• Feb 3, 2011
2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK – Click above for high-res image gallery

We were in Suttgart, Germany, this past weekend as Mercedes-Benz took the wraps of its all-new 2012 SLK Roadster. While completely redesigned, there's no mistaking the two-seater for anything but a Mercedes-Benz – and that's exactly what the designers had in mind, says the automaker. Gone is the SLR McLaren-inspired front hood, replaced with an aluminum unit capped by a more traditional upright radiator grille. Reappearing after an absence are the side grilles on the front quarter panels, reminiscent of those on the Benz roadsters in the 1950s (and SLS AMG, more recently). Slightly longer and wider than its predecessor, it's an attractive package. Plus, it cheats the wind with a slippery drag coefficient of just 0.30 (the outgoing model had a 0.32 Cd).

The big news on the hard-paneled automatic drop-top ("Vario-roof") is the innovative and uber-cool "Magic Sky Control" center panel. Unlike opaque solid steel roofs or heavily tinted glass panels (both are offered on the new SLK), the German engineers have come up with a optional trick glass panel utilizing LCD-type technology that goes from mostly clear when voltage is applied, to mostly opaque when it loses its charge. (Getting technical, it drops measured sun "intensity" from about 1050 watts with an open sky to just 200 watts when closed in "clear" mode. Switch it to "opaque" mode, and the intensity drops to about 45 watts.) While it cuts UV, infrared and visible light significantly, the panel never goes completely opaque. The roof transition takes only a few seconds (it is quicker from dark to light), initiated by a quick tap of an overhead switch.

Initially, the sole engine choice for our shores will be a direct-injected 3.5-liter V6 (SLK350) rated at 302 horsepower. Later, a turbocharged and direct-injected 1.8-liter four-cylinder will debut (SLK250), making 201 horsepower. We'll likely have to wait a bit longer for the SLK55 AMG, but it promises to be an enthusiast's delight. We'll get a closer look at the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK next month at the Geneva Motor Show.


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Photos copyright ©2011 Michael Harley / AOL


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 33 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ummm...I must've missed the memo about the Tire Wet shortage. Those tires are looking mighty ashy, especially for a classy shindig like that!
      • 3 Years Ago
      my eyes my eyes aahhh!! Wow that thing is ugly.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Gorgeous.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm a Mercedes fan. I drive an old C36 AMG. 1) the SLS grill shouldn't be put on every Mercedes product. 2) Am I the only one who thinks that the star on the grill should be hollow and not solid? I hate that.
        • 3 Years Ago
        The star is only solid when the car has Distronic (adaptive cruise control), since the radar unit goes behind it (it's a plastic lens). Otherwise the grille gets the traditional outlined chrome star.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The white sport looks very tasty.

      Should have used that as the article pic AB!
      • 3 Years Ago
      That's actually not a bad looking car. Most Mercs looked dated. The back of the top and rear end need redo, but it's a better looking SLK than the ones from the previous 5 years.
      me
      • 3 Years Ago
      .....Oh, I forgot to mention the wheels - It looks their engineers cant sense what should go on a sedan and what should go on a sports car. Did they get those from Oldsmobile?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Disappointed they're including the SLS grille again. It looks completely out of place on most of Mercedes' designs, and it looks like a complete afterthought on this one.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The SLK has never looked so classy against its M-B bretheren. But what is Mercedes thinking with those atrocious rearview mirror/turn signal designs? They look awful.
      • 3 Years Ago
      With the awkward shape of the front end and headlights, and the weird shape of the taillights, I was about to call this a chinese knockoff. What terrible styling.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I would take the BMW Z4 any time instead of this. The recent MBs, except may be for the CLS, are somewhat a disappointment for me.
      • 3 Years Ago
      i think it looks amazing, both interior and exterior!
      i don't get why people are okay with copying the sls' interior, but not exterior
      i especially love the exterior design, it just looks fine
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