A new kind of desirability

By admin
07 December 2011

Since Mercedes-Benz introduced the first-generation SLK in 1997 more than half a million of the iconic convertibles have been sold.

The third generation, now on sale in SA, is probably the most beautiful yet – Mercedes’ inspiration for the newcomer’s design comes from the manufacturer’s classic ’50s sports cars.

Like its predecessor it’s also available as SLK 200 and SLK 350 models, and a swift AMG model will make its debut in 2012.

Mercedes has modernised the SLK’s engine so it’s more fuel-efficient. The 200 model’s turbo-driven 1,8-litre engine has an output of 120 kW, the same as before, but torque is now 240 Nm – 20 Nm more than previously. The 350 model, with its V6 engine, has improved performance of 225 kW and 370 Nm.

The SLK 350 boasts a seven-speed automatic gearbox – this is an option in the SLK 200, which has a six-speed manual gearbox.

The SLK’s trademark hard-top retractable roof is now available in three versions – standard without a sunroof, a fixed darkened sunroof and a panoramic Magic Sky. The latter is a sunroof that can be lightened or darkened at the push of a button. The roof folds into the boot in 20 seconds.

There are many other innovations, such as transparent perspex sheets attached to the headrest bars that can be positioned to channel the wind. The new SLK’s interior is also beautifully finished and the leatherwork is the epitome of quality.

With the latest generation SLK’s more aggressive and masculine appearance Mercedes-Benz has definitely succeeded in ensuring it remains one of the most desirable two-seater sports car ranges.

THE SLK RANGE

SLK 200: R555 700

SLK 350: R707 470

VERDICT: Mercedes-Benz has improved on its winning roadster recipe

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