Mercedes-Benz SLK turns 20 this month

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The German automaker is ready to deliver into showrooms the new SLC – but its predecessor still gets the appropriate farewell as Mercedes has decided to celebrate the model’s 20th anniversary this month.

The SLK later this month will tell us he’s been around the market for a full two decades – as it was first showcased in front of the worldwide audience during the 1996 Turin Motor Show. Back then it was playing out the revival of the roadster segment – kickstarted back in 1989 by the Mazda MX-5 Miata – and the SLK was a wedge-shaped convertible which premiered an important aspect: an innovative and high-tech folding metal roof. With an attractive and dynamic design, the SLK was also rather affordable – making it an instant hit even among women. The latter appreciated well the improved safety and additional full-year usability that the pioneering Vario roof delivered. Mercedes itself recalls it fondly, calling it a model that provided “new standards in pioneering engineering and technology.”

Back then it had two engine options – a SLK 200 and the supercharged SLK 230 K – and the 2000 facelift brought the range-topping SLK 320 with 218 horsepower and six cylinders. Naturally the SLK AMG followed in the 32 AMG guise that packed 354 hp. The first generation was the biggest hit with consumers, with deliveries of 311,000 units and the second and third generation lifted the numbers to 670,000 SLKs.