New Mercedes-Benz SLK Roadster here in Q3
17th January, 2011
With the 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. What’s more, the SLK presents
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 featuring
the standard-specification ECO start/stop function. With their superb levels of performance they are up to 25 per cent
more economical than their predecessors. And a unique set of safety equipment bestows role-model status on the SLK in
this segment. With its 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 Head 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 furore 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 press 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.
Timeless aesthetics embodies hallmark sports-car sensuality
The designers have tailor-made a body 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 icons of the brand.
The first feature to catch the eye is an upright radiator grille that stands proud and confident in the wind and
bears the new Mercedes-Benz brand look. 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 designed a close visual
link with the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG “gullwing 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 predecessor model’s Cd value was 0.32).
The timelessly classic shape of the side view with the classic roadster proportions embodies aesthetics of the
highest calibre and is a visual promise of the sportiness and driving pleasure in store. Fine details and quotes
show the care that has been taken by the Mercedes-Benz designers. For example, a fillet conceals the boot joint, so
that the side line cannot get in the way, as it usually does with similar roof designs. The ventilation grilles in
the front guards 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 rear, using light and shadow to add
style and timeless aesthetics 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 puristic good looks
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 the highest
degree of perfect perceived quality and puristic precision. The interior is characterised by stylish sportiness
and high-quality, authentic materials which have been processed with perfect precision 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 a nod to those in the SLS.
The SLK’s generous round dials are flanked by a display for the information generated by the on-line 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 bottom
section and a thick leather crown, plus optional sun-reflecting leather which noticeably reduces the degree to
which the surfaces it covers heat up, impressive ambient lighting and the innovative neck-level heating system
AIRSCARF, familiar from the predecessor.
Unique item of equipment: 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 dark-tinted windows
- 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 plastic
layers which are attached to the reverse of the roll-over bars. The driver or passenger can swing them to the
centre of the vehicle in a flash, thus taming turbulent air flow.
Spirit and efficiency
There will initially be three models of the SLK available at its market launch, all of them powered by new
engines with direct injection. The four-cylinder engines in the SLK 200 BlueEFFICIENCY and SLK 250
BlueEFFICIENCY develop 135 kW and 150 kW respectively from a displacement of 1,796 cubic centimetres. The SLK
200 BlueEFFICIENCY is the most economical roadster in its segment. With the enhanced, optional seven-speed
automatic transmission 7G-TRONIC PLUS it consumes just 6.1 litres of premium petrol (NEDC, combined) over 100
kilometres (that corresponds to 142 g of CO2 per kilometre). The frugal model sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in
7.0 seconds, and achieves its top speed at 237 km/h (240 km/h with manual transmission).
The SLK 250 BlueEFFICIENCY is equipped as standard with the 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission and consumes
only 6.2 litres (NEDC, combined) over 100 kilometres (144 g of CO2 per kilometre). From a standstill it reaches
100 km/h in 6.6 seconds, and it has a top speed of 243 km/h.
The V6 engine in the SLK 350 BlueEFFICIENCY draws 225 kW from its 3,498 cubic-centimetre displacement, using
this power to accelerate in 5.6 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h (top speed 250 km/h). Its consumption is 7.1 litres
(NEDC, combined) over 100 kilometres (167 g of CO2 per kilometre). The V6 engine has been completely newly
developed. Its most important hallmarks are its 3rd-generation direct injection, piezo injectors and multi- spark
The exemplary efficiency, with fuel consumption reduced by up to a quarter compared with the predecessor
models, is also due to the ECO start/stop system which is fitted as part of the standard specification in all
Suspension for the closest link with 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. Its merits include a suspension with continuous
adjustable damping. It has an electronically controlled fully automatic damping system, so the vehicle rolls
away gently 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 body shell structure has been further refined, with the bonnet and guards now made of
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
optional 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. As such, with
the SLK too, Mercedes-Benz is consistently and significantly exceeding the requirements imposed by safety
Those wishing to do so can extend the host of assistance systems in the new SLK even further:
- The Intelligent Light System 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
- The Speed Limit Assist is able to detect speed limit signs using a camera on the inside of the windscreen
and indicate the respective detected speed limit on a display in the instrument cluster
The new SLK will be launched in Australia during the third quarter of 2011. Information regarding local
pricing and specification will be reported by Next Car closer to the Australian launch date.