The new Mercedes SLK has been introduced to Europe in the metal for the first time at the Geneva motor show.

This will be the third generation of the SLK, the car that popularized the concept of the folding metal roof. The highlight of the design is the optional panoramic roof which can be switched from near-transparent to opaque at the touch of a button.




It has to be said that it is about the only highlight of the exterior design, which is almost Porsche 911-like in evolutionary nature. The 911 is a timeless shape though - it will be interesting to see if the Mercedes SLK is ever regarded in the same way.



Under the bonnet, however, there has been something of a revolution. There will be three engines from launch: SLK 200 (184 bhp), SLK 250 (204 bhp) and SLK 350 (306 bhp). Remarkably, all achieve 40 mpg or more, with top speeds of between 147 mph and 155 mph.

The rest of the car is much as you would expect. The interior now features the Airguide system, pivoting Perspex draught excluders hidden behind the roll-over bar, which swing round to reduce turbulence. That could save a few expensive hairdos.

There are three suspension choices: standard, sports and Dynamic Handling. The Dynamic Handling option features fully electronic dampers which are said to combine sporty handling with good ride comfort
.

The SLK goes on sale in June - just in time for the brief British summer - and prices have yet to be announced.