The Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class
More performance, more safety, more roadster motoring pleasure.
More attractive, more powerful and sportier than its predecessor, this appealing two-seater will be celebrating its European market launch in March 2004. The new model offers a choice of three new engines with a performance range extending from 120 kW/163 hp to 265 kW/360 hp. 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 200 kW/272 hp 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 technology leader among the sports cars in this class. A further development of its vario-roof transforms this roadster into a coupé in just 22 seconds. The range of standard equipment also includes head-thorax sidebags, adaptive front airbags and two-stage belt force limiters. Mercedes engineers have added even more sports refinement to the suspension, steering and manual transmission.
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.
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 72 mm
in length and 65 mm in width, affording driver and passenger more space and even
higher standards of comfort than the previous model.
Design: sports dynamics
with designer features from Formula motor racing .
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 30 millimetres 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.
interior has also been completely redesigned and substantially upgraded with a
careful choice of materials. The design concept is characterised by switches,
pushbuttons and decorative elements with silver-coloured surfaces, creating a
sharp contrast with the black surfaces of the instrument panel. Customers who
opt for a leather interior can select from a range of six colours to create
their personal choice of interior look.
Body: best in its class for aerodynamics and luggage compartment volume.
The beautifully shaped body of the new SLK also stands out for its technical merits: no other roadster in this class matches its superb Cd value (0.32), its exceptional standards of body strength, an equivalent fuel tank capacity (70 litres) or a comparable size of luggage compartment (300 litres when vario-roof is closed). The innovative vario-roof with which the Mercedes sports car set new trends back in 1996 has been further improved by the engineers at the Sindelfingen plant and its technology has been honed. It opens and closes faster than ever before and thanks to a pivoting rear window it now takes up even less space in the luggage compartment. When the vario-roof is open, the luggage compartment capacity is 208 litres (applying the VDA measurement method) – this is 63 litres more than that of the predecessor model. For the first time ever, as an optional feature available on request, the vario-roof can also be actuated using the remote control on the vehicle key.
Safety: newly developed protection system with adaptive airbags.
ultramodern design procedure, a 40 % increase in the use of high-tensile steel
alloys and many other additional measures allow the new SLK-Class to surpass the
high safety standards set by its predecessor. The occupant protection systems
respond to the prevailing situation: for the first time, Mercedes-Benz is using
adaptive airbags in this model range, which deploy in two stages depending on
the severity of the accident.
Engines: Up to 25 more performance with reduced fuel consumption.
range of engines available with the new SLK-Class is also unique for this market
sector. Mercedes-Benz is the first carmaker
in this segment to respond with an eight-cylinder engine to the wishes of
performance-minded car drivers. The new SLK
55 AMG now sets a new benchmark in terms of power (265 kW/360 hp),
torque (510 newton metres) and acceleration (0-100 km/h: 4.9 seconds). The V8
power unit is twinned as standard with the recently developed 7G-TRONIC
seven-speed automatic transmission controlled by the driver using gearshift
buttons on the steering wheel.
torque is available from an engine speed of just 2400 rpm and remains constant
across a wide rev band extending up to 5000 rpm. This allows the car to be
accelerated hard and permits rapid bursts of power. From a standing start, the
SLK 350 reaches 100 km/h in just 5.6 seconds (with the 7G-TRONIC: 5.5
seconds) and accelerates from 60 to 120 km/h in 8.7 seconds (with the 7G-TRONIC:
This is the first time that Mercedes-Benz has ever produced a V6 engine with variable camshaft control on intake and exhaust sides. The outcome is enhanced performance and torque combined with improved fuel economy. A two-stage intake manifold, “tumble” flaps in the intake ducts and an intelligent heat management system add to the technical distinguishing features of this new six-cylinder engine. When combined with the option of a seven-speed automatic transmission, the new SLK 350 only consumes a meagre 9.9 litres of Super grade fuel over a distance of 100 kilometres (NEDC total consumption figures) and therefore, despite a significant increase in performance figures, still manages to be some five percent more fuel-efficient than the previous SLK six-cylinder engine with a five-speed automatic transmission.
The 120 kW/163 hp engine in the SLK 200 KOMPRESSOR is also celebrating a premiere status in this
range of Mercedes models. This is one of the new generation of four-cylinder
engines from Mercedes-Benz featuring the unique TWINPULSE system which offers
further advances in terms of performance, torque, smoothness and fuel economy.
The TWINPULSE system combines a range of different technologies such as a
compressor, balancer shafts, charge-air cooling, variable camshaft adjustment
and four-valve technology. This high-tech package makes the new SLK 200
KOMPRESSOR eight percent more fuel-efficient than its equally
powerful predecessor. The NEDC overall fuel consumption rating is just 8.7
litres of fuel over a distance of 100 kilometres.
Comfort: AIRSCARF – a world first for even greater top-down driving pleasure.
and more often is the clear message from the new Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class to fans
of top-down driving. AIRSCARF is a world first which allows drivers to lower the
vario-roof even when there is a real chill in the air. Owners can now enjoy the
true roadster experience more frequently than ever before. AIRSCARF is an
innovative heating system located in the seat headrests: at the touch of a
button, temperature-controlled air flows out of special vents in the headrests
to keep the shoulders, neck and heads of SLK occupants warm on the road –
acting just like an invisible scarf.
THERMATIC system represents a further innovation for perfect in-car climate
control and is standard equipment on the SLK 350 and the SLK 55 AMG. For even more
demanding car drivers, Mercedes-Benz has developed the THERMOTRONIC luxury
climate control system, equipped with solar and pollutant sensors.
just 4 U 2 N V we took some pics of the magnificent Mercedes-Benz Mclaren at Kyalami the other day, feast your eyes!
Photos by Dylan Slater.