Mercedes-Benz has released details of its updated 2008 SLK Roadster and are claiming it is more powerful yet more fuel efficient than the outgoing model. The SLK series Roadsters have, according to Mercedes come to symbolise the three pointed stars ?dynamic band image?, and have successfully sold nearly half a million units since the release of the first generation model in 1996.
Incorporating around 650 newly developed parts, the SLK models of 2008 include a re-modelled front bumper that builds on the outgoing models F1 inspired nose and a rear diffuser-style lower section in the rear. The rear also benefits from trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes and AMG-inspired darkened tail lights. The now larger exterior mirrors feature LED indicators with a pronounced arrow shape, while the range of light-alloy wheels is also almost entirely new.
The interior has been refreshed and now includes a new three-spoke sports steering wheel with multifunction buttons and a new instrument cluster with dial surrounds. New "gullwing red" leather appointments will be available ? reminiscent of the interior appointments in the legendary 300 SL gullwing model. Further new additions include nappa leather appointments in "natural beige", which complement the new "pale burr walnut" and "black ash grain" wood trims that are available.
Mercedes-Benz is installing the new NTG 2.5 audio and telematics generation in the SLK for the first time. It is easier to operate and offers an even wider range of useful functions. Standard features integrated in every radio include a hands-free system with Bluetooth technology and a new media interface in the glove compartment, allowing the full integration of mobile audio devices such as an iPod, which can then be operated via the audio system's user interface.
Together with the new telematics generation, Mercedes-Benz is also offering the LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system as an optional extra in the SLK-Class for the first time. A harman kardon? Logic7? sound system is available as an option.
The three powerplants available in the SLK have also been revised and are now more powerful and frugal. Extensive revision of the 3.5-litre V6, including a higher compression ratio, a new intake manifold and extensively modified valvetrain, has allowed the rev limit to be raised to 6800rpm and even 7200rpm for brief periods. The result is 224 kW/305hp and 360 Nm, a 24 kW and 10 Nm improvement over the outgoing model., and now stands at when the engine is running at 4900 rpm.
Despite the higher output MB claim the SLK 350 consumes considerably less fuel. With the six-speed manual transmission, combined fuel consumption is just 9.5 litres per 100 km, a reduction of 1.1 litres per 100 km; if the 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission is fitted, a combined fuel consumption of just 9.2 litres per 100 km or an improvement of 0.9 litres is possible when compared to its predecessor. Lower fuel consumption means that CO2 emissions are also reduced ? by 23 g/km to 219 g/km in the automatic version and by 28 g/km to 227 g/km in the manual version.
The 2008 Mercedes-Bennz SLK engine line-up is as follows:
? The output of the four-cylinder supercharged engine has been boosted by
15 kW/21 hp (to 135 kW/184 hp), while its torque has been increased from 240 to 250 Nm. Combined fuel consumption has been cut by 1.0 litres to
7.7 litres per 100 km whilst CO2 emissions have been reduced by 27 g/km to 182 g/km.
? The SLK 280 has also been further improved with respect to fuel economy and, therefore, CO2 emissions. Fuel consumption has been cut by 0.4 litres to 9.3 litres per 100 km (if an automatic transmission is fitted, the figure is
0.2 litres lower at 9.1 litres per 100 km), while CO2 emissions have been reduced by 11 g to 220 g/km (if an automatic transmission is fitted, the figure is 6 g lower at 216 g/km).
? The SLK 55 AMG is still equipped with the familiar 5.5-litre V8 powerplant developing 265 kW/360 hp and a peak torque of 510 Nm.
Standard equipment for the three new SLK models includes is a six-speed manual gearshift, while the SLK 55 AMG continues to come with the 7G TRONIC Sport seven-speed automatic transmission as standard, in fact the only changes for the AMG car are a slight revision to the front bumper, mechanically it remains unchanged.
Options include a five-speed automatic transmission for the SLK 200 and the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission or, alternatively, the 7G-TRONIC Sport with shift paddles on the steering wheel for the six-cylinder SLK 280 and SLK 350 models.