OFFICIAL: Mercedes-Benz SLK Facelift Unveiled

2008 Mercedes-Benz SLK
2008 Mercedes-Benz SLK

Well it turns out that the Auto Express-sourced leaked photos of the new facelifted SLK were official after all, these new shots following only hours after the apparent infiltration come viral marketing exercise. Why then, with no embargo placed upon it, the magazine have decided to take the official photos down is beyond us. But regardless, feast your eyes on the second facelifted Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class - a vehicle now more powerful, more economical and more intense than its predecessor.

With the first R171 designated platform "F1 Nose" facelift occuring in 2004, the major overhall facelift which Mercedes calls a "next-generation"  is more powerful and more economical: The new SLK introduces two uprated versions of existing powerplants. The four-cylinder supercharged unit is boosted by 21 hp to 184 hp and increases torque from 240 to 250 Nm, fuel consumption being reduced to 36.7 mpg and CO2 emissions cut by 13% to 182g/km. The SLK 280 improves fuel economy to 30.4 mpg and CO2 to 220g/km.  Unfortunately, the high-performance SLK 55 AMG remains the same and does not get upgraded to the new 6.3-liter AMG engine although it receives a few exterior body enhancements.

More intense: Designed to catch the eye, the sporty two-seater gets even sportier through the modification of the front air dam and a more refined area around a more pronounced F1 nose and grille spine. At the rear, a new lower skirt and pipe design make for a more powerful rear view, aided by the darkened AMG-style rear lamps. In the new SLK's cabin, a more driver-oriented arrangement features, introducing a new multifunctional three-spoke sports steering wheel and a new instrument cluster.

For details including an optional new direct-steer system to improve agility and boost driving pleasure, standard and optional equipment as well as precise engine performance figures, read the press release attached below. The new-generation SLK will hit UK showrooms from April, with pricing to be announced early next year.

Source: Mercedes-Benz UK
Published Dec 21st, 2007 6:03am By Sam Stockley

More powerful, more economical, more intense

Stuttgart – The Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Roadsters have long captured the hearts of sports car enthusiasts. Incorporating around 650 newly developed parts, the SLK models of 2008 are even more dynamic and now offer an even more emotionally charged driving experience. Key visual enhancements include new-look front and rear sections as well as a meticulously modified interior with a new instrument cluster and three-spoke sports steering wheel. A fast-running V6 sports engine developing 224 kW/305 hp and an optionally available direct-steer system truly bring the bold, dynamic character of the two-seater SLK 350 to the fore. Furthermore, all of the engines in the line-up are now far more economical on fuel and, therefore, emit even less CO2, despite a substantial increase in output in many cases. The new-generation SLK models will be available from April 2008, pricing will be announced early in 2008.

Since their first appearance in 1997, the compact SLK Roadsters have come to symbolise Mercedes-Benz' dynamic brand image. Already a familiar sight on our roads, the second-generation two-seater is to be further enhanced with the implementation of a raft of measures in 2008, to further emphasise the car's sporty character and continue the SLK-Class success story by introducing new, dynamic, powerful elements. Sales of the SLK-Class Roadster are now approaching the half-million mark with over 495,000 sold, over 40,000 of which were sold in the UK.

The new-generation SLK displays new sporty highlights, further enhancing the appeal of the successful two-seater with the trendsetting vario-roof that transforms the car from a roadster into a weatherproof coupé in a matter of seconds.

Distinctive character: even more pronounced arrow shape at the front end and a diffuser-style rear end

The designers have given the already dynamic-looking two-seater cult model an even sportier appearance. Eye-catching features include the new-look front bumper with a modified air-dam arrangement and a more pronounced arrow shape. Plus the area around the Mercedes star has been restyled to render it even more succinct. In addition, the designers have modified the rear end by introducing a diffuser-style lower section that makes the Roadster appear more powerful when viewed from behind – an effect that is enhanced considerably by the trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes and the AMG-inspired darkened tail lights. The now larger exterior mirrors feature LED indicators with a pronounced arrow shape, while the range of light-alloy wheels is also almost entirely new.

High-quality cockpit and new three-spoke sports steering wheel

Many of the interior details have also been redesigned and upgraded following a careful process of material selection. Particular importance was attached to optimising the interior to make it even more driver-oriented. Centrepieces include a new three-spoke sports steering wheel with multifunction buttons and a new instrument cluster with captivating dial surrounds.

Enhanced audio and telematics systems

Mercedes-Benz is installing the new NTG 2.5 audio and telematics generation in the SLK for the first time. It is easier to operate and offers an even wider range of useful functions. Standard features integrated in every radio include a hands-free system with Bluetooth technology and a new media interface in the glove compartment, allowing the full integration of mobile audio devices such as an iPod, which can then be operated via the audio system's user interface.

Together with the new telematics generation, Mercedes-Benz is also offering the LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system as an optional extra in the SLK-Class for the first time.

Voluminous surround sound even when the roof is open

Passengers can enjoy a unique listening experience, regardless of whether the vario-roof is open or closed, thanks to the optionally available harman kardon® Logic7® sound system. Rich and voluminous surround sound makes for crystal-clear listening pleasure, the like of which has never before been associated with a roadster.

Fast-running sports engine: higher output and much lower fuel consumption

The sporty credentials of the 2008 SLK generation are further enhanced by three modified powerplants that consume less fuel and, therefore, emit less CO2. The four-cylinder powerplant in the SLK 200 Kompressor and the six-cylinder sports engine in the SLK 350 both offer substantially more power and torque. Only the SLK 55 AMG retains its familiar engine – an eight-cylinder unit that has lost none of its mesmerising performance capability and remains a unique selling point in the SLK segment.

The Mercedes-Benz engineers paid special attention to the fast-running V6 sports engine that makes its debut in the new-generation SLK, totally altering the six-cylinder unit's character by making sweeping changes to the mechanical setup. Although the displacement remains the same at 3498 cc, the engine now develops 224 kW/305 hp at 6500 rpm – some 24 kW (33 hp) more than its predecessor. The peak torque has also been boosted, by 10 Nm, and now stands at 360 Nm when the engine is running at 4900 rpm.

This result was achieved by raising the engine speed limit to 6800 rpm; it can even be increased to 7200 rpm for a brief period – oil temperature and other engine parameters permitting. Other changes introduced include a higher compression ratio, a new intake manifold and an extensively modified valve train.

Further aspects which add to the emotionally charged appeal of the new engine include deliberately powerful sports-engine acoustics with a strikingly emotive sound design when decelerating. In combination with the 7G?TRONIC automatic transmission, the engine management system also blips the throttle automatically during downshifts. As well as producing an extremely sporty sound, this throttle-blipping function reduces load alteration effects.

Despite the higher output and high-calibre performance, the SLK 350 consumes considerably less fuel. With the six-speed manual transmission on board, combined fuel consumption is just 29.7 mpg; if the 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission is fitted, the sports powerplant returns a combined fuel consumption of just 30.7 mpg. Lower fuel consumption means that CO2 emissions are also reduced – by 23 g/km to 219 g/km in the automatic version and by 28 g/km to 227 g/km in the manual version.

Three further engines to choose from

The engine line-up for the second generation of the successful SLK-Class is being augmented by three further variants:

  • The output of the four-cylinder supercharged engine has been boosted by 15 kW/21 hp (to 135 kW/184 hp), while its torque has been increased from 240 to 250 Nm. Combined fuel consumption has been reduced to 36.7 mpg whilst CO2 emissions have been reduced by 27 g/km to 182 g/km.
  • The SLK 280 has also been further improved with respect to fuel economy and, therefore, CO2 emissions. Fuel consumption has been cut to 30.4 mpg (if an automatic transmission is fitted, the figure is 31.0 mpg), while CO2 emissions have been reduced by 11 g to 220 g/km (if an automatic transmission is fitted, the figure is 6 g lower at 216 g/km).
  • The SLK 55 AMG is still equipped with the familiar 5.5-litre V8 powerplant developing 265 kW/360 hp and a peak torque of 510 Nm.

Standard equipment for the three new SLK models includes a precise six-speed manual gearshift, while the SLK 55 AMG still comes with the 7G?TRONIC Sport seven-speed automatic transmission fitted as standard. Optional extras available include a five-speed automatic transmission for the SLK 200 and the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission or, alternatively, the 7G-TRONIC Sport with shift paddles on the steering wheel for the six-cylinder SLK 280 and SLK 350 models.      
New direct-steer system for outstanding agility and tangible driving pleasure

A newly developed direct steering system with variable steering assistance, available as an optional extra (standard for the SLK 55 AMG), further highlights the qualities of the sporty chassis, combining agility and manoeuvrability when driving on twisting rural roads with steering comfort when parking and assured steering characteristics when travelling at high speed.

The direct-steer system is based on the previously installed speed-sensitive power steering system and operates by purely mechanical means, meaning that there is no need for elaborate actuators and complex sensors. At its heart is a new rack with slick gearing, which ensures that the steering gear ratio changes in tune with the steering angle. The ratio is indirect when the steering is in or around the central position so as to ensure excellent straight-line stability and, therefore, a high degree of assuredness when travelling at high speed. At a steering angle of just 5 degrees, the ratio starts to increase extremely rapidly and the steering feels much more direct. As a result, the number of steering wheel revolutions from lock to lock is reduced by around 25 percent if the new direct steering is fitted. This means that, even in city traffic, relatively little steering wheel movement is required to correct the car's path. Fast sequences of bends on rural roads can be negotiated almost intuitively with relatively small steering movements – with assurance, precision and a healthy dose of driving enjoyment.

Visually enhanced SLK 55 AMG

On a technical level, the SLK 55 AMG remains almost unchanged. The only differences are a few visual enhancements. The front end of the AMG model now features a new apron with a black-painted cross strut and side air outlets as well as darkened headlamps.

The trendsetting SLK

As trendsetters and technology leaders, the SLK-Class Roadsters have long enjoyed the image of a modern cult car. Even after the extensive modifications, the familiar outstanding qualities remain, for example, the vario-roof that transforms the roadster into a coupé in 22 seconds, not to mention the extensive standard-equipment package, including head/thorax sidebags, adaptive front airbags and two-stage belt-force limiters. Plus the roadster also comes with the option of the unique AIRSCARF neck-level heating system, which allows open-top driving pleasure all year round, even in winter.

UK pricing for the new-generation SLK will be confirmed early in 2008.

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Comments (21)

kenshiro kenshiro
cannot see much of the a difference in the face lift, but have been waiting long to buy the SLK 350. Like the fact that it has got more power and fuel efficient.
Jan 6th, 2008 1:14pm
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RCarvalho RCarvalho
Z4 rules the way out of them...
Dec 23rd, 2007 9:53pm
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RCarvalho RCarvalho
I mean, i like only the interior...
Dec 23rd, 2007 9:52pm
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RCarvalho RCarvalho
just like the interior!
Dec 23rd, 2007 9:52pm
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RCarvalho RCarvalho
it's absolutely the same car...where is the restyling? in the bumper?........
Dec 23rd, 2007 9:51pm
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it would only be proper and fitting to get this car back in shape with the aid of a sledgehammer.
Dec 23rd, 2007 4:42am
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2008 2008
what a beaute!! Mercedes always, as usual, forever smart, forever dynamic, forever beautiful!
Dec 22nd, 2007 6:21pm
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heinz heinz
they just gave it a pair of new bumpers and its more eco-friendly. thats not much. i expected moreof mercedes.
Dec 22nd, 2007 7:31am
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german-cars-lover german-cars-lover
In fact , We can't call this new generation because these are simple changes. Anyway, it's fantastic.
Dec 22nd, 2007 7:06am
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mbdesign mbdesign
really nice,good design volume and better proportion in front face,thanks mb
Dec 22nd, 2007 5:33am
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phobos phobos
305 HP, 33HP more little horses, that is great, more power and more fuel efficient, but why did they not cramp a 6.3 litres engine in that car? it will be fascinating,anyway i want to try those new 3.7 engine and the so - called direct steering system
Dec 21st, 2007 11:21pm
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atleast500hp atleast500hp
Exactly phobos! Having worked at Mercedes until recently I have driven every car with the AMG63 engine in it and I can not for the life of me understand why they won't put it in the SLK! Don't get me wrong the current SLK55 is great, but with the 63 engine, it would be better... a lot better!
Dec 22nd, 2007 5:31pm
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jsb jsb
I've always liked the looks of the SLK, and now even more so. However, the deal killer has been the price: at $44,675 MSRP, it quickly rises to $57,535 for some reasonable options. At either end, too much money for such a small and modest-performance car. If the MSRP were $35,000 and $40,000 with options, I would buy one.
Dec 21st, 2007 11:06pm
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xLumino xLumino
I never really liked the F1-styling, but the facelift give the car a better charactere and looks really nice. Now it looks more sportive and for a mercedes unique. I like it now
Dec 21st, 2007 10:53pm
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w00d00 w00d00
not bad but TT is nicer
Dec 21st, 2007 9:23pm
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benzboy benzboy
on what far off planet in a parralell universe, is the Audi TT better .The TT looks like a mishapen loaf of bread and in roadster form it looks like and ugly bathtub.with love at Christmas, but you better check the dosage on your meds, happy holiday!!!
Dec 22nd, 2007 7:47pm
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Roger Roger
This car looks the nuts. Love the F1 styling!
Dec 21st, 2007 8:45pm
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unknown unknown
wow not bad. looks like mb was trying to stay with the f1 look. i wonder what it would look like with the amg sports package. they should at least throw in some cdi engines too.
Dec 21st, 2007 7:35pm
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foose1397 foose1397
i wouldn't go as far to say next gen but this is a nice face lift...good job mb, i just wish the AMG (which will follow with an update) came with a manual trans on this roadster
Dec 21st, 2007 3:19pm
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persian187 persian187
"New Generation?" Thats it?
Dec 21st, 2007 12:59pm
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Pentium Pentium
the Front nose is cool but I still like the Rear more!
Dec 21st, 2007 11:27am
0 0