SLK Offers Three 2008 Models With Innovative Retractable Hardtops
For 2008, the Mercedes-Benz SLK coupe/roadster line features the new 'Edition 10' anniversary model, which celebrates the 10th anniversary of the 1998 SLK roadster's dramatic debut onto the Ú.S. automotive scene. Sporting the first retractable hardtop in modern times, the SLK started an industry trend toward hardtop convertibles that's still going strong.
Available as an SLK280 or SLK350 with a limited-production run of 700 cars, the Edition 10 package is comprised of 17-inch 'chrome-shadow' wheels, tinted taillights, red stitching on black leather seats, the innovative AIRSCARF heating package, standard 7-speed automatic transmission and Edition 10 badging.
The Edition 10 joins the 2008 SLK line that also includes the high-value SLK280, powered by a 228-horsepower 3.0-liter V6; the SLK350 with a 268-hp 3.5-liter V6; and the high-performance SLK55 AMG, fitted with a 355-hp AMG V8.Design Cues from the F1 World
After shaking up the small roadster market when it was introduced ten years ago, the second-generation SLK wowed the public again when it hit Ú.S. streets in 2004. Inspired by the world of Formula One racing, the exterior design of the SLK incorporates an arrow-shaped nose, a sleek front hood, sloped windshield and a handsome, tapered silhouette. Aggressive styling carries through to the rear, punctuated by dual exhausts.
Dominating the SLK cockpit are large chronometer-style gauges – speedometer, fuel gauge, tachometer and clock – with silver switches and trim elements that contrast against a darker sculpted dash.Zero to 22 Seconds for Open-Air Driving
The automatic retractable hardtop of the SLK sets it apart from the competition. With the top up, it's a quiet coupe – push a button, and the car is topless. The roof of the current SLK goes up and down in 22 seconds, and the folded roof takes up surprisingly little trunk space – thanks to its pivoting rear window.
Like the retractable hardtop of the larger SL model, the rear window of the latest SLK swivels to match the curvature of the top, providing nearly three more cubic feet of trunk room than its predecessor.An Extended Driving Season
The optional AIRSCARF system (standard on the Edition 10) can extend the open-air driving season into the cooler months. Built into the seatbacks of the SLK, the neck-level heating system blows warm air from the head restraints of the driver and passenger seats, allowing occupants to cruise comfortably with the retractable hardtop open in cooler weather. AIRSCARF even compensates automatically for vehicle speed. V6 Engine with Variable Valve Timing
The High-Tech V6 from Start to Finish
The SLK280 and SLK350 use advanced engine technology that's characterized by four valves per cylinder and variable valve timing, which requires separate camshafts for the intake and exhaust valves. Whether it's the 3.0- or 3.5-liter version, the twin-cam V6 develops more than 80 percent of its maximum torque at only 1,500 rpm. While variable valve timing gets much of the credit for the engine's unusually broad torque curve, a two-stage intake manifold plays a key role as well. Other high-tech engine features include tumble flaps that increase gas mileage by creating additional turbulence in the intake passages at part throttle.
A pressure-cast aluminum cylinder block uses innovative cast-in silicon-aluminum cylinder sleeves and low-friction surfaces that allow very low piston-ring spring tension. The sleeves are cast separately, but rather than being pressed into the block, the block is cast around them. In the process, the outer 20 percent of each sleeve melts, bonding to the block to provide exceptional block stiffness while minimizing weight.
A forged crankshaft with four main bearings is placed into the engine block, which features wide main-bearing saddles and transverse bearing supports that minimize vibration. Between the two cylinder banks, a balance shaft is installed that counter-rotates at crankshaft speed; its off-balance 'lobes' canceling out the inherent vibration of a 90-degree V6.
Iron-coated aluminum pistons are pinned onto forged steel connecting rods that are approximately 20 percent lighter than other comparable engines. The pistons slide into the cylinders, and the connecting rods are clamped around the crankshaft journals. The two cylinder heads are then bolted onto the block, and twin camshafts are installed in each head. The intake cams are driven by a double chain from the crankshaft, and small gears on both cams in turn drive the exhaust cams. The same duplex chain that drives both intake cams also loops under the balance shaft sprocket.
Double-wall exhaust piping keeps exhaust air hot leading down to twin catalytic converters, which promote additional downstream conversion of pollutants into carbon dioxide and water vapor.Hardbody with a Hardtop
The SLK's unibody uses an impressive amount of high-strength steel alloy – 42 percent of the total structure – and the entire body shell is zinc-coated for long-term corrosion protection. The SLK makes use of a scratch-resistant clearcoat paint that was initially developed in the nano-technology sector.
Ceramic particles less than a millionth of a millimeter in size are part of the molecular structure of the paint bonding agent, and as the paint dries, these particles form a regular, dense pattern that greatly enhances its scratch resistance. Rigorous laboratory car wash tests show a 40% improvement in gloss retention.One of the Safest Open Cars
The SLK is considered one of the safest roadsters in the world. In addition to its integrated roll bars and two-stage front air bags for both the driver and passenger, the SLK is also equipped with dual knee bags and head-thorax air bags which are located in the seat backs and deploy in the event of a side impact that exceeds the deployment threshold. The top edge of the fully-inflated head-thorax air bags reaches above the top edge of the seat back to help provide better head and neck protection similar to the curtain-type air bags on hardtop Mercedes models.
Stopping power for the SLK350 is provided by perforated and ventilated 13-inch front disc brakes and solid 11.4-inch rear discs, with two-piston calipers at the front and rear. Brakes on the high-performance SLK55 AMG are even bigger, with four-piston calipers in front and two-piston calipers at the rear.
Like all Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles, the SLK comes equipped with ESP stability control, a Mercedes innovation that can help prevent slides and spins, especially in slippery weather. ESP can detect an impending spin or slide and prevent it by applying the brakes to individual wheels or reducing engine power. In addition, full-range traction control provides safer travel on slippery road surfaces.
Also standard on the SLK is Brake Assist, which can detect an emergency or 'panic' stop (based on how quickly the brake pedal is applied) and deliver full braking power, helping to reduce stopping distances.Source - Mercedes-Benz
Animal, muscular, poised, predatory and competitive, those are the words used to describe the Mercedes-Benz SLK. Mercedes-Benz designers and engineers continue to remain the world leaders in created a peerless and beautiful vehicle.
For 1998 Mercedes Benz chose to unveil something different; a 2-passenger sports car with a supercharged 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine. Rather than a soft top though, the SLK featured a metal roof that powered down at the touch of a button into the trunk for stowage. Taking only 25 seconds, the trunklid opened forward for cargo, and tilted from the rear to raise or lower the top.
SLK stands for sporty, light, and compact in German. The design work behind the SLK stemmed from the compact C-Class sedan. The presence of the supercharged engine was marked with a 'Kompressor' badge on the front fenders. The Mercedes SLK only offered a 5-speed automatic transmission. Traction control, door-mounted side airbags and antilock brakes were standard features. When a special Mercedes child seat was installed, a 'BabySmart' feature automatically deactivated the right-side airbags. For 1997 the SLK was on Car and Driver's Ten Best list.
For the second year, the Mercedes-Benz SLK received a 5-speed manual transmission as standard, and the previously standard automatic transmission was now an option. A new Sport package was offered and included 'aero' lower-body cladding and performance tires on 17-inch wheels rather than the usual 16-inch wheels. Also becoming standard on the SLK was Mercedes 'Brake Assist' feature that automatically provided full braking force in emergency stops.
Not many changes were made for the 2000 Mercedes-Benz SLK except for the addition of free scheduled maintenance to the SLK's warranty coverage.
For 2001 the SLK added the SLK320 into its lineup. The SLK320 featured a 215-hp V6 engine with an additional 5 horsepower and standard 6-speed manual transition. The following year a new SLK32 AMG model was unveiled. A supercharged version on the V6, the SLK32 AMG featured modifications to suspension, bodywork, transmission and interior by Mercedes AMG performance team. The SLK32 AMG had a 3.2 liter engine and was available in limited qualities in the U.S. and went from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds. The SLK 32 AMG was the best-performing SLK ever, and was direct competition to the BMW M Roadster and Porsche Boxster S. The SLK 32 AMG was only offered with automatic transmission and came with a hand built engine.
The SLK 320 was built in South Africa, rather than in Bremen, Germany. On January 29, 1997, the very first R170 Mercedes SLK was completed, while the last was built on April 7, 2004.
The SLK230 and 320 Sport package now mimicked the SLK32's lower-body aero trim, projector-beam fog lamps and wheels. For 2003 the Mercedes SLK remained unchanged. In 2004 the SLK featured a special edition package that was only available for the year for the SLK230 and the SLK320. This special edition package included 17-inch wheels, exterior chrome accents, a body-colored grille and Nappa leather sports seats and roll bar. The SLK200 wasn't available for sale or purchase in the U.S., but overseas- and those who utilized the gray market in the U.S. – received a more economic and fuel efficient and slightly toned down 2.0 136 horsepower engine that was found in the SLK200.
The second generation of the SLK was unveiled in 2005, the R171. The retractable hard top SLK350 was returned to the market with enhanced handling, the power of a 3.5 liter V6, and a more uses friendly and elaborately detailed interior. The SLK350 Roadster was featured in 2006 along with the SLK280. Keeping most of the same features and options as the SLK350, the 280 was offered as a less costly option for a 3.0 V6 engine.
In 2007 the SLK55 AMG was released and built in very limited quantities and for high performance drivers. This version came equipped with a 5.4 liter V8 engine, 18 inch chrome wheels, and a sports car designed suspension with brakes and tires to match. The interior of the SLK55 AMG featured heated Napa leather upholstery and detailed luxury sport trim and control panels.
By Jessica Donaldson
For this same year, no major changes were made to the Mercedes Benz SLK 350 or SLK 280 cabrioles or coupes. The public weighed in and the overwhelming review was that the SLK was spectacular with invigorating and responsive handling.