MERCEDES-BENZ LAUNCHES RESTYLED 2009 SLK ROADSTER
Mercedes-Benz is rolling out its facelifted SLK coupe/roadster for the 2009 model year. The new SLK features a redesigned front end with a stronger influence from the world of Formula 1 racing and a revised rear apron incorporating an air diffuser and trapezoidal exhaust outlets, plus new wheels.
Inside, the 2009-model SLK showcases newly designed chronometer-type gauges with aluminum accents, as well as a new three-spoke steering wheel, revised climate control buttons and push-pull window controls. The 2009 SLK also features a new audio system with an in-dash six-disc CD/DVD changer and a Bluetooth interface that allows a cellular phone still in a pocket or purse to be operated through the car's audio system. The SLK is available with a new optional multimedia package that includes a harmon/kardon premium audio system, GPS navigation with a larger display, a voice control system, an SD memory card slot and a hard drive for storing music and GPS navigation maps.
The 2009 SLK line includes the high-value SLK300, powered by a 228-horsepower 3.0-liter V6; the SLK350, now with a 300-hp version of the popular 3.5-liter V6; and the high-performance SLK55 AMG, fitted with a 355-hp AMG V8.New Direct-Steer System
For 2009, all three SLK models boast even more athletic performance, thanks to a clever new direct-steer system. Variable-ratio rack gearing provides impressive on-center steering feel with even higher responsiveness beyond the first five degrees of steering angle. Direct Steer minimizes steering input during cornering and in low-speed maneuvers such as parking. SLK350 Engine Now Boasts 300 Horsepower
Both the SLK300 and SLK350 use advanced V6 engine technology that includes four valves per cylinder and variable valve timing. The 3.0-liter 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 SLK300'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 more turbulence in the intake passages at part throttle.
With a higher-revving, 7,200-rpm redline, the new SLK350 engine features more horsepower and torque, thanks to specially shaped pistons that produce a higher 11.7-to-1 compression ratio, a modified camshaft for higher valve lift, heavy-duty conical valve springs and special lightweight valves made of high-temperature steel as well as sodium-cooled exhaust valves.
To counteract high-speed camshaft chain vibration, the higher-revving SLK350 Sport engine comes with tri-oval chain sprockets. Above 6,300 rpm, the tri-oval sprockets generate inversely phased pulses that tend to neutralize the usual vibration. For maximum air flow at high rpm, the Sport engine also makes use of a single-stage intake manifold, and valve timing has been advanced slightly to preserve its broad power range.
The SLK350 can be ordered with a Sport package that includes AMG body styling, sport suspension, steering-wheel gearshift paddles and 18-inch AMG wheels. The Sport package includes AMG's automatic 'throttle-blipping' feature for virtually jolt-free downshifting, which reduces load-change handling response, and for motorsports-minded drivers, improves braking before turn-in. Coupe to Topless Roadster in Only 22 Seconds
With the first retractable hardtop in modern times, the SLK started an industry trend toward hardtop convertibles that's still going strong. After shaking up the small roadster market when it was introduced more than ten years ago, the second-generation SLK wowed the public again when it hit Ú.S. streets in 2004. The 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 goes topless.
The SLK roof goes up or 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. 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 can deploy above the top of the seat back to help provide better head and neck protection, similar to the curtain-type air bags on hardtop Mercedes models.
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 helps to provide safer travel on slippery road surfaces.
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 also makes use of a scratch-resistant clearcoat paint that was initially developed in the nano-technology sector. AIRSCARF For An Extended Driving Season
The optional AIRSCARF system 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 changes in vehicle speed.Source - Mercedes-Benz