Mercedes-Benz started receiving orders for the new SLK on Jan. 17, 2011. This latest SLK model isn’t just a version of the show car from 1994; its roots actually go farther to the 190 SL model from 55 years ago.
The history of the roadster began in February 1954 when five months of development led to the world premiere of the 190 SL in New York, alongside the legendary 300 SL "gullwing.”
It was in May 1955 that series production started. Production of the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL ended in 1963, with a total of 25,881 cars built during the production period.
In April 1994, roadster enthusiasts got their first look of how Mercedes-Benz imagines a compact roadster should appear with the SLK study introduced in Turin.
In September of the same year, a second study was presented at the Paris Motor Show. This featured a vario-roof and was in the form of a customized version. In 1996, the series production version of the new SLK, dubbed internally as the R 170, was launched at the Turin Motor Show. The entire roof used an intelligent electro-hydraulic system and it folded down into the boot in only 25 seconds.
In February 2000, the SLK went through a comprehensive facelift wherein the Electronic Stability Program (ESP), a six-speed manual transmission and SPEEDTRONIC were added in its standard equipment package.
The SLK also received a new bumper and side skirts, new taillights, stainless steel trim on the exhaust tailpipe and a painted radiator grille. In the spring of 2004, the company launched the second generation of the SLK (internal model series designation: R 171), along with the introduction of the AIRSCARF neck-level heating system.
The facelift for the second generation of the SLK was presented in 2008. This new SLK, which was presented in January 2011 and known internally as the R 172, will follow the same path, and will feature a new design, high levels of comfort and open-air driving pleasure.