Click above for high-res gallery of the current Mercedes SLK

While Porsche reportedly mulls the idea of a four-cylinder Boxster and Audi offers a TDI version of its iconic TT, Mercedes-Benz is now reportedly preparing to offer a diesel engine in its next-generation SLK.

The unit in question will be the same 2.2-liter "BlueEfficiency" 4-cylinder twin-turbo diesel currently offered in the C250 sedan, where it returns a claimed 54.3 mpg while spewing out just 138g/km of carbon dioxide. Although to previous generations the idea of a diesel convertible remains an anathema, the advance of particulate filter and common rail injnection technologies now common among the most advanced diesel engines make them a viable, earth-friendly option for open-air motoring. Unfortunately, no mention was made whether or not the diesel SLK will be offered in the U.S., which is a tough question for all automakers to answer when it comes to diesels thanks to stricter diesel emissions standards in California and other states compared to the rest of the country.

[Source: Automotive News – subs. req'd]

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