Mercedes had never built a small, affordable sportscar prior to the 1996 SLK, but in creating the car, took on the likes of Porsche, BMW, Alfa and MG in what was fast becoming a very popular new market. The car therefore needed to be lightweight, handle well and offer a style-conscious appearance. Mercedes kept the car rigid, strong yet light by using magnesium and high-strength steel in the unitary construction. Suspension was multi-link rear and double-wishbone front, while the roof was an engineering masterpiece. In 25 seconds the handsome fixed top would turn into a complex folding arrangement that went into the trunk. With the roof down there was little wind buffeting due to excellent aerodynamics and a rear wind deflector. The 140ci (2.3-liter) four-cylinder engine received a supercharger which livened up the car, making the most of its superb chassis.
Mercedes Benz SLK Specifications
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