In 1997, Mercedes-Benz released the SLK, a very compact two-seater convertible. The 1989 release of the Eunos Roadster (MX-5) in Japan kicked off a two-seater convertible craze, eventually leading to the creation of a similar model by Mercedes-Benz.
The SLK's chassis is based on the C Class premium saloon platform, with a shortened whellbase. A modern-style body roughly 2 sizes smaller than the normal SL is matched to this chassis. The exterior's key feature is its folding metal roof. Known as a Vario roof, it can easily be opened and shut from the driver's seat wit the push of a button. With the roof closed, the SLK is as airtight as a coupe. This innovative feature would later be implemented by various other companies in their new convertible models.
The SLK comes equipped with a supercharged 2.3L inline-4 engine. Its maximum power output is 193 BHP @ 5300 rpm with a maximum torque of 28.6 kgfm @ 2500 rpm. Its gearbox is a five-speed automatic transmission.
In 2000, minor changes were implemented, introducing a larger SLK320 with a 3.2L SOHC V6. This engine had a maximum output of 215 BHP @ 5700 rpm and a maximum torque of 31.6 kgfm @ 3000 rpm. At this time, the SLK230 also recieved some minor improvements, raising its maximum power out put to 194 BHP.
Its driving performance gives off a hint of a lightweight sports car, but the experience is a relaxed one, suited more for cruising on the highway. It is the perfect car for experiencing the joys and elegance of a convertible. A new model was released in 2004, moving the SLK into its second generation.

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