Steer system and the Torque Vectoring Brakes developed by Mercedes-Benz. The Direct-Steer system offers more handling and agility than the standard steering, whilst also reducing the amount of physical effort required when parking. 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, and it steers into the bend precisely and under full control.

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 this 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 standard 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 optionally available include the Intelligent Light System that 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 SLK has been the dominate player in the segment which it created as far back as 1997.  We are confident that this third iteration of the SLK roadster will delight and fascinate customers,” concludes Mayer.

The SLK is introduced with the Mercedes-Benz MobiloDrive 120 maintenance plan, which extends over 6 years/120 000 km, together with a 2 year unlimited km full vehicle warranty:

SLK 200 Blue EFFICIENCY:  R 555 700
SLK 350 Blue EFFICIENCY:  R 734 100