The Next Mercedes-Benz SLK Goes Undercover

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Masked ahead of Halloween, the upcoming Mercedes-Benz SLK spent part of its preproduction testing in one of the hottest locales in the United States, a region between California and Nevada called Death Valley.

With introduction of the next-generation SLK expected in 2011 for the 2012 model year, the German roadster has never yet to be seen outside without being draped by heavy camouflage. Most recent images have began to show more of the actual sheetmetal to the future SLK. Some design elements peaking through the disguised Mercedes-Benz appears to cast the next SLK will more edgier than the current roadster. By looking at the front grille we could notice the bullet-shaped, Formula 1 car inspired center feature will be dropped on the 2012 SLK roadster. Providing little advance details on the interior and exterior design, Mercedes-Benz has unveiled one unique feature for the upcoming SLK guaranteed to supply a new twist to brightening lives of occupants.

Within Death Valley, the new Mercedes-Benz SLK is being tested with a special glass roof panel which can actually transition in transparency depending on outside conditions. Called the Magic Sky Control panoramic vario-roof, the special glass panel contains particles that can be manipulated by electrical current. This same technology is currently being used in high-end specialty windows for homes and buildings but this application by Mercedes-Benz will be the first for an automotive glass roof.

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Operated through an overhead control panel, the driver can adjust the Magic Sky Control system to provide relief within seconds from blistering summer sunlight but allows maximum cabin brightness during other moments. This glass roof is also being advertised as requiring less work for the climate control system for regulate the cabin temperature. The Magic Sky Control is also configured to automatically darkens the glass roof of the Mercedes-Benz SLK preventing the interior to bake on hotter days.

Using a series of sensors, Mercedes-Benz was able to measure the difference with the Magic Sky Control panoramic vario-roof. Accounting for the rays of the sun in Watts per square meter, the measurement equipment recorded the exact numbers Mercedes-Benz engineers were hoping to uncover. When the SLK top is down in Death Valley, up to 1,100 W per square meter was detected inside the cabin. As the top was closed and sun was allowed to pass through the glass roof, measurements dropped to 200 W. Finally, when the Magic Sky Control panoramic vario-roof is set to its darkened setting, less than 50 W is allowed to pass through the glass onto the interior.

When the new Mercedes-Benz goes on sale, the Magic Sky Control panoramic vario-roof will be an option priced at under 2,000 euros (under $2,800 American).

Information and photo source: Mercedes-Benz