As promised in late November 2010, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the all-new third generation SLK. The new roadster boasts of new safety features and premieres to the world the panoramic vario-roof with Magic Sky Control, , which switches to light or dark at the touch of a button.
The new SLK comes with new powerful new 4- and 6-cylinder engines. With their superb levels of performance they are also more economical than their predecessors. And a unique set of safety equipment bestows role-model status on the SLK in this segment.
“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.”
The designers have tailor-made a body for the new SLK which emphasizes its classic roadster proportions and puts them in the spotlight to thrilling effect. Behind the long hood is a compact passenger compartment positioned far back, and a short tail end. The SLK will tempt potential customers with the key attributes that characterize all the classic roadsters from Mercedes-Benz and that have also made many of them automotive 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 hood 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.”
However, 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 “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 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 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 timeless aesthetics to the sides.
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 characterized 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, galvanized air outlets integrated in the dashboard emphasize that this model well and truly belongs to the Mercedes-Benz sports car family, their shape being a nod to those in the SLS.
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
· 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 draft-stop system AIRGUIDE
A comfortable alternative to the conventional draft-stop is a new pivoting draft-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 one model of the SLK available at market launch, powered by a new engine with direct injection. The V6 engine in the SLK 350 draws 302hp) from its 3498 cubic-centimetre displacement, using this power to accelerate in an estimated 5.6 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h (top speed 250 km/h). The V6 engine has been completely newly developed. Its most important hallmarks are its 3rd-generation direct injection, piezo injectors and multi-spark ignition.
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 models.
The standard Dynamic Handling package includes 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 stabilizing without any compromises where dynamism is concerned, and it steers into the bend precisely and under full control.
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 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 standards.
To mark the launch of the new SLK, Mercedes-Benz is offering an “Edition 1” special model with a special matte paint finish in glacier grey. The “Edition 1” is opulently appointed and comes fully equipped with features such as: the panoramic vario-roof, the Dynamic Handling package, AMG bodystyling, two-tone designo nappa leather with contrasting topstitching, AIRSCARF, ambient lighting and much more.