Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG

One of the most exciting and successful sports cars is now ready for Round Two: Mercedes-Benz unveils its new SLK-Class.

The second generation of this two-seater again captivates the eye with its sophisticated design featuring details reminiscent of Formula motor racing. This quality enables the SLK to uphold its reputation as a trendsetter and a tech-nology leader among the sports cars in this class. A further development of its vario-roof transforms this roadster into a coupé in just 22 seconds. The range of standard equipment also includes head-thorax sidebags, adaptive front air-bags and two-stage belt force limiters. Mercedes engineers have added even more sports refinement to the suspension, steering and manual transmission.

As a global first, Mercedes-Benz is offering the AIRSCARF neck-level heating system. This delivers a flow of warm air from the headrests at the touch of a button, thereby enabling SLK occupants to keep the roof down even when there is a chill in the air. This extends the top-down driving season to the full calendar year. Automatic climate control, bi-xenon headlamps with cornering light, COMAND and the unique 7G-TRONIC 7-speed automatic transmission add to the technological innovations which can now be supplied as options to the SLK-Class for the first time.

The new Mercedes roadster is now taking the place of its predecessor, a car which has delighted more than 308,000 owners since it first appeared in the autumn of 1996. Worldwide, this model holds the number one position in this market segment and has already established itself as a symbol for the new, dynamic brand image of Mercedes-Benz.

The design and technology employed in this second generation of the SLK-Class place even greater emphasis on sports performance. With more powerful engines, redesigned suspension, direct steering feel and a responsive six-speed manual shift system, the new model offers an even more athletic driving experience than ever before. The body size has grown by 72 mm in length and 65 mm in width, affording driver and passenger more space and even higher standards of comfort than the previous model.

The new SLK 55 AMG now sets a new benchmark in terms of power (265 kW/355 hp), torque (510 newton metres) and acceleration (0-100 km/h: 4.9 seconds). The V8 power unit is twinned as standard with the recently developed 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission controlled by the driver using gearshift buttons on the steering wheel.

Longer and more often is the clear message from the new Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class to fans of top-down driving. AIRSCARF is a world first which allows drivers to lower the vario-roof even when there is a real chill in the air. Owners can now enjoy the true roadster experience more frequently than ever before. AIRSCARF is an innovative heating system located in the seat headrests: at the touch of a button, temperature-controlled air flows out of special vents in the headrests to keep the shoulders, neck and heads of SLK occupants warm on the road – acting just like an invisible scarf.

This new development is a unique option in the open-top car market. It operates in three stages and is equipped with an electronic control unit. It controls head-level heating to suit ambient conditions – depending on roadspeed and temperature - and adapts the fan speed continuously to ensure that the best possible distribution of hot air is delivered in any given situation.

The THERMATIC system represents a further innovation for perfect in-car climate control and is standard equipment on the SLK 350 and the SLK 55 AMG. For even more demanding car drivers, Mercedes-Benz has developed the THERMOTRONIC luxury climate control system, equipped with solar and pollutant sensors.

To keep SLK driver and passenger entertained and informed, optional equipment includes the Audio 20 CD stereo car radio, the Audio 50 APS with integrated color display and a navigation system or COMAND APS, which features a DVD/CD player, color display and separate DVD drive for the navigation system. Another option is the surround sound system with eleven speakers and a 380 Watt amplifier for that ultimate acoustic experience.

Source: Mercedes-Benz press

Gallery: Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG