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Mercedes tweaks mid-rangers

New SLK and upgrades for C Class

By / Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Mercedes-Benz SLK

Mercedes-Benz SLK

Mercedes-Benz has just announced three new cars that might be of interest to petrolheads, one new mid-range SLK and two upgraded C class motors.

SLK 280

We get a new petrol-powered SLK, the 280, housing a 231bhp 3-litre V6 with 231bhp at 6000 rpm and 221lb-ft of torque at 3,500rpm, giving a 0-60mph sprint of 6.3 seconds. The car fills the gap between the bottom-end 200 and the 350.

For the first time in a V6 engine, both intake and exhaust camshafts are variable to optimise power and torque while contributing to fuel economy, reckoned Mercedes. Further adjustments are possible within the variable length inlet – a number of flaps open, or close, according to engine speed and load to adjust the tract length. This adjustability enables the engine management system to achieve the best possible output for a given driving situation.

In terms of specification, the SLK 280 matches the high value SLK 200 KOMPRESSOR exactly with the addition of special 16in 5-spoke alloy wheels as standard, only available as an option on the SLK 200 K. The SLK 280 also comes equipped with six-speed manual transmission as standard, however the renowned and ultra-flexible 7G-TRONIC transmission is optional for £1770.

The new SLK 280 Euro 4 compliant engine completes the SLK-Class line-up, which now engines from the 163 hp SLK 200 KOMPRESSOR, through to the 360 hp V8 SLK 55 AMG. Orders can be taken now for UK delivery and it will cost from £30,975 OTR.

C 320 CDI

The second is the C 320 CDI, which replaces the C 270 CDI and is available in the C-Class Saloon and Estate only.

This new 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine introduces Mercedes' third generation of common-rail direct injection systems, claimed to deliver improved efficiency, smoother power delivery and reduced consumption, exhaust emissions and combustion noise. It majors on weight too, with its maker claiming it to be the world’s first all alloy diesel engine in its class, totalling only 208Kg.

The new injector system is equipped with fast acting piezo-ceramics, which have a response time of only 0.1 milliseconds. This new piezo technology means the number of fuel injections per power stroke has increased from three to five. To assist in a finer, and so more accurate distribution of fuel, the common-rail pump pressure has been increased from 1350 bar to 1600 bar.

The combination of swifter injection and higher fuel pressure has led to Mercedes-Benz developing its unique pilot injection process. This introduces small amounts of fuel to the combustion process to preheat the combustion chambers. The result is a smoother combustion and reduced engine noise.

With a single turbo tucked into the engine's V, the 224bhp with 376lb-ft of torque engine powers the C 320 CDI through the 7G-TRONIC transmission, fitted as standard. Speedtronic cruise control and Tipfunction are standard. The saloon returns a performance of 6.9 seconds for the dash from zero to sixty. It also gets parameter steering, 17in wheels and larger rubber.

Three E-Class using this 320 CDI engine in standard specification recently tested at the Laredo (Texas) development facility covering 100,000 miles with a standard service regime and no problems. On the way to establishing 22 world records, the three diesel engines managed to cover the distance at an average speed of 139.69 mph. The three cars went on to cross America, covering 1039 miles on one tank-full of diesel averaging 58.85 mpg.

One of these will cost you £31,020 OTR.

C 350

Also the C 320 has been upgraded to the C 350 with new 3.5-litre 272bhp V6 petrol engine, as found in the E 350, CLS 350 and initially in the SLK 350. In the C-Class, it is mated to the 7G-TRONIC transmission which comes with Tipfunction gear change and Speedtronic cruise control – all as standard. It will dash to 60mph in 6.4 seconds.

Included with the C 350 Avantgarde are larger 17in alloy wheels with 225/45 front and 245/40 rear tyres for increased levels of grip. It also gets parameter steering fitted as standard, which is said to improve feedback at the steering wheel. OTR price is £27,950.

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