The New SLK Coupe/Roadster: Athletic, Innovative and More Powerful
The original SLK shook up the small roadster market when it was introduced in 1997, and the second generation SLK has wowed the market since it hit Canadian streets in the fall of 2004. More than 300,000 of the original Mercedes-Benz SLK Coupe/Roadsters have been sold around the world, and 3,467 of them were retailed in Canada from launch (1997) through the first half of 2004.
Stronger, sportier and more aggressive, the new SLK features bold, athletic styling and is powered by a new-generation 268-horsepower, 3.5-litre V6 engine with four valves per cylinder, double-overhead camshafts and variable valve timing for both intake and exhaust valves. Additional improvements on the 2005 SLK-Class include an all-new, more precise six-speed manual transmission, 17-inch, 10-spoke alloy wheels, and an available lowered sport suspension.
The 2005 SLK Engine with Variable Valve Timing
Rarely does the completion of new engine technology correspond with the unveiling of an all-new car. However, the debut of the 2005 SLK Coupe/Roadster also marks the arrival of a new high-tech engine family from Mercedes-Benz, one which is characterized by four valves per cylinder and variable valve timing for both the intake and exhaust valves. Variable intake and exhaust valve timing requires separate camshafts for the intake and exhaust, so the new SLK powerplant represents the first time Mercedes-Benz has used double-overhead camshaft technology on their V6 engines.
The most powerful engine in its class, the 3.5-litre all-aluminium V6 produces 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, with maximum torque available from 2,400 rpm all the way up to 5,000 rpm. The new V6 already develops 87 percent of its maximum torque at only 1,500 rpm. While the variable valve timing system should be credited for the engine’s unusually broad torque curve, a two-stage intake manifold plays a key role as well.
Design Cues from the F1 World
Inspired by the world of Formula One racing, the exterior design of the new SLK incorporates an arrow-shaped nose, long front hood, steeply sloped windshield and a tapered, wedge-shaped silhouette. The car is nearly 8 dm longer and wider than its predecessor. Aggressive styling carries through to the rear, marked by a new dual exhaust layout. Stopping power is provided courtesy of huge 330 mm perforated and ventilated front disc brakes with four-piston calipers and 290 mm rear discs with two-piston calipers.
The SLK interior is completely redesigned, with silver switches and trim elements that contrast against a darker dash. Large chronometer-style gauges – speedometer, fuel gauge, tachometer and clock – dominate the cockpit, while the sculpted dash blends into the door panels.
Even the Retractable Hardtop is Faster
The automatic retractable hardtop of the original car set the SLK apart from its competition. With the top up, it’s a quiet coupe – push a button, and the car was topless.
The roof of the new SLK goes up and down even more quickly, now 22 seconds, and the folded roof takes up less trunk space – thanks to its pivoting rear window. Like the retractable hardtop of the larger SL model, the rear window of the new SLK pivots to match the curvature of the top, providing nearly 85 litres of trunk room.
An Extended Driving Season
Located within the seatbacks of the new SLK is an optional new technology that can extend the open-air driving season into the cooler months. The AIRSCARF neck-level heating system blows warm air from the head restraints of the driver and passenger seats, allowing occupants to cruise comfortably with the retractable hardtop open in colder weather. AIRSCARF even compensates automatically for changes in air temperature and vehicle speed.
Hardbody with the Hardtop
The unitized body of the second-generation SLK uses even more high-strength steel alloy – now 42 percent of the total body structure. The result, with the top down, is a 46 percent increase in torsional strength and a 19 percent increase in bending strength of the body. The entire body shell is zinc-coated for long-term corrosion protection, and the SLK makes use of a new more scratch-resistant clearcoat paint that was initially developed in the nanotechnology sector.
Engineers have been able to incorporate ceramic particles less than a millionth of a millimeter in size into the molecular structure of the paint bonding agent. As the paint dries, these particles form a regular, dense pattern that triples the scratch resistance of the paintwork. Rigorous laboratory car wash tests show 40% improvement in gloss retention.
One of the Safest Open Cars
The original SLK was deemed one of the safest roadsters in the world, and the new-generation SLK is even safer. In addition to its two-stage front air bags for both the driver and passenger, the new SLK is now also equipped with knee bags and head-thorax air bags which are located in the back of the seats and deploy in the event of a side impact that exceeds the deployment threshold. The top edge of the fully-inflated head-thorax air bags reaches above the top edge of the seat back to help provide better head and neck protection similar to the curtain-type air bags on hardtop Mercedes models.
Like all Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles, the new SLK comes equipped with the Electronic Stability Program (ESP), a Mercedes innovation that can help prevent slides and spins, especially in slippery weather. ESP can detect an impending spin or slide and prevent it by applying selective braking (on one wheel) to keep the car going where the driver is pointing it. In addition, full-range straight-line traction control provides safer travel on slippery road surfaces. Also standard on the SLK is Brake Assist, which can detect an emergency or “panic” stop (based on how quickly the brake pedal is applied) and, with lightning speed, apply full braking force faster than a driver could.
About Mercedes-Benz Canada
Mercedes-Benz Canada is responsible for the sales, marketing and service of the three brands within the Mercedes Car Group in Canada; Mercedes-Benz, smart, and Maybach. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Mercedes-Benz Canada employs approximately 910 people in 23 locations across Canada. Through a nationwide network of 19 Mercedes-Benz owned retail operations and 39 authorized dealerships, Mercedes-Benz Canada sold 13,876 vehicles during 2003, the second best year reported for Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc.
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