New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

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Merc SLK adds turbodiesel option

2011-01-13 08:06

SLS INSPIRED: The headlights may be CLS, but that nose is pure junior SLS. Mercedes-Benz’s third-generation SLK – the company’s new hardtop Z4 killer...

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Mercedes-Benz
Model SLK
Engine 1.8l turbo, 2.1l turbodiesel, 3.5l V6, 5.5l V8
Power 135-, 150-, 225-, 310kW
Transmission Six-speed manual, seven-speed auto
Mercedes-Benz has unveiled images and details of its third-generation SLK that's for public debut at the company’s 125th birthday celebration during the last week of January, 2011.

The new SLK stays true to its folding aluminium hardtop heritage, refusing to directly counter its fabric roof rivals from Audi and Porsche by going soft around the top.


Riding on a new rear-wheel drive platform the design aesthetic is less aggressive and has a softer, more sophisticated, look.

The new car’s grille and lower insert LEDs strongly cue AMG’s SLS design, whilst air-intake ducts just behind the front axle and a pronounced bonnet centre crease confirm the new SLK’s junior SLS status. Around the rear the current C-Class tail lights are easily recognisable.

New SLK also features an optional fixed glass panel as part of its retractable aluminium hardtop, for those who need some ambient light, even if it is of the diffused variety on a cloudy day.

The redesigned cabin environment also draws design inspiration from the current SLS AMG, featuring contemporary Mercedes-Benz switchgear with retro-themed ventilation ducts and instrumentation.

A new three-spoke steering wheel takes pride of place and a high level of digital convergence is promised for the third-generation car. The media images feature Google’s search homepage on display via a screen in the fascia, indicating probable internet connectivity on the go for the new SLK.


Mechanically five engines have been confirmed for the new SLK, and there are some surprises amongst the options on offer.

The entry-level SLK will be powered by Mercedes-Benz’s well known 1.8-litre turbo, producing 135kW in SLK200 trim and 150kW with the SLK250 badge on the back.

Moving up the SLK engine range into the V-configuration engines sees forced-induction replaced by natural aspiration. The SLK350 drives a seven-speed automatic transmission with 225kW courtesy of Mercedes-Benz’s new direct-injection 3.5-litre V6 engine. AMG's venerable SLK55 nameplate will not get the company’s new bi-turbo engine, instead it will rely on an updated version of the classic 5.5-litre V8, good for 310kW.

The fifth engine confirmed for the new SLK is a twin-turbo 2.1-litre diesel. Although the exact nomenclature for this first SLK diesel is yet to be ratified, its 2.1-litre engine will be good for 150kW.

NOT A SOFTY ANY LONGER: Tauter springs, adaptive dampers and even sophisticated torque-vectoring all form part of the new SLK’s suite of performance-orientated dynamic upgrades...

Mercedes-Benz is determined to establish the dynamic credentials of the third incarnation of its SLK.

Whereas previous SLKs were perceived as being dynamically less engaging than their rivals from Munich or Zuffenhausen, the latest car has been designed to redress this perception.

Although ride comfort and refinement is always a given with drop-top (or folding roof, to be exact) Mercedes-Benz products, the new SLK has a dynamic edge engineered into it.

To this end standard steel suspension bits can be upgraded with more rebound-resistant springs and dampers for greater agility and crisper turn-in responses. Exchanging the series production coils for shorter travel springs are not where the SLK's dynamic sharpening ends though...

For drivers seeking the ultimate in drop-top performance motoring there’s the SLK’s dynamic handling package. On offer are continuously adjustable dampers (ensuring a neutral posture with minimal bodyroll), speed sensitive steering and torque vectoring brakes, featuring ABS intervention on the inside rear wheel when cornering at high dynamic loads, thereby tightening the car’s line and allowing SLK drivers to hit the apex perfectly time and time again.

The new SLK should become available in South Africa during the second half of 2011.

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