Vijay Pattni18 August 2011

Mercedes announces first-ever SLK diesel

New soft-top gets 204bhp four-pot oil burner to make history. But is it good history?

Mercedes SLK 250 CDI

Apocalypse. You might believe it translates as hellfire and damnation bubbling up from the earth's core, a simultaneous explosion of volcanoes, earthquakes, disease and intense war; a world where Peter Andre has a number one hit record.

You'd be wrong. It is actually the end of the world as we know it; a disclosure of something previously hidden from mankind. And this SLK could be that apocalypse. It is the first ever diesel SLK, and it has some pretty big numbers to shout about.

See pics of the Mercedes SLK 250 CDI

First up, it gets Mercedes' 2.1-litre confusingly-titled ‘250 CDI' four-pot diesel engine, producing a healthy 204bhp. That's on par with BMW's confusingly-titled Z4 sDrive23i 2.5-litre petrol sixer. But where the BMW can only manage 184lb ft of torque, the mighty-Merc churns out a frankly incredible 368lb ft. Fans of mathematics will recognise that's twice as many torques as the Z4.

It sprints from 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds with a standard 7G-TRONIC auto ‘box, covers 50mph to 75mph (80 to 120 km/h) in 4.3 seconds and tops out at 151mph. To give perspective, the 23i Z4 with an automatic gearbox does the 0-62mph sprint in 7.3 seconds, and while that drops to 6.6s with a manual shift, the Merc will get a six-speed manual in the second quarter of 2012.

You might be frothing into your keyboard shouting 'what about the Audi TT TDI?'. Well, friends, in coupe form that car produces 170bhp, 258lb ft and hits 62mph in 7.5 seconds (7.7 for the roadster). In the game of Internet Top Trumps, that loses to the Mercedes.

Top Gear drives the new Mercedes SLK

Mercedes claims 57mpg for the diesel SLK and 128g/km of CO2, along with the possibility "to drive from the North Sea to a beach on the Mediterranean non-stop", which is some distance indeed. Everything else - chassis, options, colours etc - are as before, and German prices start at £36,500, with UK prices to be confirmed shortly.

Would you buy a diesel SLK or could no amount of superior stats tempt you into the black stuff?

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