One of the most successful sports cars, the Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class, enters its next life stage. More attractive and more powerful than its predecessor, it will emerge on to markets in 2004.

One of the most successful sports cars, the Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class, enters its next life stage. More attractive and more powerful than its predecessor, it will emerge on to markets in 2004.

The second generation of this popular two-seater again captures the imagination with its Formula One-inspired design details.

The new model offers a choice of three new engines with a performance range extending from 120 kW to 265 kW. This includes an eight-cylinder supplied by Mercedes-AMG, while the SLK 350 is powered by a new 200kW V6 engine.

The new SLK 55 AMG now sets a new benchmark in terms of power (265 kW), torque (510N.m) and acceleration (zero-100 km/h in 4,9 seconds). Its V8 power unit is twinned as standard with the recently developed 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission controlled by the driver using gearshift buttons on the steering wheel.

Mercedes-Benz has developed a new six-cylinder engine with 200kW and 350N.m for the SLK 350. Maximum torque is available from an engine speed of just 2400 rpm and remains constant across a wide rev band extending up to 5000 r/min.

From a standing start, the SLK 350 reaches 100 km/h in just 5,6 seconds (with the 7G-TRONIC: 5,5 seconds) and accelerates from 60 to 120 km/h in 8,7 seconds (with the 7G-TRONIC: 5,1 seconds).

This is the first time that Mercedes-Benz has ever produced a V6 engine with variable camshaft control on intake and exhaust sides.

The 120 kW engine in the SLK 200 Kompressor is also celebrating a premiere status in this range of Mercedes models. This is one of the new generation of four-cylinder engines from Mercedes-Benz featuring the TWINPULSE system which offers further advances in terms of performance, torque, smoothness and fuel economy.

As standard equipment, the SLK 200 Kompressor and SLK 350 are fitted with a six-speed transmission. As an option, the four-cylinder engine can be twinned with the five-speed automatic transmission while the new six-cylinder can be paired up with the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission.

The distinguishing features of the sports-tuned suspension are the new design of three-link front axle, the rack-and-pinion steering unit and an even more powerful braking system than the previous model. Mercedes engineers have modified many details of the multi-link independent rear suspension unit and have adapted it to suit the increased track width of this new model.

The design and technology employed in this second generation of the SLK-Class place even greater emphasis on sports performance. The body size has grown by 72 mm in length and 65 mm in width.

From an initial glance, the design of this car reflects the sporty and altogether more powerful character of the new SLK-Class. A long bonnet, steeply raked windscreen, wide doors and short boot are the typical characteristics of a roadster and the new SLK underlines these even more emphatically than its predecessor. The extra 30 millimetres on the wheelbase, the distinctive arrow-like tapering at the front and rear and the wedge-shaped silhouette all contribute to this impression.

The interior has also been completely redesigned and substantially upgraded.

Depending on the model choice, standard equipment in the new SLK-Class can include 16, 17 or even 18-inch alloy wheels. Standard too are head-thorax sidebags, adaptive front airbags and two-stage belt force limiters.

In a global first, Mercedes-Benz has introduced the AIRSCARF heating system. This delivers a flow of warm air from the headrests enabling SLK occupants to keep the roof down even when the temperatures are down.

Automatic climate control, bi-xenon headlamps with cornering light, COMAND and the unique 7G-TRONIC 7-speed automatic transmission add to the technological innovations that can now be supplied as options to the SLK-Class for the first time.

A further development of its vario-roof transforms this roadster into a coupé in just 22 seconds. For the first time ever, as an optional feature, the vario-roof can also be activated using the remote control on the vehicle key.

The new range of SLK’s will be available in the European markets from March 2004.

Original article from Car