Mercedes announced the SLK back in 1996 and dropped it into showrooms in 1997. Since then, more than 600,000 units have been sold, but the roadster’s reign has come to an end – at least as the SLK anyway. Set to be launched in spring of 2016, the Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class replaces the SLK, but only in name and not in spirit – the SLC will continue the SLK’s reign, sharing at least some of the C-Class DNA.

As Daimler AG Board of Management member Ola Kallenius put it, “In 1996, Mercedes-Benz redefined the roadster with its innovative vario-roof, and combined open-air driving pleasure with uncompromised comfort in poor weather. The renamed compact roadster remains an ideal combination of passion and common sense, appealing to both the heart and the mind.”

What you’ll find as you browse the official pictures of the new SLC is that it carries a lot of the same design queues of the SLK it replaces. But, the SLC also has its own design characteristics, such as redesigned bumper covers and body trim, as well as new technology. On the U.S. market the SLC will debut in two trims, at least at first, with the SLC300 being the entry level model and the SLC43 being crowned as the high-performance variant. So, what will we see when the new SLC-Class hits showroom floors? Keep reading to find out.

Updated 12/16/2015: Mercedes dropped the official details on the new SLC-Class - aka the facelift version of the previous SLK.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class.

  • 2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC
  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    241 @ 5500
  • Torque @ RPM:
    273 @ 1300
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    5.7 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph
  • Price:
    45000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC High Resolution Exterior
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Up front, the new SLC has a freshly designed front end, with notable differences to the front splitter, bumper air vents, headlights, and grille design. The daytime running lights are of the LED kind and have been integrated into the headlight assemblies, giving the headlights an eyelid of sorts. In comparison to the outgoing SLK, the front fascia has a sportier design that gives the SLC an aggressive look, almost like it is snarling at you. On the base model, the front grille is finished in black with chrome trim and an iridium silver louver. When adding the “Sport” package, the diamond grille will be finished in chrome, as seen in the images. With the “Night” package, the center louver comes in high-gloss black. The hood itself is quite similar to the outgoing SLK, but the design of the front grille makes it look like the hood actually folds over the front of the car, like the hood and grille are one piece.

The hood itself is quite similar to the outgoing SLK, but the design of the front grille makes it look like the hood actually folds over the front of the car, like the hood and grille are one piece.

To the side, there are only subtle differences when you compare the SLC to the SLK. To the front, you’ll notice that the SLC doesn’t have that small body opening on the fascia, and fascia is smooth as opposed to having that wrap-around body line. Moving back, that fender vent appears unchanged, but you’ll notice that the center louver actually terminates inside the vent, giving it a much cleaner look. The small body line underneath the vent runs a little farther back on the door and still comes to a sharp point. The body line above the fender vent starts near the top of the wheel arch, but comes to a sharp point about half way across the door. On the SLK, this body line traveled all the way to the door handle.

Down below, the side skirts have been refined a bit. On the SLK, the side skirts protruded from the body at the front and rear wheel wells, but on the SLC, the side skirt gradually protrudes more as it moves toward the rear of the car. Behind the rear wheel well, the bumper is almost completely smooth except the wrap around, sunk in body line. The taillights retain the same shape but offer a different design that keeps the reverse lights to the rear, with only the reflectors and side markers wrapping around onto the corner panel.

The rear deck appears almost the same, but that arch that incorporates the LED high-mount brake light looks to be a little less pronounced. The LED bar, however, is a bit longer, with the points more rounded. As it was with the side, the taillights carry the same design as the SLK, but the reviews lights have been moved to the bottom of the taillight assemblies and look to be LED. Instead of having one large red section on the light, the SLC has two, slanted rectangles that will serve as tail and brake lights. It really is a much cleaner design.

The rear fascia brings a lot more style to the table on the SLC. There is an air vent sunk in at each corner, with a body line that wraps around the vents, giving a real 3D appearance. A reflector has been added above each exhaust pipe. Those exhaust pipes, by the way, are more slanted, a bit wider, and a little shorter than what we saw on the SLK. The rear diffuser is also of a simpler design, garnishing the lower side of the fascia and the inner sides of the exhaust pipes. The diffuser also has a chrome finish.

All of these differences make the SLC its own model, but are subtle enough to be reminiscent of the outgoing SLK.

Side-by-side comparison

2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC
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Interior

2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC High Resolution Interior
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2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC High Resolution Interior
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2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC High Resolution Interior
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The interior of the SLC is also refreshed in comparison to the SLK, but the differences here are subtle as well.

The interior of the SLC is also refreshed in comparison to the SLK, but the differences here are subtle as well. The same four-spoke vents are located on each side of the infotainment screen, and at the corners of the dash. The door trim panels, center console, and seats all carry a similar design, but are different in their own way, further distinguishing the SLC name. Even the instrument cluster has two primary gauges with a secondary gauge on the lower, right side of each main gauge. A small display screen sits between the two primary gauges.

New aluminum trim inserts garnish the interior and have a carbon fiber finish. On the instrument cluster, the gauge surrounds feature black dials, and the gauge needles are red. An analog clock in the center of the dash is available as an option, as it was on the outgoing SLK. On the SLC, the coloration has been changed to match the gauge pods of the instrument cluster. The infotainment screen, while in the same place, but is now measures seven inches as opposed to the 5.8-inch screen on the SLK. The steering wheel itself has been upgraded with perforation in the grip area, and on the SLC 43, a new wheel can be optioned, wrapped in Nappa leather and DINAMICA microfiber. The Nappa leather seats have also been upgraded, now featuring perforation at the shoulder areas and contrast stitching. Additional leather colors now include saddle brown and platinum white.

If opting for the ambient lighting package, the lighting has now been extended to the foot wells and is available in solar red, polar blue or polar white – the latter of which are new for the SLC. All of these updates to the cabin give the SLC a cleaner look on the inside. I always thought the SLK’s interior seemed a little cheap for a Merc, but from the looks of things, the SLC will prevail in that area.

The SLC will continue on with an electrohydraulic roof. On the SLC, however, the roof can continue functioning at speeds of up to 25 mph if the car must be moved once the opening or closing process has taken place. The trunk separator is now automatic, and will automatically move down when the roof is opened – if something is blocking the separator from moving, the roof will not open, and a message will display on the driver information center. Optional features include heated seats, and “AIRSCARF,” which is a neck-level heating system for both passengers. The rear, side windows can now be operated independently, even if the roof is open.

The COMAND infotainment system is on par with other infotainment systems in the SLC’s segment. Bluetooth connectivity, integrated apps, voice operated control, and interface for iPod and iPhone are all standard. There is also 2 USB ports and an SD card reader. Navigation data is stored on a hard drive as opposed to a DVD or SD card, meaning the system works much faster. Three years of navigation updates are also included with the purchase of the SLC.

Drivetrain

2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC High Resolution Drivetrain
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For 2017, the SLC300 will be powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine. It puts out 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. That power is sent to the rear wheels via a 9G-Trionic automatic transmission. Top speed on the SLC300 comes in at 130 mph, with it taking 5.7 seconds to hit 60 mph from a stop. For those looking for more power, moving up to the SLC43 get a 3.0-liter V-6 that pushes 362 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. The SLC43 hits 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds.

The SLC300 will be powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that puts out 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque.

Dynamic Select drive comes standard on the SLC300 and allows the driver to customize how the vehicle performs with the simple press of a button. There are five modes altogether: Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Eco, and Individual. The SLC300 can also be optioned with a dynamic handling package that includes adaptive damping and dynamic corner assist. When damping force is selected in Comfort, sport, or Sport+ mode, damping force at each wheel adjusts automatically depending on road conditions – providing an excellent right regardless of condition. Opting for the sport exhaust system gives the SLC300 and adjustable sound experience, allowing the drive to tune exhaust sound as he sees fit via an adjustable exhaust flap.

Number of cylinders/arrangement 4/in-line
Displacement (cc) 1991
Rated output 241 HP @ 5,500 RPM
Rated torque 273 LB-FT @ 1300-4000 RPM
Acceleration 0-60 (s) 5.7 seconds
Top speed 130 MPH

Safety

2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC High Resolution Exterior
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The SLC300 comes standard with what Mercedes is calling “Active Brake Assist.” On other models in Mercedes’ lineup, the package is called “Collision Prevention Assist Plus.” Essentially it is an active radar and brake system that automatically alerts the driver in the event that a frontal collision is imminent. If the driver doesn’t acknowledge the audible and visual warnings, the brakes will automatically apply to help prevent or, at least, lessen the extent of a collision. Optional packages also offer blind spot assist and lane keeping assist.

The SLC300 can also be equipped with dynamic LED headlights, which will automatically adjust to various lighting and driving conditions. The SLC comes standard with a rearview camera, and parking assist is also an option.

Prices

Mercedes has yet to release pricing for the upcoming SLC models, but the SLK250 was priced at $43,950 while the SLK55 AMG carried an invoice to the tune of $70,900. I suspect these prices will remain in the same area for the SLC300 and SLC43, respectively.

Competition

Audi TT Roadster

2016 Audi TT Roadster High Resolution Exterior
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The third-generation TT Roadster is finally making it to the U.S. mainland for the 2016 model year. It is powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that puts out 272 horsepower and 272 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission, and pushes the little roadster to 60 mph in just 6.2 seconds. Top speed is a bit higher than the SLC300, coming in at 155 mph. So in comparison, the TT Roadster will take the SLC300 at a distance, but in a race to 60 mph, the SLC300 will dominate the TT. Pricing for the TT starts out at $46,400, which may end up being a tad bit more than the SLC300 when it hits dealerships.

Read our full review of the 2016 Audi TT Roadster here.

BMW Z4

2014 BMW Z4 High Resolution Exterior
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The BMW Z4 in sDrive 18i, sDrive20i, and sDrive28i is a worthy competitor for the Mercedes. It is powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that puts out 245 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Top speed comes out at 155 mph, a bit higher that the SLC300. In the 62 mph sprint, the Z4 hits the benchmark in 5.7 seconds, just a bit faster than the SLC300. For those interested, the sDrive 35i and sDrive 35is is also a worthy competitor for the SLC43.

Read our full review of the 2014 BMW Z4 here.

Conclusion

2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC High Resolution Exterior
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Truth be told, I’m excited about the redesign to Mercedes’ roadster. The new aggressive look to the front end and the fresh interior make the SLC300 a lot more desirable than the outgoing SLK – at least in my opinion anyway. I doubt Mercedes will increase the price of the SLC300 or SLC43 in comparison to their SLK counterparts, but I couldn’t blame Merc if they through a few extra grand onto the price, given the updates. The funny thing is that the SLC hasn’t even hit dealerships, and I’m already wondering what the next generational change will bring to the table.

  • Leave it
    • * No more SLK

Updated History

Updated 11/30/2015: The upcoming Mercedes SLC - aka the facelifted SLK - was caught testing once again, this time on the public roads of Germany. Hit "play" to watch the car in action.

Updated 07/24/2015: Youtube user cvdzijden caught the upcoming SLC testing on the famous Nurburgring race track. Enjoy!

Updated 07/07/2015: The upcoming Mercedes SLC was caught testing on the road, so you can now both see and hear the replacement for the old SLK.

Spy Shots

April 9, 2015 - 2017 Mercedes SLC spied testing

2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC
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2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC
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2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC
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Press Release

Twenty years after defining a new segment, the new SLC will launch in the Spring of 2016. With significantly optimized technology and an enhanced look, the name change acknowledges the traditionally close relationship with the C-Class, from which much of the roadster’s technology is derived.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC High Resolution Exterior
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The new Mercedes-Benz SLC has an impressive heritage to live up to: its predecessor, the SLK, which was launched in 1996, achieved sales of around 670,000 units. Comprehensively refined and with a model line-up from the sporty SLC300 to the high-performance Mercedes-AMG SLC43, the new model has what it takes to build on that success. Both the SLC300 and SLC43 feature the sporty, yet comfort-oriented 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission as standard equipment.

Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz Cars Sales & Marketing: "In 1996 Mercedes-Benz redefined the roadster with its innovative vario-roof, and combined open-air driving pleasure with uncompromised comfort in poor weather. The renamed compact roadster remains an ideal combination of passion and common sense, appealing to both the heart and the mind."

As part of the facelift, the Mercedes-Benz designers have further honed the roadster’s sporty look. The new front section, where the steeply raked radiator grille elongates the appearance of the arrow-shaped hood, is particularly striking. All SLC models feature a diamond radiator grille as standard.

With DYNAMIC SELECT, the vehicle characteristics can be adjusted instantly at the touch of a button, as the system modifies the engine, transmission, steering and suspension at the driver’s behest.

The drive system: individual driving characteristics with DYNAMIC SELECT

Driving Performance is the AMG brand promise and the Mercedes-AMG SLC43 lives up to it in impressive style. The new model combines a 362 hp, 384 lb-ft,
3.0-liter V6 biturbo engine with a modified version of the AMG sport suspension familiar from the Mercedes-AMG SLK 55, and the combination is reflected in the sporty performance figures, with the SLC43 accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds.

With standard DYNAMIC SELECT the vehicle characteristics can be adjusted instantly at the touch of a button, as the system modifies the engine, transmission, steering and suspension at the driver’s behest. The five modes – "Comfort", "Sport", "Sport+", "Eco" and "Individual" are easy to select using the DYNAMIC SELECT button in the upper control panel on the dashboard console. The selected mode is shown on the color multifunction display and also appears as a pop-up message on the head unit display. The SLC43 features an AMG Sport exhaust system as standard and uses the two adjustable exhaust flaps to adapt the sound to the mode selected via DYNAMIC SELECT.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC High Resolution Exterior
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On the SLC300, drivers can choose the Dynamic Handling package, which features an adaptive damping system and ESP® Dynamic Cornering Assist, and can also use DYNAMIC SELECT to specify the damping force in Comfort, Sport and Sport+ mode. Here the damping force at each individual wheel is automatically and continuously adapted to the current driving conditions.

With the sport exhaust system on the SLC300, the sound experience can be intensified as the acoustics can be adjusted via an integral exhaust flap in conjunction with the DYNAMIC SELECT transmission modes.

Assistance and safety systems: a comprehensive range

A new feature for the SLC is the standard-fit Active Brake Assist, known in other models as COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS. In addition to radar-based proximity warning and braking assistance by Adaptive Brake Assist, this Active Brake Assist system carries out autonomous braking to reduce the danger of rear-end collisions. If the driver fails to act when a risk of a collision is detected, despite the warning lamp in the instrument cluster and the intermittent audible alert, the system will initiate automatic braking. This significantly reduces the vehicle speed. At low relative speeds, this intervention may be sufficient to prevent a rear-end collision with slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles. Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keeping Assist are also available as part of optional equipment packages.

For optimum visibility on country roads and highways, when cornering and on bends, the optional Dynamic LED Headlights automatically adapt to all light and driving conditions. The LED technology features low energy consumption, a long service life and a pleasant white light which approximates the daylight spectrum.

Reversing into a parking space and maneuvering can be made significantly safer and more straightforward with the standard rear view camera. It is automatically activated when reverse gear is engaged and uses the head unit display to show the driver the area behind the vehicle with dynamic guide lines. As an option, Parking Assist can make locating a parking space and parallel parking easier.

Comfort appointments: vario-roof now even easier to operate

The SLC’s vario-roof combines open-top driving pleasure with uncompromised comfort in poor weather. Operating the electrohydraulic roof is now even more straightforward. If when opening or closing the roof the vehicle has to move due to the traffic conditions, the process which was started when at a standstill can be continued up to a speed of approx. 25 mph. Another new feature is the standard automatic trunk separator. If the separator is in the upper position for increased trunk capacity, it automatically moves down when the roof is opened. If there is not enough space for this because the trunk is full of luggage, the roof does not open and the message "Close trunk separator" appears in the instrument cluster.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC High Resolution Exterior
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Even with the top down, optional features ensure that the SLC is able to offer the perfect on-board climate. These features include heated seats and AIRSCARF, the neck-level heating system for the driver and front passenger, ideally in combination with the standard draft-stop. The small side window behind the door can now also be closed separately when the top is down, reducing wind noise.

The standard panorama roof is optionally available with MAGIC SKY CONTROL. This feature continues to be unique to the SLC and allows the glass roof to be lightened or darkened at the touch of a button. This helps provide an open-air feeling at any time, but also gives welcome shade under a hot sun when required.

Infotainment: extended functions for COMAND

As a control and display system for navigation, phone, audio, video and internet, the COMAND infotainment system offers a range of new and extended features:

High-resolution, color media display (diagonal screen size of 7 inches)
Fast, dynamic hard disc navigation with realistic topographical map views
and three years of free navigation updates
Internet access when vehicle is stationary and unrestricted use of Mercedes‑Benz Apps when on the move too (in conjunction with an
appropriate mobile phone)
DVD player
Internet radio
Bluetooth® connectivity with hands-free function, read function for text messages and audio streaming for music
Voice-operated control system for audio, phone, navigation, music search and Mercedes-Benz Apps
2 USB ports in center armrest and one SD card slot in the COMAND head unit
Integral Media Interface connection for iPod® or iPhone®
Phone book import from mobile to head unit
Cover Art: album covers displayed in audio menu

Exterior design: diamond grille and LED Headlights

As part of the facelift, the Mercedes-Benz designers have further honed the roadster’s sporty look. The new front section, where the steeply raked radiator grille elongates the appearance of the arrow-shaped hood, is particularly striking. All SLC models feature a diamond radiator grille as standard. On the entry-level model it is finished in black with an iridium silver louver and chrome trim. A more individual look is available in conjunction with the Sport Package: here the diamond radiator grille is finished in chrome, and the color of the louver either remains iridium silver or high-gloss black (in conjunction with Night Package).

2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC High Resolution Exterior
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Further features of the sporty front section include a bumper which features striking air intakes, dynamically modelled contours, high-quality chrome trim at the lower edge, and distinctive headlamps. The LED daytime running lamps are integrated into the headlamp units. The lenses are made from clear polycarbonate and have a scratchproof coating. With the optional Dynamic LED Headlights, the edges and other parts of the headlamp housing are finished in black, conveying a high-level of perceived quality and an effective sense of depth.

The side view of the SLC reveals the typical features of a roadster with a long hood, a passenger compartment that is set back and a short rear. The silhouette is defined by the gently rising beltline and the sweeping curve of the roof, the powerfully moulded wheel arches, sporty 17” to 18” light-alloy wheels and the ventilation grilles in the front wing. The latter feature a high-sheen chrome fin which has echoes of the legendary Mercedes-Benz 300 SL.

Powerful proportions define the rear section with its muscular wings. The rear bumper with its black diffuser, chrome touches and integral tailpipe trim signal the dynamic potential of the SLC. The tail light units, which now have a narrower design, feature LED technology and are divided horizontally: the top and middle lights are the brake and tail light, and below them are the direction indicator and reversing light. The trunk lid has a pronounced arrow shape and the third brake light is positioned in the spoiler lip.

The interior: larger display and electroplated control elements

The interior of the post-facelift SLC has an even higher-quality look. Highlights include new aluminium trim parts with a carbon fiber finish. The instrument cluster has a new design too. The two tubular instrument surrounds now feature black dials. Red needles also add to the sporty, contemporary design.

A large, multifunction, color TFT display with a screen diagonal of 4.5 inches (11.4 cm) is incorporated between the two dials as standard. An analog dashtop clock with a black dial is available as an option. The display between the two ventilation outlets in the center console has been significantly increased in size: it now has a diagonal of 7 inches instead of 5.8 inches. The screen surround is finished in high-gloss black. Additional displays for vehicle parameters underline the sporty feel – as do the dials showing the engine data.

The electroplated control elements for the electrically adjustable seats and the electroplated steering wheel shift paddles (part of optional Sport Package – black shift paddles are standard equipment) demonstrate a keen attention to detail.

The new-generation sport steering wheel with perforation in the grip area, and the new DIRECT SELECT lever embossed with SLC, help create a sporty, refined feel. A new 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel in Nappa leather/DINAMICA microfiber is available as an option on the SLC43. The rim is flattened at the lower edge, the central grip area is trimmed with DINAMICA microfiber, and it features contrasting topstitching in red plus silver chrome trim and shift paddles.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC High Resolution Exterior
- image 659825

The leather appointments have also been revised. The leather upholstery (which offers sun-reflective technology) features a new perforated design on the shoulder area of the seats, while the Nappa leather seats now feature transverse fluting in the selected appointments color. The piping and topstitching are in a contrasting color. Two new colors have also been added – saddle brown (available as Nappa leather) and platinum white (available as Nappa leather and designo Nappa leather).

The ambient lighting (optional) has been extended to the footwell, creating a more generous sense of space. In addition to solar red there are now two additional colors available: polar blue and polar white.

Heritage: 20th anniversary of the original launch

The SLK’s debut appearance in 1996 caused a sensation. Not only was this a compact roadster from Mercedes-Benz, but it featured vibrant yellowstone launch paintwork and, instead of the traditional soft top, a tough vario-roof. The SLK marked the start of a new era for the traditional Mercedes-Benz brand and its roof design served as a model for many other open-top vehicles.

Beneath its outer shell, it used a lot of technology from the C-Class. That remains unchanged to this day. This is why, in the light of the company’s nomenclature changes, it was deemed fitting that the roadster should continue its successful career under the new name SLC.

The second generation of the SLK was launched in Spring 2004. A front section based on the nose cone of a Formula 1 car underlined its sporty nature, as did the new top-of-the-line model, the SLK 55 AMG.

The Geneva Motor Show in spring 2005 saw the unveiling of the prototype SLK 320 CDI, which featured a pioneering 286 hp triturbo diesel engine. This never saw series production, but the roadster/diesel combination was successfully achieved as part of the third generation, launched in March 2011, which brought with it the SLK 250 CDI (which never sold in the USA). Another new feature of the third SLK was the ingenious vario-roof with MAGIC SKY CONTROL, which allowed a glass panel in the roof to be switched from transparent to dark at the touch of a button.

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