Well it’s all somewhat anticlimactic now, given the beans were spilled well over a month ago, but we now have an official announcement from Mercedes-Benz of the imminent arrival of an all-new SLK model. You may recall that just over one month ago, we showed you a promotional video of the new SLK produced for the French market, that had been "inadvertently" leaked to the ‘net.
Back in 1996, the SLK was the first hardtop convertible sport cars to hit the market. This new, third generation of the car takes that concept one step farther with an innovation Mercedes-Benz has termed “Magic Sky Control”. Like Transitions sunglass lenses for the roof of the car, at the touch of a button, the roof goes from near transparent to shaded, permitting the driver to control the amount of light entering the car—whether the roof is raised or lowered.
Another innovation coming with the new SLK is termed “Airguide” by Mercedes. An improvement upon the conventional wind blocker now ubiquitous with all convertibles, the SLK’s Airguide is attached to the back of the roll bars and can be pivoted into position when needed.
Engine choices include a 3.5-liter V-6 and a 1.8-liter in-line four. The SLK350’s V-6 will make 302 horsepower, accelerate to 60 in 5.4 seconds and its top speed will be limited to 155 mph. The V-6 will be available at launch, while the turbocharged in-line four, slated for later introduction, will make 201 horsepower and displace 1796 cc—why it isn’t termed an SLK180 is anybody’s guess, although, 250 does sound more powerful than 180. The 250 will come with a six-speed manual transmission as standard equipment, accelerate to 60 in 6.5 seconds and will top out at 155 miles per hour. It’s said to achieve 27 mpg overall.
The suspension system has been firmed up over the outgoing model and the adoption of a torque vectoring braking system applies individual brakes selectively to help the car corner more adroitly. In addition, the steering system has been recalibrated to be light at parking speeds while simultaneously offering better steering feel and control at speed.
A definite introduction date and pricing have yet to be announced, but with two major auto shows left in the 2011 season, the odds are good we’ll get our first glimpse of the car in person at either the Chicago Auto Show in February, or the New York show in March.