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by Tim Beissmann

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz SLK has been unveiled with new engines and transmissions at the bottom end of the range.

The entry-level SLK200 trades its turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine for a larger 2.0-litre turbo. Its peak power output is unchanged at 135kW, though torque climbs 30Nm to 300Nm.

The same 2.0-litre engine slides under the bonnet of the new SLK300, which replaces the old SLK250. Here, power rises 30kW to 180kW and torque lifts a significant 60Nm to 370Nm in total.

Two new transmissions are available at the lower end of the range. A new six-speed manual is standard in the SLK200, offering “a high level of gearshift comfort and precise travel”, according to the German car maker.

Optional in the 2015 Mercedes-Benz SLK200 and standard in the SLK300 is a new nine-speed automatic transmission, replacing the old seven-speed auto. Benz claims the transmission “allows very fast gear changes, especially in manual mode” and “lower engine speeds”, and has a positive effect on efficiency, noise and comfort.

The ‘9G-Tronic’ transmission, as it is called, comes with a newly designed, sporty gearlever on the centre console, as well as steering wheel paddleshifters.

Start-stop is now also a feature of every variant in the SLK family, including the high-end SLK350 and SLK55 AMG performance models.

New rod-style LED daytime running lights freshen the front end, while a 4G-capable exterior on-board aerial also features, allowing for better-quality mobile reception and transmission, and faster internet access for models equipped with the Comand Online multimedia system.

The SLK’s advanced safety suite also expands and now includes Attention Assist, Distronic Plus with Collision Prevention Assist Plus, Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keeping Assist.

Two new paint finishes – Selenite Grey Metallic and Designo Cerussite Grey Magno – add new life to the roadster’s colour palette.

Mercedes-Benz Australia public relations manager Jerry Stamoulis told CarAdvice the 2015 SLK would reach local showrooms in September.

The updated range will retain the structure of the current one, comprising the SLK200, SLK300 (replacing SLK250), SLK350 and SLK55 AMG. The SLK250d diesel variant offered overseas won’t be sold locally.

Pricing and specification details will be announced closer to the SLK’s local launch.




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