2010 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class
2010 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class
Mercedes-Benz has been producing their compact roadster for almost a decade now. The first modern car to feature a foldable hardtop, the Mercedes SLK, proved to be a real trendsetter and generated a real revolution in the convertible segment. At the end of this decade, the Stuttgart manufacturer will reinvent the compact two-seater convertible by presenting the third generation of the SLK. We did our best to anticipate how that vehicle is going to be like
In 1997 Mercedes-Benz have introduced a compact roadster to compete with the BMW Z3 and the Porsche Boxster. While the two competitors where purist performance-oriented convertible, Mercedes went for a practical approach and amazed anyone with the addition of an electro-hydraulically controlled foldable hardtop. This gizmo transformed their car from roadster to coupe in 25 seconds at the push of a button. Cars with foldable hardtops were created before, but none in the modern era of the automobile. Mercedes have resurrected and revolutionized a concept lost for years. And what a bombshell that was, as today all manufacturers seem to be switching to this type of a roof.
The name of the compact Mercedes-Benz roadster was intended to reflect the car’s main characteristics those of being Sportlich (sporty), Leicht (light), and Kompakt (compact). By now, two generations of the SLK have been produced, the second one being introduced in 2004. With an updated design inspired by the F1 racer and the larger SLR, the current SLK was an instant success.
For 2010 Mercedes is preparing a replacement model, the third generation SLK. Wearing the internal code R172, the 2010 model will have to face a matching competition. The SLK Mk I had the advantage of being the only roadster/coupe at the launch time. Even the Mk II, only had to face a few competitors, but by 2010, almost every roadster will feature a foldable hardtop option.
We have prepared for you two illustrations that will help us imagine how the third SLK might look like, when it is released. A third illustration is an official sketch from Mercedes-Benz. There are rumors pointing that Mercedes will continue using a “nose” design inspired by that of their F1 car for their sports cars. In 2001, Mercedes have presented the F400 Carving concept, and advanced roadster design, featuring top-edge automotive technology. While this sophisticated technology of the F400’s drive train could not be road-used. Design elements could. And our best guess is that the 2010 SLK will feature a very dynamic design, making of serious departure from the styling of the previous models. This design revolution will be required in order to maintain the SLK’s technological advantage to the competition.
The foldable roof will most probably benefit from a completely new design. The current SL already uses a more sophisticated three-piece roof. Until 2010, Mercedes will have plenty of time to develop a completely new converting system. One of the disadvantages of a retractable hard-roof in comparison with a soft-top is that it adds a lot of weight, therefore diminishing performance. This is one matter that Mercedes will definitely struggle to remediate.
The first Mercedes SLK was launched in 1997. The second generation of one of the most exciting and successful sports cars on the market is ready to hit the streets: Mercedes-Benz presents the new SLK-Class. Even more alluring, more powerful and sportier than ever, the beguiling two-seater is due to celebrate its European market premiere in March 2004. Three different engine variants are available for the new car, developing from 120 kW/163 hp to 265 kW/360 hp. The range includes - for the first time in this vehicle class - an eight-cylinder power unit from Mercedes-AMG. The V6 engine in the SLK 350, meanwhile, develops 200 kW/272 hp and delivers impressively dynamic driving pleasure.
The second generation of the Mercedes compact two-seater also boasts an exquisite overall design, several details of which take their cue from Formula 1. The SLK thus remains true to its reputation as a trendsetter and technological leader in this category of sports cars. The further developed varioroof, which transforms the roadster into a coupe in just 22 seconds, is joined on the list of standard equipment by head/thorax sidebags, adaptive front airbags and two-stage belt force limiters. The car’s chassis, steering and manual transmission have been given an even sportier edge.
Plus, Mercedes-Benz is presenting a world first, in the shape of the innovative AIRSCARF neck-level heating system. At the touch of a button, AIRSCARF generates warm air, which flows out from the head restraints. This allows the SLK passengers to keep the roof down even when the outside temperatures drop and to enjoy the open-top roadster experience the whole year round. Automatic climate control, bi-xenon headlamps with cornering light function, COMAND APS and the unique seven-speed automatic transmission 7G-TRONIC are among the other technical innovations offered as options for the first time in the SLK-Class.
The new Mercedes Roadster replaces a successful first-generation model enjoyed by over 308,000 delighted owners since autumn 1996. The global number one in its market segment, it serves as a symbol for the new, dynamic brand image of Mercedes-Benz.
The second generation of the SLK-Class has an even sportier edge in terms of both its design and engineering and, with its powerful engines, newly developed chassis, direct steering and precise six-speed manual transmission, delivers an even more agile driving experience. The body is 72 millimeters longer and 65 millimeters wider than the outgoing model, providing the SLK’s passengers with more space and even greater comfort.
A complete review of the 2006 Mercedes-Benz SLK is available here.
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