This is the next-generation Mercedes-Benz SLK spied testing in Germany far in advance of its debut in showrooms in 2012.
The new SLK will not be a radical departure from the current model; it remains a two-seat, rear-drive roadster with a two-piece folding hard-top. Mercedes has decided against adding two occasional seats in the rear (in the style of the Audi TT) to increase the car’s practicality.
Although this test car is very heavily disguised, it’s easy to see that the biggest change will be to the new SLK’s front end, where the current model’s triangular SLR-style nose will be replaced by a flatter grille more like the SL’s.
LED driving lamps set into the lower half of the front bumper are just visible behind the disguise.
Rumours of a diesel SLK persist. There has been no confirmation from Mercedes that it will build a diesel SLK, but with rivals such as Audi offering diesel in the TT, the Stuttgart firm will have considered it.
And it has the perfect engine for the car: the new 2.2-litre four-cylinder from the E-class and C250, which produces 202bhp and 368b ft of torque. It provides the C250 with a 0-62mph time of 7.0sec, which could be reduced to around 6.0sec in the lighter, smaller SLK.