SPY - 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Klasse

The 3rd generation of the SLK-Klasse will be premiered towards the end of this year. Till then, engineers continue to put the open-top model at various tests.

The latest spy photos were captured on a German autobahn by a driver, who was passing by a running SLK prototype. As time passes, it gets obvious that the exterior design of the mini-SL will be clearly inspired from the styling cues of the SLS AMG. The front end will lose with SLR McLaren-esque F1 nose and go instead for a largely-dimensioned one-slat radiator grille, for ensuring improved cooling and engine performance and also for giving the roadster a meaner look. As expected, the headlights will be styled basically following the new design language, thus meaning clean, smooth and elegant surfaces. LED technology is a must these days, and the new SLK will make plenty use of them. The back end of the new Mercedes-Benz model will display a sporty and angrier stance than at the current model;the tail lights will have a hint of those from the C-Klasse limousine, whereas the bumper and the exhausts pipes will be similar to those of the new models from Stuttgart.

The SLK-Klasse will retain its tinned top, which obviously is a hallmark of the car. Mercedes-Benz could come up with new, clever solutions for the hardtop, such as a panorama roof and a more practical solution for folding it in the boot, which could also save some luggage space when the top is down.

The interior will be mostly borrowed from the new Gullwing;only certain details will make the two Benzes different, such as the new multifunctional steering wheel, which will be spread across the range after the new CLS is officially introduced into series production, or the rearrangement of certain buttons and controls. Quality will be the key term inside the term:upscale materials, such as premium leather upholstery in attractive colour combos, polished metals or pure essence wood for trimming the dashboard.

There's still a great deal of uncertainty considering the engine lineup for the new SLK. What's for sure is that the new open-top model will make use of the new MoVe range of powerplants, including direct injection and turbo-charged V6 and V8 units. It is unknown at this moment whether Mercedes-Benz will offer or not a diesel engine for the SLK;the AMG version will be powered by a detuned 5.4 liters V8 twin-turbo motor, whose output could go well over 450 BHP. The official title of the super SLK remains unclear. Will it still be SLK 55 AMG or will it be changed to SLK 63 AMG?

Source of the photos >> AutoJunk.NL

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