Orders are said to be streaming in from around the world for Mercedes-Benz’s new SLK ahead of its launch in Geneva, and the entire line-up should be in South Africa by the end of 2004.

Orders are said to be streaming in from around the world for Mercedes-Benz’s new SLK ahead of its launch at next month’s Geneva Motor show. And the entire line-up should be in South Africa by the end of 2004, we’ve been told.

Shirle Greig, spokesperson for DaimlerChrysler SA, said on Monday that the full range should be available from the second half of the year. The SLK 200 K will be available in July, the SLK 350 (complete with a new engine) in September and the distinctive SLK 55 AMG in November.

While pre-launch prices in Europe are already set at just under R300 000 for the entry-level 200 K to about R540 000 for the range topping 55 AMG, the local prices are yet to be confirmed, Greig said.

Three different engine variants are available for the new car, developing from 120 kW to 265 kW. The range includes - for the first time in this vehicle class - an eight-cylinder power unit. As CARtoday.com reported on Friday, the SLK 350 will come equipped with the new lightweight six cylinder V6 engine. This new engine is said to develop 200 kW and 350 N.m of torque.

The SLK 55 AMG, with its 265kW output and 510N.m of torque, is the only eight-cylinder V8 engine in its market segment. It will include as standard; AMG sports suspension, seats and body-styling, as well as the AMG ergonomic sports steering wheel.

It will also probably feature Thermatic air conditioning and the 7G-Tronic seven speed automatic transmission with AMG speedshift and steering wheel gearshift buttons.

A further developed vario-roof transforms the roadster into a coupé in 22 seconds. The overall styling has strong F1 design cues already employed in the design of the Mclaren SLR.

Original article from Car