The term SLK-Class is a Mercedes marketing term referring to the vehicle in all its engine configurations across both design generations.
Competitors include the Audi TT, BMW Z4, Lexus SC, Porsche Boxster, and Porsche Cayman.
Main article: Mercedes-Benz R170
The R170-platform SLK 230 Kompressor was introduced in 1997 for model year 1998 to compete with the Porsche Boxster and BMW Z3. Setting it apart was its folding hardtop, though its additional weight compromised the performance of the 185hp 2.3L supercharged I4 engine and automatic transmission. The SLK was on Car and Driver's Ten Best list for 1997.
A 5-speed manual transmission was added for 1999 along with the 215hp 3.2L V6 and 6-speed manual transmission in the 2001 SLK 320.
An AMG model was added in 2001, with a 354hp (264kW) supercharged version of the 3.2L V6. This SLK 32 AMG was the best-performing R170 SLK, and was a direct rival of the BMW M Roadster and Porsche Boxster S. It was only offered with automatic transmission and was hand built.
Not all Mercedes SLKs were built in Bremen, Germany, the SLK 320 being built in South Africa and Mexico. The very first R170 Mercedes SLK was completed on January 29, 1997 and last on April 7, 2004.
Summary of all versions and engine specifications:
- SLK 200 Kompressor - 2.0L (1998cc) 163hp I4 supercharged engine, 0-60mph in 8.2 seconds, top speed of 223km/h (138mph). NB Not exported to North American markets.
- SLK 230 Kompressor - 2.3L (2295cc) 197hp I4 supercharged engine, 0-60mph in 6.9 seconds, top speed of 240km/h (148mph).
- SLK 320 - 3.2L (3199cc) 218hp V6 engine, 0-60mph in 6.5 seconds, top speed of 245km/h (152mph).
- SLK 32 AMG - 3.2L (3199cc) 354hp V6 engine, 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds. All engines were hand-built by AMG by an individual engineer. The engine came with an intercooled Lysholm-type "twin-screw" supercharger. Production commenced in August 2001 and ended in March 2004.