In February 2000, Mercedes-Benz substantially upgraded the level of equipment for its roadster and incorporated innovations such as the Electronic Stability Program (ESP), a six-speed manual transmission and cruise control in its standard equipment package. In visual terms, a new bumper and side skirts gave the car an even more dramatic appearance. All the attachments and door handles were painted to match the vehicle body to enable the whole car to present an image of a unified whole, in terms of both color and form. New taillights, stainless steel trim on the exhaust tailpipe, and a painted radiator grille gave the SLK design an even more commanding identity.
In 2004, the second generation of the SLK (internal model series designation: R171) was launched — offering even more sportiness and driving pleasure. Thanks to powerful engines, a newly developed chassis, direct steering and a precise six-speed stick shift , the second generation of the SLK provided an even more responsive driving experience. As a world first, Mercedes-Benz introduced the AIRSCARF neck-level heating system. At the touch of a button, it blows warm air from the head restraints. This now meant that drivers of the SLK were able to enjoy open-top driving and the open-air roadster experience all year round, even when the outside temperature dropped.
True to the principle of ongoing development, the 2009MY SLK underwent a comprehensive restyling. The most significant visual changes included redesigned front and rear sections and also a carefully modified interior with new instrument cluster and three-spoke sports steering wheel. The distinctive stylish character of the two-seater was emphasized by the SLK350, courtesy of a highrevving V6 sports engine producing 300 hp along with the Direct-Steer system. In addition, despite their significantly increased performance, all of the engines were more economical in terms of fuel consumption and in turn therefore produced less CO2 emissions.
The new SLK, which was unveiled in January 2011 and designated internally as the R172, will now also follow in these same footsteps. Thanks to new engines the roadster will consume significantly less fuel, thus demonstrating that achieving pure driving pleasure while maintaining a clear conscience when it comes to the environment are not mutually exclusive. The new SLK combines nimble-footed sportiness with stylish comfort, a striking sports car design with suitability for everyday use, and top performance with environmental responsibility. In addition, a unique series of safety equipment makes the SLK benchmark in this segment. Standard equipment on the vehicle includes, among other features, the ATTENTION ASSIST drowsiness detection system. Mercedes-Benz will also be the world’s first automotive manufacturer to offer the panoramic vario-roof with MAGIC SKY CONTROL as an optional extra. With this innovation, the transparent glass roof can be darkened in a matter of seconds at the touch of a button. Thanks to such a rich array of technical innovations, the SLK will once more set the standard in its class.