Vijay Pattni14 January 2011

New Mercedes SLK revealed

New baby Benz gets pumped-up looks and ability to change the colour of your sky…

New Mercedes SLK

This is the new Mercedes-Benz SLK, and as you can quite clearly see, it has a new face.

This is the third generation of the baby Benz since the salon-favourite debuted in 1996. The face apes the new CLS revealed last year, giving it an injection of warmed bovine to separate it from its limp original. Merc reckons the new headlamps are reminiscent of the 190 SL from the 50s. They are not.

See more pics of the new Merc SLK

Merc is also making a big song and dance - a world premiere, no less - of its Magic Sky Control. An optional panoramic roof in the SLK lets you change the colour of the glass from light to dark at the touch of a button, and this we think is rather cool.

The new SLK will be launched in 200, 250 and 350 variants; the 200 and 250 models are equipped with a 1.8-litre four-pot petrol producing 184bhp and 204bhp. The 200 does the 0-62mph dash in seven seconds, the 250 shaving four tenths off that time, while returning 45.5mpg on the combined cycle.

The SLK 350 gets a 3.5-litre V6 petrol, producing a meaty 306bhp - same as the BMW Z4 35i - and hits 62mph from rest in 5.6 seconds, topping out at 155mph.

The standard cars get steel suspension, while you can option a sports setup with harder springs and dampers, or the Dynamic Handling pack, which features automatic, continually adjustable damping. It basically responds to different road conditions and adjusts accordingly, like a discerning German schoolmistress.

The DH pack also includes torque vectoring brakes, which in critical conditions, says Merc, "produce a defined rotational movement of the vehicle about the vertical axis in fractions of seconds through selective brake actuation at the rear wheel on the inside of the bend". So essentially, it's more stable when cornering. Although, the best translation below gets an award (of no value, and consisting largely of a ‘well done').

It launches in the UK in June this year, with prices announced closer to the date. Would it tempt you over a Z4?

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