The R171 features a number of revisions compared to its predecessor, the R170: a 30mm longer wheelbase, increased length (72mm) and width (65mm),40% increased use of high strength steel, seven-speed automatic transmission, adaptive two-stage airbags, head/thorax sidebags and a revised roof mechanism (marketed as the Vario roof) deployable in 22 seconds (previously 25 seconds) with a rotary-pivoting rear window enabling a more compact folded roof stack and trunk storage increased by 63 litres with the roof retracted.Optional features include remote operation of the retractable hardtop as well as a forced air, neck-level heating system integral to the headrests, marketed as Airscarf.
The fully galvanized bodywork, which features 19 percent improvement in static bending and 46 percent improvement in torsional strength with the roof down, also features a 3% improvement in aerodynamic efficiency, with a Cd value of 0.32.The design has been aerodynamically optimized to minimize interior draughts with the top retracted and includes a fabric windblocker which can be pulled up over the two roll-over bars. Mercedes marketed the R171’s tapering front end styling by designer Steve Mattin as “Formula One-inspired”.
Models of this SLK include:
- SLK 200 Kompressor – 1.8 L 120 kW (163 PS; 161 hp) I4 supercharged engine, 0–100 km/h (62 mph) 7.9 seconds, top speed of 143 mph. (not available in Canada and the United States)
- SLK 300 (known as SLK 280 in some markets) – 3.0 L (2996 cc) 170 kW (231 PS; 228 hp) double overhead cam V6 engine, 0–100 km/h (62 mph) 6.3 seconds, top speed 155 mph. (starting in 2006 model year)
- SLK 350 – new 3.5 L (3498 cc) 200 kW (272 PS; 268 hp) double overhead cam V6 engine, 0–100 km/h (62 mph) 5.4 seconds, top speed 155 mph ou 250 km/h(electronically limited).
- SLK 55 AMG – 5.4 L (5439 cc) 265 kW (360 PS; 355 hp) V8 engine, 0–100 km/h (62 mph) 4.9 seconds, top speed 155 mph (249 km/h). A modified version of this model was used in Formula One as its Safety Car during the 2004 and 2005 seasons.The SLK55 AMG was also the first Mercedes tuned by AMG’s Performance Studio to create the new “Black Series”.
R171 facelift (2008)
In January 2008 at the Detroit Motor Show, the SLK-Class facelift was launched, following pre-show announcements in December 2007 with the first American owner being James Glass of Johnson City TN.The R171 facelift included new engines, with a particular improvement to the SLK 200 and 350 with more power and better fuel efficiency. The exterior changes were subtle, with alterations limited to the front bumper design and new wing mirrors.