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.

Related Gallery2008 Detroit: 2009 Mercedes Benz SLK

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