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New Mercedes SLK with Magic Sky Control

Clever new glass roof features on new SLK roadster

The new Mercedes SLK

The new Mercedes SLK

Mercedes-Benz has revealed details of its third-generation SLK roadster, complete with optional Magic Sky Control roof and the latest Mercedes family looks.

The new Mercedes-Benz SLK gets plenty of high-tech gadgets – including all of the most recent Mercedes safety kit – plus engine improvements that bring up to a 25% gain in efficiency.

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Mercedes SLK: Magic Sky Control

In terms of appearance, the new SLK takes cues from the Mercedes CLS coupé and Mercedes SLS supercar. But what it most resembles is a reduced-size Mercedes SL.

Mercedes SLK

Touch-button roof is a new addition to the convertible

However, the new SLK packs some features that even its big brother can’t match. Chief amongst these is the Magic Sky Control Roof. This has a glass panel that can be switched from near translucence to dark tint at the touch of a button – allowing in more light or keeping the cabin cool.

A regular, and undoubtedly cheaper, panoramic roof is also offered, alongside the standard painted metal version. All three retract into the boot, turning the SLK from coupé to convertible in a matter of seconds.

Further open-top innovation for the new model comes in the form of a redesigned windblocker called Airguide. Decidedly less high-tech than the Magic Sky Control, this consists of clear panels that can be flipped into place by driver and passenger to direct unpleasant drafts away from the cabin.

The new SLK also carries over the Airscarf introduced on the previous car, which vents warm air at neck level.

Read our guide to the car options worth paying extra for

Mercedes SLK

The 2011 Mercedes SLK range has stop-start technology

BlueEfficiency engines

Powering the third-generation SLK from launch will be a choice of three petrol engines.

The SLK 200 and SLK 250 are both powered by 1.8-litre four-cylinder engines, producing 181bhp and 201bhp respectively. The SLK 350 uses an all-new 3.5-litre V6, with 301bhp.

All three are badged BlueEfficiency – Mercedes’ equivalent to BMW’s EfficientDynamics – and all three feature direct injection and stop-start technology as standard. Unsurprisingly, the SLK 200 is the most frugal, managing a claimed fuel economy of 46.3mpg when fitted with the optional seven-speed automatic gearbox. The SLK 250 returns 45.5mpg and the SLK 350 an impressive 39.7mpg, both with the seven-speed ‘box as standard.

Quoted performance figures are 0-62mph in 7.0 seconds and 147mph for the SLK 200 (150mph with the standard manual gearbox), 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds and 150mph for the SLK 250, and 0-62mph in 5.6 seconds and 155mph for the SLK 350.

The SLK’s new body shape is more aerodynamic than the old one, further improving fuel economy.

Use our fuel economy calculator to work out how economical your car really is

Mercedes SLK

Three different chassis setups are available

Dynamic Handling and Attention Assist

Complimenting the engines is a choice of three different chassis setups – standard, sport and a Dynamic Handling package.

The Dynamic Handling package includes continuously adjustable damper technology, Mercedes Direct-Steer for improved responses, and Torque Vectoring Brakes. It’s claimed to offer both stability and agility benefits.

Other highlights for the new SLK include aluminium body panels for the front wings and bonnet, plus a raft of extra safety equipment. New standard features include Attention Assist, which monitors the driver for signs of drowsiness, and Pre-Safe, which prepares the car for impact should an accident become unavoidable. Pre-Safe can be upgraded further to Pre-Safe Brake, which automatically brakes the car in an attempt to lessen the impact.

Other safety options include active headlights – the new SLK is also available with all-LED lighting for the first time – and Speed Limit Assist, a camera system that reads road signs and displays the current speed limit inside the car.

The new, third-generation Mercedes-Benz SLK is set to reach UK showrooms this coming June. Pricing and full specification details will be confirmed nearer this time.

Read our full review of the current Mercedes SLK


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