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by Tim Beissmann

After countless leaks and sneak peaks, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLK has been officially revealed in a series of images.

Set to make its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show in March, Mercedes-Benz Australia’s David McCarthy today told CarAdvice the new SLK was expected to arrive in local showrooms at the end of the second quarter, most likely in June.

“There will definitely be at least one four-cylinder petrol and one six-cylinder petrol,” Mr McCarthy said

“We’re still considering a diesel, and at the moment we’re not sure about [a launch date for] the AMG, but there will definitely be one.”

In Europe, three models, all with different direct-injection engines, will be available from launch.

The entry-level SLK 200 gets a 135kW/270Nm 1.8-litre petrol engine and will be available with a six-speed manual transmission as well as a seven-speed automatic (up from the outgoing model’s five-speed auto).

The SLK 250 uses the same engine but puts out an additional 15kW of power and 40Nm of torque, for a 150kW/310Nm total. The SLK 250 accelerates from 0-100km/h in just 6.6 seconds (SLK 200 7.0secs) and has a top speed of 243km/h.

The most impressive numbers are the environmental stats. The SLK 200 uses just 6.1 litres/100km (SLK 250 6.2 litres/100km) on the European combined cycle and CO2 emissions average 142g/km (SLK 250 144g/km). The current 1.8-litre SLK 200 in Australia uses 8.0-8.2 litres/100km and emits 190-196g/km, which means the new model will be around 25 percent more efficient.

The savings across the range are due largely to standard direct-injection and auto start/stop engine technology.

The SLK 350 will sit at the top of the range. Powered by a 225kW/370Nm 3.5-litre V6, the SLK 350 launches from 0-100km/h in 5.6 seconds, burns fuel at a rate of 7.1 litres/100km (down from 9.3-9.6 litres/100km), and emits 167g/km CO2 (current model 221-229g/km).

The diesel variant is understood to be a 2.1-litre unit similar to that found in the C-Class and E-Class. It is expected to produce either 125kW/400Nm or 150kW/500Nm, but Mercedes is yet to officially reveal that vehicle’s specifications.

As revealed in earlier posts, the third-generation SLK will stick with the folding hardtop configuration, which will be available in three different constructions.

The base version is simply painted in body colour, while there is also the option of a panoramic vario roof with dark-tinted windows. The third option is the new Magic Sky Control, which switches the panoramic glass roof from transparent to heavily blue-tinted at the touch of a button.

With the top down, the new Airguide draught-stop system comes into play, which is simply a pivoting piece of transparent glass attached to the rollbars that tames turbulent airflow.

Three suspension versions will be available, with the highest-spec option including Direct-Steer and torque vectoring brakes.

Safety is also enhanced thanks to a stronger body structure with aluminium bonnet and wings, standard Attention Assist drowsiness detection system, as well as optional Pre-Safe autonomous braking system, Intelligent Light system and Speed Limit Assist.

The world will get its first look at the new 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLK at Geneva on March 3. Full Australian specification and pricing details will be revealed closer to the vehicle’s mid-year launch.




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