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Mercedes-Benz SLK

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Completing a hat-trick of global debuts for Mercedes is the third-generation SLK. It is based on a revised version of the current model's platform and chassis, but will offer a new version of its folding metal roof, up to 25% better fuel economy, a sportier drive, advances in safety and improved quality, Mercedes claims.

The new SLK continues the 'vario-roof' theme, but with an additional optional twist Magic Sky Control. This allows owners, at the touch of a button, to vary the amount of light coming in to help keep the cabin cool in high temperatures or make it brighter when the weather is dull.

The new SLKs styling pays homage to Mercedes' flagship sports car, the SLS, as well as the classic 190 SL from the 1950s. It is sleeker than the model it replaces, helping to save a bit of fuel at speed, while an aluminium bonnet and wings help to keep down weight.

There'll be a choice of three direct-injection petrol engines at launch, and a high-performance AMG addition will inevitably follow sooner rather than later.

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There are also strong rumours of an SLK diesel.
The launch engines 1.8s delivering 181bhp (SLK 200) and 201bhp (SLK 250) and a brand-new 302bhp 3.5-litre V6 for the SLK 350 all carry the Blue Efficiency suffix to denote that they are up to 25% more economical than their counterparts in the current model.

An engine stop-start system is fitted to every version and an efficient seven-speed automatic gearbox is standard with the 250.

There'll be three suspension set-ups Standard and Sports, plus a Dynamic handling package with continuously adjustable electronically controlled suspension.