More SLK History info
Assembly Bremen, Germany
Body style(s) 2-door coupe
Similar BMW Z4
Engine(s) 2.0 L I4
2.3 L I4
3.2 L V6
Transmission(s) 5-Speed Automatic
Wheelbase 94.50 in.
Length 157.90 in.
Width 67.50 in.
Height 50.40 in.
Engine(s) 1.8 L I4
3.0 L V6
3.5 L V6
5.4 L V8
Transmission(s) 7-Speed Automatic
Wheelbase 95.70 in.
Length 4087 mm (160.7 in)
Width 1778 mm (70 in)
Height 1298 mm (51.1 in)
Curb weight 1795 kg (3957 lb)
The Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class is a luxury roadster built by the German manufacturer Mercedes-Benz since 1997. The name was chosen to reflect the company's intentions for the car - that it be Sportlich (sporty), Leicht (light) and Kompakt (compact). To date there have been two generations of SLK.
The SLK is perhaps most famous for its retractable hardtop. While it did not pioneer this feature, the SLK revived it in modern automobiles. It was soon followed by the Peugeot 206cc, Lexus SC and the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class.
1997 - R170
Main article: Mercedes-Benz R170
The R170-platform SLK 230 Kompressor was introduced in 1997 for model year 1998 to compete with the Porsche Boxster and BMW Z3. Setting it apart was its folding hardtop, though its additional weight dented the performance of the 185 hp 2.3 L supercharged I4 engine and automatic transmission. The SLK was on Car and Driver's Ten Best list for 1997.
Very few toys or scale replicas of this car were produced and parts can also be a bit hard to come by in some markets.
A 5-speed manual transmission was added for 1999, but it was the introduction of a 215 hp 3.2 L V6 and 6-speed manual transmission in the 2001 SLK 320 that really brought the Sportlich to the car.
An AMG model was added in 2001, with a 354 hp supercharged version of the 3.2 L V6. This SLK 32 AMG was the best-performing SLK ever, and was a direct rival of the BMW M Roadster and Porsche Boxster S. It is only offered with automatic transmission. The SLK AMG engine is also hand built.
Not all Mercedes SLKs were built in Bremen, Germany, the SLK 320 being built in South Africa. The very first R170 Mercedes SLK was completed on January 29, 1997 and last on April 7, 2004.
Summary of all versions and engine specifications:
SLK 200 - 2.0 L (1998 cc) 136 hp I4 engine, 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 9.3 seconds, top speed of 208 km/h (129 mph). NB Exported only to Portugal, Italy and Greece.
SLK 200 Kompressor - 2.0 L (1998 cc) 192 hp I4 supercharged engine, 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 7.7 seconds, top speed of 236 km/h (147 mph).
SLK 230 Kompressor - 2.3 L (2295 cc) 193 hp I4 supercharged engine, 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 7.4 seconds, top speed of 231 km/h (143 mph).
R170 With Facelift
SLK 200 Kompressor - 2.0 L (1998 cc) 163 hp I4 supercharged engine, 0-60 mph in 8.2 seconds, top speed of 223 km/h (138 mph). NB Not exported to North American markets.
SLK 230 Kompressor - 2.3 L (2295 cc) 197 hp I4 supercharged engine, 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds, top speed of 240 km/h (148 mph).
SLK 320 - 3.2 L (3199 cc) 218 hp V6 engine, 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds, top speed of 245 km/h (152 mph).
SLK 32 AMG - 3.2 L (3199 cc) 354 hp V6 engine, 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds, generally electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). Maximum torque is 450Nm, of which 400Nm is available at 2300rpm. To achieve the superlative power output of 354 hp a Lysholm or "twin-screw" supercharger was fitted between the cylinder banks of the hand built V6 engine. While the engine uses the same block as the 320, virtually all the internal components are replaced with superior parts and the oil flow rate increased by 70% over the 320 engine, ensuring longevity even under hard use. The engines are generally reliable, the only consistently reported weakness being a tendency of the supercharger intercooler pump to fail. Modifications to take the power output up to and sometimes over 400hp are relatively easily and cheaply achieved, primarily by fitting a larger crankshaft pulley (thus turning the supercharger faster), free-flow air filters and exhaust systems. No reliability issues appear to have been reported consequent upon such modifications. The automatic transmission is also different to other SLKs' and ensures faster shifting (Mercedes claim faster than the best manual), lock-up in all gears, automatic downshift engine braking during hard deceleration and a feature that holds the transmission in the current gear during hard cornering. When new the SLK32 AMG was the fastest accelerating car ever produced by Mercedes Benz, leaving aside the SLR McLaren. AMG offered as an option an increased limited top speed of 280 km/h (155 mph). These vehicles were factory fitted with Y-rated tyres. There are reports of unlimited vehicles reaching speeds of 306 km/h (190 mph). While such claims should perhaps be approached with caution, Car & Driver report that the 136 kg (300 pound) heavier C32AMG is reputed to be capable of achieving 306 km/h (190 mph) using the identical engine but with a non-standard final drive. The SLK32 AMG is probably among the rarest of all SLKs produced to date, having been built in relatively small production numbers with a total of 4,333 produced. Production commenced in August 2000 and ended in March 2004. 979 units were retained for Germany. Production figures were: 2000, 10 units; 2001, 2193 units; 2002, 1336 units; 2003, 742 units; 2004, 52 units. Fewer than 300 were imported to the UK. Many Mercedes enthusiasts consider the SLK32AMG to be the closest thing to a "hairy sportscar" Mercedes has produced in recent years (Mercedes Enthusiast Magazine, Issue 45, July 2005) and more enjoyable to drive than the more refined SLK55 AMG.
2004 - R171
Main article: Mercedes-Benz R171
The SLK was updated in 2004 with a new Formula One-inspired appearance and serious performance. For 2005 the new R171-platform SLK was again on Car and Driver's Ten Best list, and it also won the Canadian Car of the Year's Best New Convertible award. Highlighting its potential appeal to women, New Zealand's Lucire magazine announced it as its 'Car to Be Seen in' for 2005. The current SLK is also built in Bremen, Germany. Both cars have been claimed to be fun to drive with the SLK350 going from 0-60mph in a short 5.4 seconds. There are rumours that Mercedes-Benz is going to produce a SLK 63 AMG model with their new 6.2L naturally aspirated engine designed from scratch by AMG division.
Mercedes SLK 55 AMG (R171)Models of the new SLK include:
SLK 200 Kompressor - 1.8 L 120 kW (163 hp DIN) I4 supercharged engine, 0-100 km/h (62 mph) 7.9 seconds, top speed of 143 mph. (not available in Canada and the US)
SLK 280 - 3.0 L (2996 cc) 170 kW (231 hp DIN) double overhead cam V6 engine, 0-100 km/h (62 mph) 6.3 seconds, top speed 155 mph. (starting in 2006 model year)
SLK 350 - new 3.5 L (3498 cc) 200 kW (272 hp DIN) double overhead cam V6 engine, 0-100 km/h (62 mph) 5.4 seconds, top speed 155 mph (electronically limited).
SLK 55 AMG - 5.4 L (5439 cc) 265 kW (360 hp DIN) V8 engine, 0-100 km/h (62 mph) 4.4 seconds, top speed 155 mph (electronically limited). A tuned version of this was used as the Formula One safety car, replaced by CLK 63 AMG at the beginning of 2006 Season.
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