The 2009 SLK Mercedes-Benz models will make their U.S. showroom debut in April 2008.

2009 SLK Mercedes-BenzMBUSA Press Release/Montvale, NJ: The latest generation of the SLK blazes a trail of new sporty highlights, and bestows yet greater appeal on this two-seater sports car with its trendsetting vario-roof, that transforms it from roadster to weatherproof coupe in a matter of seconds.

The designers have honed the looks of the two-seater for added sportiness. Especially eye-catching is the restyled front bumper, featuring modified segmentation of the air intakes and a more pronounced V-shape, while the area around the Mercedes star is further emphasized. The designers have also redesigned the vehicle's rear section, with the diffuser-look styling giving the roadster an even more powerful appearance from behind.

Many of the interior's details have also been revised, and the interior has been refined as a whole by meticulous material selection. Particular care was taken to optimize the interior to make it that much more driver-focused. The focal point in this respect is formed by a new three-spoke sports steering wheel with multifunction controls, as well as a new instrument cluster with redesigned bezels.

For the first time, Mercedes-Benz is equipping the SLK with the new NTG 2.5 generation of audio and telematics components. This boasts improved user friendliness together with even more convenient functions. All audio systems come complete with built-in hands-free capability with Bluetooth technology.  Also available is a new optional media interface in the glove compartment, which enables mobile audio devices such as the iPod to be fully integrated into the audio system and operated from its control panel.

The switch to the new telematics generation now sees Mercedes-Benz offering the optimized LINGUATRONIC voice control system, renowned for its outstanding operation, as an option in the SLK-Class for the first time.
Customers who wish to enjoy the ultimate acoustic experience, whether driving with the vario-roof up or down, can opt for the harman/kardon® Logic7® sound system. Here, the passenger compartment is filled by a rich surround sound, delivering crystal-clear listening pleasure of unprecedented quality for a roadster.

High-Revving Sports Engine: Added Power And Considerably Better Fuel Economy

Making a mighty contribution to the sporty billing of the 2008 generation of the SLK are reengineered engines which stand out by virtue of their lower fuel consumption and reduced CO2 emissions. Most notably, the six-cylinder engine in the SLK 350 benefits from a substantial increase in output and torque.  Only the SLK 55 AMG retains its familiar engine – an eight-cylinder unit that has lost none of its mesmerizing performance capability and remains a unique selling point in the SLK segment.

The Mercedes-Benz engineers devoted particular attention to the high-revving V6 sports engine, making its debut in the new-generation SLK. By performing a major overhaul of the engine's mechanics, the engineers succeeded in giving the V6 unit a sporty new character. From an unaltered displacement of 3498 cubic centimeters it now musters 300 hp at 6,500 rpm, a whole 32 hp more than in the engine it replaces. Torque has also been increased (+ 7 lb-ft) and now peaks at 265 lb-ft at 4,900 rpm.

This has been achieved by raising the rev limit to 7,200 rpm, increasing the compression ratio, fitting a new intake manifold and making extensive modifications to the valvetrain.

The new engine also strikes a far more emotive-sounding note after being deliberately tuned to deliver resonant sports engine acoustics.  When partnered by the 7G‑TRONIC automatic transmission, the engine management furthermore blips the throttle automatically during downshifts – not only does this create a very sporty soundtrack, it helps to limit load-alteration effects too.

Other Engines To Choose From

The engine line-up for the second generation of the successful SLK-Class is being enhanced for the face lift:

  • The SLK 300 has been optimized for lower fuel consumption, and therefore CO2 emissions.  Its 3.0 liter V-6 produces 228 hp.
  • At work under the hood of the SLK 55 AMG is the familiar 5.5-liter V8 powerplant delivering 355 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque.

Standard equipment for the SLK 300 includes a six-speed manual transmission, which provides fast, sporty gear changes coupled with supreme ease of shifting. The 7G‑TRONIC automatic transmission with seven speeds is optional on the SLK 300 and standard equipment on the SLK 350.  The optional 7G‑TRONIC Sport automatic transmission, with shift paddles on the steering wheel and shorter shift times, delivers even more performance in these two models.  The AMG Speedshift 7G-TRONIC, which has been specifically tuned by AMG, comes with aluminum shift paddles on the steering wheel in the SLK 55 AMG.

New Direct-Steer System For Immense Agility And Tangible Fun At The Wheel

A new direct-steer system with variable power assistance elicits the very best from the suspension's sporty capabilities. The system provides agility and maneuverability when driving on twisting rural roads, steering comfort when parking and assured steering characteristics when traveling at high speed.

The direct-steer system is derived from the previous speed-sensitive power steering and operates purely mechanically. This dispenses with the need for sophisticated actuator units and complex sensors, which interfere with the direct flow of power between wheel and hand and therefore have a detrimental effect on steering precision. At the heart of the system is a new rack with ingeniously devised gearing that is designed to alter the steering gear ratio as the steering angle changes. Around the central position, the steering has an indirect ratio for good straight-line stability, resulting in excellent safety at high speeds. As soon as the steering wheel is turned past an angle of 5 degrees, the ratio increases rapidly and the steering feels far more direct. In this way, the number of steering wheel turns from lock to lock is reduced by around 25 percent with the new direct-steer system. Consequently, relatively small turns of the steering wheel are sufficient for changing course when driving in city traffic. Meanwhile, high-speed twisty sections of country roads can be negotiated safely, precisely and with enormous pleasure using relatively small steering movements.