The second generation of the globally successful Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class is ready for launch, and Mercedes-Benz is set to present the new sports roadster to the public for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show '04.
The new model offers a choice of three new engines with a performance range extending from 163 bhp to 360 bhp. This includes – for the first time in this vehicle class - an eight-cylinder supplied by Mercedes-AMG. The SLK 350 is powered by a new 272 bhp V6 engine delivering dynamic driving pleasure.
The second generation of this two-seater again captivates the eye with its sophisticated design featuring details reminiscent of Formula motor racing. This quality enables the SLK to uphold its reputation as a trendsetter and a tech-nology leader among the sports cars in this class. A further development of its vario-roof transforms this roadster into a coupe in just 22 seconds. The range of standard equipment also includes head-thorax sidebags, adaptive front air-bags and two-stage belt force limiters. Mercedes engineers have added even more sports refinement to the suspension, steering and manual transmission. (posted on conceptcarz.com)
As a global first, Mercedes-Benz is offering the AIRSCARF neck-level heating system. This delivers a flow of warm air from the headrests at the touch of a button, thereby enabling SLK occupants to keep the roof down even when there is a chill in the air. This extends the top-down driving season to the full calendar year. Automatic climate control, bi-xenon headlamps with cornering light, COMAND and the unique 7G-TRONIC 7-speed automatic transmission add to the technological innovations which can now be supplied as options to the SLK-Class for the first time.
The new Mercedes roadster is now taking the place of its predecessor, a car which has delighted more than 308,000 owners since it first appeared in the autumn of 1996. Worldwide, this model holds the number one position in this market segment and has already established itself as a symbol for the new, dynamic brand image of Mercedes-Benz.
The design and technology employed in this second generation of the SLK-Class place even greater emphasis on sports performance. With more powerful engines, redesigned suspension, direct steering feel and a responsive six-speed manual shift system, the new model offers an even more athletic driving experience than ever before. The body size has grown by 2,8 inches in length and 2,5 inches in width, affording driver and passenger more space and even higher standards of comfort than the previous model.Design
From an initial glance, the design of this car reflects the sporty and altogether more powerful character of the new SLK-Class. A long bonnet, steeply raked windscreen, wide doors and short boot are the typical characteristics of a roadster and the new SLK underlines these even more emphatically than its predecessor. The extra 1,2 inches on the wheelbase, the distinctive arrow-like tapering at the front and rear and the wedge-shaped silhouette all contribute to this impression.
With attractive geometry details like the strikingly sharp nose section, special fins on the radiator grille and the twin exhaust system reminiscent of a racing car, the design of the new SLK recalls the fact that this two-seater is the child of a company with a long and illustrious tradition of sports car production.The SLK 55 AMG With Eight-Cylinder Dynamics
With the SLK 55 AMG, the second generation of Mercedes' compact roadster has produced a car which gives the sports car elite a run for their money. No other model in this vehicle class can compete with the 360 bhp output and 376 lb-ft of torque generated by the top-of-the-range SLK. The V8 engine at the source of this prodigious power also has the distinction of being the only eight-cylinder unit available in this market segment. The standard equipment package for the AMG model is equally as exclusive.
The distinguishing features of the sports-tuned suspension are the new design of three-link front axle, the rack-and-pinion steering unit and an even more powerful braking system than the previous model. Mercedes engineers have modified many details of the multi-link independent rear suspension unit and have adapted it to suit the increased track width of this new model. Depending on the choice of model, standard equipment in the new SLK-Class can include 16, 17 or even 18-inch alloy wheels. Low-slung sports suspension is also available as an option.
The new Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class will arrive at Mercedes-Benz' European sales and service outlets and dealerships on March 27, 2004.Source - Mercedes
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.