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Mercedes-Benz gave us the first roadster with a folding hard-top back in 1996 when they launched the first SLK. Having escaped our eyes before, we finally get a chance on the second-generation SLK before it bids its final goodbye.

26 Mar 2010

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I owned the first generation SLK back in the late 90s. I spent nearly every waking moment in motoring bliss when I first got it. I drove it literally everywhere. But my days of motoring nirvana came to a sudden and tragic halt when my beloved ‘Sunburst Yellow’ SLK plunged down a flight of stairs and cartwheeled to a fiery end. Ok…so I dramatized the latter a little. It was more an explosion of plastic shards and AA batteries (not to mention an earful from Mom) than a fiery end.

My asinine adolescent driving aside, the first SLK was quite innovative for its time. Cabriolets bearing the hardtop metal folding roof might be commonplace these days but back in 1996, Mercedes were the first to have a roadster with a folding hardtop in the SLK.

The advent of the folding hardtop gave owners a choice of maximum visibility in open-top roadster mode or the clean lines of a sleek coupe at the push of a button. This combined with the compact dimensions and effeminate styling made the SLK roadster an instant hit with the fairer sex. Out of the 500,000 sold since its launch in 1996, a whopping 62 per cent of its owners were female.

Having seen the sales figures themselves, Mercedes-Benz understandably were eager to extend the popularity to their male clientele as well. So with the second-generation SLK, they made a greater effort to achieve a gender neutral styling that would appeal to both sexes.


A quote from the SLK’s brochure goes…”First impressions count, and are furthermore seldom reconsidered. One glance is all it takes for the brain to make a split-second, instinctive decision”.

However, I disagree.

I believe it takes more than a glance to fully appreciate the emotion that the designer has infused into the SLK’s lines. The design blends strong masculine lines of a coupe with the soft elegant curves of an old roadster that is befitting of a modern day Mercedes roadster.
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Car Information

This model is no longer being sold by local distributors


: -

Engine Type


4-cylinder in-line Supercharged

Engine Cap





137kW (184 bhp) / 5500 rpm



240 Nm / 5000 rpm



5-speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)



Top Speed



Fuel consumption


12.1 km/L

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mercedes benz slk  roadster  slk class  sportscar  slr