German car maker Mercedes Benz has updated its popular but again SLK hardtop convertible just in time for summer. The changes are subtle for the 2009 model, but they should prove popular among the car’s customer base. They include a new front air damn with a Formula One inspired divider, a higher mounted and large Mercedes Star in the front grill (so everyone will know you are driving a Mercedes), new side view mirrors, larger tailpips and new diffuser like ribs. The new convertible has made plenty of changes on the inside, as well. The steering was borrowed from the C-Class sedan and has a firmer, more sporty feel. Required steering angles have been reduced by an average of 22 per cent.
The 2009 SLK hardtop also has Mercedes ergonomic wheel less navigation system. The cabin has been overhauled with aluminum trim while some of the older silver controls have been scuttled.
The SLK convertible gained an impressive 32 horsepower and an additonal 7 lb per feet of torque due to an upgrade of the car’s 3.5 liter v-6. With the higher compression ration, enhanced piston positioning, new intake manifold, modified valve train and raised redline, the car has much more power for cruising through on pleasant summer Sundays. The new engine sliced 2/10s of a second from its zero to 60 time, down to an impressive 5.3 seconds. This isn’t Mercedes fastest engine by a long shot. The impressive AMG models are using a 6.2 liter v-8, but the two seater’s engine is plenty powerful for such a small car. The increased power doesn’t negatively impact fuel economy. In fact, the newer car has better gas mileage with improved power and performance. The SLK and the Triassoc G-wagen are the only Mercedes models that are still using the 5.4 liter v-8 even though the model name and number has changed, this upgrade doesn’t really change that much, but it does provide a welcome update for a car that was beginning to grow stale and tired. The SLK also boasts reduced emissions, although its base customer will likely not notice or care about that particular upgrade. This car is not aimed at the Prius crowd.
Europeans were given the option of a four cylinder for better gas mileage at the cost of speed, power and performance, but the United States model of the SLK will not have the option for a smaller engine, being forced to choose between the V-6 and V-8.
Other new options are the AIRSCARF neck heaters and seat heaters to keep you warm when cruising on cooler climates. A digital stereo package and leather seats round out the luxury package.
At almost $50,000 for the 2008 model, the Mercedes-Benz convertible is far from a cheap ride and while the car manufacturer has not released a price for the 2009 model that will be available in May, they have promised that the cost will remain competitive with both the older model and competing vehicles.