|Body and chassis|
|Class||Sports car (S) |
Compact grand tourer
|Body style||2-door roadster|
The Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class is a compact executive roadster, produced by Mercedes-Benz. It was released in 1996 and was built at the Mercedes plant in Bremen, Germany, until the end of production in 2020.
The former name "SLK" was derived from sportlich (sporty), leicht (lightweight), and kurz (short). With the release of the facelift R172 in 2016, the SLK-Class was renamed to SLC-Class in accordance with the revised nomenclature adopted by Mercedes. Under this scheme, roadsters use the base name "SL", followed by the model's placement in Mercedes-Benz hierarchy, the letter "C", being the roadster equivalent to the C-Class.
First generation (R170; 1996–2004)
The R170 Mercedes SLK was the first generation compact roadster produced by Mercedes-Benz, from 1996 to 2004. It was designed from late 1991 under Bruno Sacco, with a final design being completed in early 1993 and approved by the board, with a German design patent filed on September 30, 1993. The production SLK-Class was introduced at the Turin Motor Show on 22 April 1996, appearing as a modern incarnation of the 1950s Mercedes-Benz 190SL, by returning to four cylinders and with an identical 94-inch (2,400 mm) wheelbase. A facelift was introduced to all models in 2000, featuring an updated design and updated engines.
Second generation (R171; 2004–2010)
The R171 SLK was unveiled at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show. It features increased use of high-strength steel, and improvements to the car's torsional strength and aerodynamic efficiency. Models feature a more compact, revised roof mechanism that is operated in 22 seconds (previously 25 seconds), resulting in an increase in boot capacity by 63 liters (2.2 cu ft). The R171 also introduced the Airscarf system that integrates neck-level heating system into the headrests of the car. The front-end design of the car was inspired by the noses found in Formula One cars. It was facelifted in 2008 and featured new engines and minor exterior design changes.
Third generation (R172; 2011–2020)
The R172 SLK was released in 2011. It was available with a range of inline-four, V6, and V8, diesel and petrol engines, and introduced an electronically operated window tint shade for the sunroof, called Magic Sky Control. The facelift was released for vehicles produced from March 2016, to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the SLK-Class. The model range was also renamed to SLC-Class to conform to the new Mercedes nomenclature, and introduced new engines and a revised design. In 2020, Mercedes-Benz released a Final Edition to commemorate the end of the car's production run.
The following are the sales figures for the SLK-Class since 2001:
|Year||EU sales||US sales|
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- Alfieri, Bruno (1997). Mercedes-Benz SLK. New Great Car Series (in English, German, and Italian). Milan: Automobilia. ISBN 8879600559.
- Allner, Michael (2021). Mercedes-Benz SLK & SLC: alle Generationen, alle Baujahre [Mercedes-Benz SLK & SLC: All Generations, All Model Years] (in German). Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 9783613043671.
- Bass, Chris (2015). Mercedes-Benz SLK: R170 series 1996-2004. The Essential Buyer's Guide series. Dorchester, Dorset, UK: Veloce Publishing. ISBN 9781845848088.
- Bols, Udo (2007). Mercedes-Benz Personenwagen: Eine Chronik [Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars: A Chronicle] (in German). Brilon, Germany: Podszun Verlag. ISBN 9783861334125.
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- Engelen, Günter (2006). Faszination SLK: R 170 (in German and English). Königswinter, Germany: Heel Verlag. ISBN 9783898806848.
- Koehling, Bernd S. (2021). Mercedes-Benz: Everything you want to know about the SLK R170 - From the SLK 200 to the SLK 32 AMG and Tuners. Independently published. ISBN 979-8736788729.
- ———————— (2021). Mercedes-Benz: Everything you want to know about the SLK R171 - From the SLK 200 K to the SLK 55 AMG and Tuners. Independently published. ISBN 9798736812097.
- ———————— (2021). Mercedes-Benz: Everything you want to know about the SLK R172 - From the SLK200 to the SLK 55AMG and Tuners. Independently published. ISBN 9798736830558.
- Long, Brian (2014). Mercedes-Benz SLK: R170 Series, 1996-2004. Dorcester, Dorset, UK: Veloce Publishing. ISBN 9781845846510.
- ————— (2015). Mercedes-Benz SLK: R171 Series, 2004-2011. Dorcester, Dorset, UK: Veloce Publishing. ISBN 9781845846534.
- Vieweg, Christof (1996). Alles über den Mercedes-Benz SLK [Everything about the Mercedes-Benz SLK]. Technik transparent series (in German). Stuttgart: Mercedes-Benz AG. ISBN 3980445712.
- ——————— (2004). Die neue SLK-Klasse: Menschen, Modelle, Motoren: alles über den Mercedes-Sportwagen [The new SLK-Class: Men, Models, Motors: everything about the Mercedes sports car] (in German). Stuttgart: Hampp Verlag. ISBN 3930723093.
- Zoporowski, Tobias (2018). Mercedes-Benz SLK (R 170): Alle Modelle von 1996–2004 [Mercedes-Benz SLK (R 170): All Models from 1996–2004]. Praxisratgeber Klassikerkauf series (in German). Königswinter, Germany: Heel Verlag. ISBN 9783958436961.
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