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Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class

Carpedia  ·  October 30, 2019

Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class

The Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class was produced in the Bremen factory in Germany since 1996 and discontinued in 2019. Designed as a compact luxury roadster, it had a longitudinal front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. 

The name SLK stands for sportlich (sporty), leicht (light), and kurz (short) to characterise the idea behind the car. In 2016, Mercedes-Benz rebranded it as SLC-Class with the new naming scheme. SL would mark any roadster, followed by the letter representing their placement within the hierarchy, making SLC-Class on the level of a C-Class. 

With diminishing sales in the USA and Europe through production years, Mercedes finally discontinued it in February of 2019.

First Generation (1996-2004)

The R170 Mercedes-Benz SLK had its introduction at the Turin Motor Show on 22 April 1996. Based on the W202 C-Class platform, it shared most chassis and drivetrain components with it, as well as the shortened version of the floorpan. The wheelbase is the same as on the 190SL and 300SL, at 2.4m or 94 inches, while the kerb weight is 1195-1461kg. 

It features a Vario roof that could deploy in 25 seconds. SLK scored a four-star rating for adult occupant and a one-star rating for a pedestrian at the Euro NCAP crash test. 

Throughout production, 311,222 cars rolled out of the Bremen factory.

Standard equipment included ABS, alloy wheels, cruise control, driver/passenger/side airbags, electric and heated mirrors, electric windows, height-adjustable driver’s seat, PAS, remote locking, service indicator, side airbags, sports seat, steering wheel reach adjustment, traction control.

Optional equipment included air conditioning, alarm, body-coloured bumpers, CD, central locking, climate control, cloth seat trim, electric driver’s seat, electric passengers seat, front fog lights, headlight washers, heated seats, leather seat trim, metallic paint, space-saving spare wheel, steering wheel rake adjustment.

In 2000, SLK received a facelift, with changes to the front and rear bumpers, grille and taillights, body-colour painted side skirts, and door handles, indicators integrated into mirrors, restyled steering wheel and gear shifter, and redesigned seats. 

Originally, SLK200 was exported only to select few European countries, later replaced by the SLK200 Kompressor which was available worldwide. In total, seven petrol variants were available, three 2.0L, two 2.3L, and two 3.2L. In Australia, the following versions were available: 

Second Generation (2004-2010)

The R171 took its debut at the Geneva International Motor Show. It introduced modifications from the predecessor: longer wheelbase and dimensions, a 40% increase in high-strength steel used, adaptive two-stage airbags, head/thorax side bags, seven-speed automatic transmission. An improved Vario roof now deploys in 22 seconds and uses less of the trunk space.

Standard equipment includes ABS, alarm, alloy wheels, audio remote, body-coloured bumpers, CD, Cruise control, Driver, Passenger and Side airbags, Electric mirrors, Front electric windows, front fog lights, heated mirrors, PAS, remote locking, service indicator, space-saving spare wheel, sports seats, traction control.

Optional equipment includes air conditioning, climate control, cloth seat trim, electric driver’s seat, electric passenger’s seat, heated seats, height-adjustable driver’s seat, leather seat trim, metallic paint, steering wheel reach and rake adjustment.

In 2008 the SLK received a facelift with changes to the front bumper and addition of rear diffuser. Exterior mirrors received LED indicators, and a new range of light-alloy wheels is added, while the dashboard is changed to be more driver-oriented. Optional extras included direct steering assist system with variable steering assistance, gullwing red interior and Nappa leather. 

On the Australian market, a selection of petrol engines is made available, ranging from 1.8L to 5.4L in the AMG variant. 

Third Generation (2011-2019)

The R172 was revealed in Stuttgart in January of 2011, with a public launch at the Geneva Motor Show in the same year. It incorporates headlamp design from the 190SL roadster, front end from the SLS AMG Coupé and CLS-Class, but remains in the theme of the previous generations. It comes with a two-piece Vario roof made out of metal. Options are available for a vehicle-coloured Vario roof, one with tinted windows, or one with Magic Sky Control. The latter contains a glass roof that can be switched dark or light. In 2015, SLK received a facelift and rebrand into SLC-Class, featuring improved engines and 9G-Tronic automatic gearbox.

Standard equipment includes ABS, alarm, alloy wheels, audio remote, body-coloured bumpers, cruise control, driver/passenger/side airbags, electric mirrors, front electric windows, front fog lights, heated mirrors, height-adjustable driver’s seat, PAS, remote locking, service indicator, steering wheel rake and reach adjustment, sports seats, traction control.

Optional equipment includes CD, DVD, leather seat trim, Sat Nav, climate control, space-saving spare wheel, and heated seats.

Powertrain options are available in Australia range from 1.8L to 5.5L engines, all petrol variants. They produce from 135kW up to 310kW and are paired with seven or nine-speed automatic transmission.

Author: Luka Kusic

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