Frankfurt motor show 2011 - Mercedes SLK

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• SLK 250 CDI
• SLK 55 AMG
• On sale autumn 2011/spring 2012

Mercedes is presenting two new versions of its latest SLK at Frankfurt and they could hardly be further apart. On one stand there’s the first-ever diesel SLK, the frugal SLK 250 CDI. On the other is the most powerful AMG version yet, the SLK 55 AMG.

SLK 250 CDI
The SLK 250 CDI has the 2.1-litre, 201bhp four-cylinder diesel engine from the C- Class, E-Class and CLS models.

In the SLK, it averages 57.7mpg; that’s a 14.9mpg improvement over the next most efficient petrol SLK model, the 250 CGI.

The SLK 250 CDI emits 128g/km of CO2, a 30g/km improvement over the 250 CGI. Company car tax is 18% for the diesel version, whereas the petrol falls into the 20% bracket.

A seven-speed automatic gearbox and engine stop-start system come as standard. Mercedes claims that performance is equivalent to a petrol engine that's twice as big, thanks to 369lb/ft of torque. It quotes a 0-62mph time of 6.7 seconds; 0.1 seconds slower than the 250 CGI petrol. Top speed is 151mph.

Externally, the 250 CDI looks like any other SLK model. Mercedes hasn’t confirmed the on-sale date or prices, but we’d expect a starting price of around £37,000 when the SLK 250 CDI arrives in late autumn.

SLK 55 AMG
The new Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG is the range's most powerful variant ever.

It goes on sale in January and has a 5.5-litre V8 petrol engine that has 61bhp more than its predecessor, yet emits 30% less CO2.

The SLK 55 AMG is the flagship model for the recently launched SLK range. It gets a visual makeover that includes AMG bumpers and grille, dark headlamp lenses, a bootlid spoiler and bespoke alloys. Inside, there are upgraded materials and an AMG steering wheel.

The 5.5-litre engine is closely related to the turbocharged unit that's used in the E63 AMG, CLS63 AMG, S63 AMG and CL63 AMG. A seven-speed automatic gearbox comes as standard.

A stop-start function helps to make it as efficient as possible. There’s also a ‘cylinder management’ system that can shut down four of the cylinders to save fuel. The system operates from 800- to 3600rpm, if the driver has selected the ‘Controlled Efficiency’ transmission mode. In four-cylinder mode, 170lb ft of the total 398lb ft output is still available.

Upgraded suspension and steering systems give dynamics to match the performance. An optional AMG handling package includes stiffer suspension, rear differential lock and composite front brake discs.

The SLK 55 AMG goes on sale in January 2012. Mercedes hasn’t yet confirmed a price, but we’d expect it to be in the region of £55,000.

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