For 2009, Mercedes-Benz's small retractable-hardtop roadster gains some styling changes inside and out, and the SLK350's V-6 engine gets a boost in power. The updated SLK-Class hits dealerships in the spring of 2008. Competitors include the BMW Z4 and Audi TT.
The biggest change in the appearance of the SLK-Class is its lower bumper, which now features a dramatic split in the middle that brings to mind the front wing of a Formula One racecar — just like the SLK's pronounced nose does. The lower rear bumper has been restyled, too, but it's not nearly as dramatic as the front one.
As with the exterior, the SLK-Class' two-seat cabin receives some minor updates. There's a new multifunction three-spoke steering wheel, and the car is available with an optional iPod connector that allows you to control your iPod with the car's audio system controls. A Harman Kardon audio system is also optional.
Under the Hood
The 3.0-liter V-6 in the base SLK300 makes 228 horsepower, while the 3.5-liter V-6 in the SLK350 now makes 300 hp thanks to revised internal components. That's 32 hp more than the V-6 made last year. The top-of-the-line SLK55 AMG features a 355-hp, 5.4-liter V-8.
The SLK300 is the only version of the roadster that's offered with a manual transmission — a six-speed gearbox. The other two variants of the car come with a seven-speed automatic, which is optional for the SLK300.
Antilock brakes, an electronic stability system and side-impact airbags are standard.