Mercedes shows off new SLK roadster

Mercedes is set to offer its new two-seat convertible, the SLK, with a range of efficient engines that will include a diesel for the first time.

The new car has also been restyled to give it a nose in keeping with the SLS and CLS, gets a choice of three suspension options and also comes with a new glass roof that can switch from light to shade.
Dubbed Magic Sky Control, it enables the glass to be left clear for an open and airy feel to the cabin or switched to a sunglasses-like dark to offer relief from bright sunshine. It is only available as an option though, and Mercedes will continue to offer a standard metal roof and a permanently tinted glass setup.

The SLK's looks have been completely overhauled, with the new car's front end getting the biggest redesign. It loses the pointy nose of the old version and instead gets the gaping grille that is also found on the SLS AMG and the CLS. Mercedes says it is also paying homage to the 190 SL of the 1950s, said to be a forebear of the current SLK.

Inside, owners will get a dash and centre console featuring brushed aluminium, with the option of wood finishes in black ash or dark brown walnut. It also gets an analogue clock mounted on the top of the dashboard, and the same neck-heater – Airscarf – as the old car and the latest E-Class convertible.

Mercedes will offer three engines from the SLK's launch, two four-cylinder options and an all-new 350 V6 3.5-litre petrol with 302bhp. The 350 SLK will accelerate to 62mph in 5.6 seconds, while the 201bhp 250 and the 181bhp 200 manage the sprint in 6.6 and 7.0 seconds respectively. All three are available with the 7G-tronic automatic gearbox, while the 200 and 250 also come with the option of a manual 'box.

In a change from the SLK's sporting heritage, Mercedes will also be offering a diesel engine, expected to be the 250 CDI. This will arrive in December of this year, while the AMG version – a 5.5-litre V8 with close to 420bhp – is expected to be launched in spring 2012.

Prices for the new SLK will be announced closer to its June launch, but it is expected to remain close to the £30,755 starting price.

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