It’s as smooth as SLK

The lat­est Mercedes sports car is out to im­press, writes Neil Dowl­ing

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

ARACE-face look and a hot bi-turbo AMG ver­sion are key in­gre­di­ents of Mercedes’ third-gen­er­a­tion SLK range. The more af­ford­able sports mod­els from Mercedes now copy the SLS Gull­wing face to take on BMW and Porsche in Aus­tralia by June.

Not only does the Mercedes-Benz SLK — a ju­nior mem­ber in price only in the SL line — have an ag­gres­sive look, it also gets a new at­ti­tude.

Mercedes says petrol en­gines form the ini­tial line-up, with diesel un­der con­sid­er­a­tion and — the good news— an AMG ver­sion that has been con­firmed for do­mes­tic re­lease.

Spokesman David McCarthy says the range starts with two 1.8-litre four-cylin­der tur­bos and a 3.5-litre petrol V6.

Pric­ing of the SLK range is pend­ing but McCarthy says it will be ‘‘very com­pet­i­tive’’ with the fo­cus on fea­tures and fit­tings rather than price.

‘‘The new grille with the inset three-pointed star is re­served for all our sports-ori­ented mod­els, in­clud­ing the CLS,’’ he says.

‘‘But it won’t, for ex­am­ple, flow into the S-Class, where peo­ple pre­fer the sta­tus of the more up­right grille.’’

While the face is new, the stylish pro­file re­mains.

The third-gen­er­a­tion SLK re­tains the fa­mil­iar long bon­net and brief tail, plac­ing the en­gine just be­hind the front axle line and the two oc­cu­pants be­hind the cen­tre of the wheel­base.

The sim­plic­ity of the shape has been in­ter­rupted with vents in the alu­minium front flanks. Mercedes says these are rem­i­nis­cent of its post­war road­sters, but the model also ac­cepts the 21st cen­tury with LED head­lights and tail lights.

It also keeps the fold­ing metal hard-top roof with an op­tional light-sen­si­tive, Magic Sky Con­trol translu­cent-opaque glass roof panel.

The SLK also has the op­tional Airscarf, which

The SLK also has the op­tional Airscarf, which blows warm air through seat head vents on to oc­cu­pants’ necks

blows warm air through seat head vents on to oc­cu­pants’ necks, and the Airguide, which sits above the wind­screen top bar and di­verts wind away from the cabin.

Mercedes has promised to im­prove the qual­ity of its ve­hi­cles — it still has night­mares about the 1990s.

The fo­cus in this range is on im­pres­sive cabin de­sign and con­struc­tion.

All en­gines have di­rect petrol in­jec­tion and stop-start technology.

Mercedes say the com­bi­na­tion can re­duce fuel con­sump­tion by up to 25 per cent.

The diesel is an easy pick, likely the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel from the C and E-Class, but the AMG unit may be an all-new en­gine.

AMG has been work­ing on a bi-turbo V6 in 3.2-litre and 3.5-litre guises — the lat­ter for the next CLS — so ei­ther may be used in the AMG SLK. Look for about 225kW.

There will be three sus­pen­sion ver­sions: nor­mal (stan­dard steel sus­pen­sion); sports (firmer springs and dampers); dy­namic han­dling, which in­cludes elec­tron­i­cally-adap­tive dampers, and di­rect steer vari­able ra­tio steer­ing.

Race face: the new SLK ex­te­rior (be­low) and in­te­rior (right).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.