The New Mercedes Benz SLK-Class | Part Two

Design: sports dynamics with designer features from Formula motor racing

From an initial glance, the design of this car reflects the sporty and altogether more powerful character of the new SLK-Class. A long bonnet, steeply raked windscreen, wide doors and short boot are the typical characteristics of a roadster and the new SLK underlines these even more emphatically than its predecessor. The extra 30 mm on the wheelbase, the distinctive arrow-like tapering at the front and rear and the wedge-shaped silhouette all contribute to this impression.

With attractive geometry details like the strikingly sharp nose section, special fins on the radiator grille and the twin exhaust system reminiscent of a racing car, the design of the new SLK recalls the fact that this two-seater is the child of a company with a long and illustrious tradition of sports car production.

The interior has also been completely redesigned and substantially upgraded with a careful choice of materials. The design concept is characterised by switches, pushbuttons and decorative elements with silver-coloured surfaces, creating a sharp contrast with the black surfaces of the instrument panel. Customers who opt for a leather interior can select from a range of six colours to create their personal choice of interior look.

Body: best in itS-Class for aerodynamics and luggage compartment volume

The beautifully shaped body of the new SLK also stands out for its technical merits: no other roadster in thiS-Class matches its superb Cd value (0.32), its exceptional standards of body strength, an equivalent fuel tank capacity (70 litres) or a comparable size of luggage compartment (300 litres when vario-roof is closed).

The innovative vario-roof with which the Mercedes sports car set new trends back in 1996 has been further improved by the engineers at the Sindelfingen plant and its technology has been honed. It opens and closes faster than ever before and thanks to a pivoting rear window it now takes up even less space in the luggage compartment. When the vario-roof is open, the luggage compartment capacity is 208 litres (applying the VDA measurement method) – this is 63 litres more than that of the predecessor model. For the first time ever, as an optional feature available on request, the vario-roof can also be actuated using the remote control on the vehicle key.

continues... | Part Three
Published 8 January 2004 Melanie Carter

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