Mercedes has issued official details of its new SLK to coincide with its launch at the Geneva motor show.

The two-seat roadster has a new rear-wheel drive platform, a diesel variant and what engineers claim is a more sporting chassis. It also looks less aggressive than the outgoing model.

See the official pics of the new Mercedes SLK - now updated with Geneva show pics

The new SLK continues to eschew a fabric roof for a reworked version of the old model’s folding hard-top. It now offers the choice of a standard aluminium, fixed-tint glass or electro-magnetic variable-tint glass panel.

Inside, there’s an angular new dashboard, modelled on that of the SLS, with distinctive vents, reworked instruments, more contemporary switchgear and a new range of trims.

Three petrol engines are confirmed for the launch. They include a pair of turbocharged 1.8-litre units, producing 184bhp in the SLK200 and 204bhp in the SLK250. The SLK200 gets a standard six-speed manual gearbox and has a claimed 0-62mph time of 7.0sec.

See the leaked pics of the Mercedes SLK

Topping the launch line-up will be the SLK350, which features Mercedes’ new V6. The 3.5-litre direct-injection engine kicks out the same 306bhp as the unit it replaces in the SLK line-up. But in combination with a standard seven-speed automatic and a number of fuel-saving features, including stop-start, it offers vastly improved performance and economy. The SLK350 has a claimed 0-62mph time of 5.6sec and a combined 39.8mpg.

The new SLK is also set to offer a diesel engine: a twin-turbo, 2.1-litre four-pot with 204bhp. A replacement for the SLK55 is also destined for the UK by the end of the year. It will use a normally aspirated version of AMG’s new 5.5-litre V8, producing close to 420bhp.

Greg Kable

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