Passion, style and innovative technology – the new SLK sets standards
- In 1996 the first generation caused a sensation with the vario-roof, which transformed the wide-open roadster into a coupé with a fixed roof at the touch of a button in just a few seconds
- the second generation placed the warm AIRSCARF around the neck and shoulders of the occupants as needed, ensuring pleasurable open-top motoring even in cooler temperatures
- now the third generation is presenting one of its unique highlights – the world premiere of the panoramic vario-roof with MAGIC SKY CONTROL. It can be quickly switched to light or dark at the touch of a button
But the new Mercedes-Benz SLK offers more than merely individual highlights. It assumes a leading position in every discipline and offers fun at the wheel in every respect, with no half-hearted compromises. It impresses with characteristics which are generally deemed to be irreconcilable: it succeeds in uniting excellent comfort and high-quality equipment and appointments with a decidedly sporty flair, for instance. At the same time the new roadster is the most economical and thus the most environmentally friendly in its class, also setting new safety standards. And all-weather driving enjoyment – open and closed, in leisure-time and everyday use – is firmly anchored in the SLK’s genes.
The designers have tailor-made an outfit for the new SLK which emphasises its classic roadster proportions and puts them in the spotlight to thrilling effect. Behind the long bonnet is a compact passenger compartment positioned far back, and a short tail end. The SLK will tempt potential customers with the key attributes that characterise all the classic roadsters from Mercedes-Benz and that have also made many of them automotive icons.
The first feature to catch the eye is an upright radiator grille that stands proud and confident in the wind. It facilitates the long and well-proportioned bonnet 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.” But it was certainly not just the past that the designers were focussing on; with the new SLK’s front end they also intentionally created a close visual link with the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG “gull-wing 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 preceding model’s Cd value was 0.32).
The closed, elegant shape of the side view with the classic roadster proportions quickens the pulse and is a visual promise of the sportiness and driving pleasure in store. Fine details show the care that has been taken by the Mercedes-Benz designers. For example, a fillet conceals the boot joint, so that it does not disturb the side aspect as 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 elegance to the sides. Meanwhile the upper edge of the wide headlamps – which boast all-LED technology for the first time – also appears to flow into the feature line.
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 a real feel-good ambience. The interior is characterised by sporty refinement, well-thought-out ergonomics and high-quality, authentic materials which have been processed with painstaking attention to detail 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, galvanised air outlets integrated in the dashboard emphasise that this model well and truly belongs to the Mercedes-Benz sports car family, their shape being derived from those in the SLS.
The SLK’s generous dial instruments are flanked by a display for the information generated by the online computer. The colour display for the communications and entertainment functions is housed in the centre of the dashboard, and can be easily read by both the driver and passenger. On the top of the dashboard, also in the centre, sits a fine analogue clock – an unusual detail which subtly underlines the roadster’s stylish character.
Other high-quality items of equipment include a multifunction sports steering wheel with a flattened lower section and a thick leather rim, plus optional sun-reflecting leather which noticeably reduces the degree to which the surfaces it covers heat up, impressive ambient lighting which for the first time has a red colour tone, and the innovative neck-level heating system AIRSCARF familiar from the preceding model.