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Mercedes-Benz updates SLK four-pot engines

Merc with a mouth: The folding hardtop roof is one of the SLKs biggest talking points, featuring a panoramic glass roof that can be lightened or darkened with the touch of a button.

Improved efficiency and performance due in Q3 for Mercedes' four-cylinder SLK range

9 Apr 2015

MERCEDES-BENZ has given its two entry-level SLK sportscar variants a slight bump in performance and an improvement to fuel efficiency, thanks to a new larger turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

Expected to arrive in Australia by September this year, the new 2.0-litre turbocharged unit replaces the old 1.8-litre engine and benefits from new-generation direct injection and multi-spark ignition, making it both more efficient and greener.

Power for the entry level SLK 200 remains the same, at 135kW, but torque has risen 30Nm to now peak at 300Nm, shaving 0.4 seconds from the zero to 100km/h dash, which now takes 6.9 seconds.

Despite the increased capacity and grunt, the new engine is greener, cutting fuel consumption from 6.9 litres per 100km to 5.7l/100km.

While the SLK 200 variant lives on, the existing 1.8-litre SLK 250 is replaced with a new SLK 300, which gets a more highly-strung version of the new 1991cc engine.

Power for the SLK 300 is a substantial 30kW more than the outgoing SLK 250 with 180kW and torque topping out at 370Nm – a 60Nm increase.

Zero to 100km in the SLK 300 takes 5.8 seconds, 0.8 seconds faster than the superseded SLK 250, while fuel economy is rated at 5.8l/100km compared with 7.0l/100km for the SLK 250.

Carbon dioxide emissions have also been reduced, dropping to 133 grams per km in the SLK 200 and 134g/km in the SLK 300, versus the old 161g/100km and 163g/100km respectively.

Additionally, a new nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission will replace the existing seven-speed 7G-Tronic self-shifter, which is offered standard on the SLK 300 and as an option on the SLK 200 in European markets.

These changes account for a slight increase in price in European markets, but the local launch of the updated SLK is still too far away to confirm pricing, according to Mercedes-Benz Australia senior manager of public relations, product and corporate communications David McCarthy.

“We haven't locked ours [pricing] in yet, but I wouldn't expect any substantial change,” he said.

“We are still currently looking at equipment levels and pricing, it's just a little bit early.”

Referring to the diesel-powered variant offered in western Europe markets only, Mr McCarthy said the numbers do not add up for Australia.

“There is probably a little bit of interest, but reality is it would be pretty hard to make a business case for it,” he said.

“SLK is a fairly low volume product, so bringing it here would just add some complexity and I'm not sure it would sell that many to be honest.”

Sales of the SLK have slowed in recent months, with Mercedes selling 38 vehicles in the first quarter this year, a significant 65.1 per cent drop over the same three month period last year, but as is typical with sportcars and coupe models, the update is expected to invigorate interest.

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