Mercedes releases new photos of 2012 SLK Roadster, gets panoramic glass roof

Mercedes-Benz has published a bevy of pictures of its next-generation SLK hardtop roadster during endurance testing in the heat of Death Valley to show off the upcoming model's panoramic glass-roof with Magic Sky Control [MSC].

Driving with the top down is not always an option. There might be clear blue skies, but temperatures could be also very low. Other times the car's interior gets way too hot if it has a panoramic glass roof. Either way, your drive is ruined.

And this is where the Magic Sky Control system comes into the picture. A roughly 2,000 euro (US $2,772) option for the next generation SLK, the MSC is, in essence, a panoramic roof that can be made either transparent or darkened, just by pushing a button.

So, when it's too cold you make it transparent and still enjoy the nice visuals or, when you have to park in the sun, it darkens on engine-shut down and the interior remains much more cooler. No more burnt arms on an over-heated armrest…

Mercedes says that the system works on the principle of a plate condenser. The glass roof has some special particles in it, which react to electrical voltage. And when you push that button you're feeding it voltage or cutting the supply off, thus the glass becomes transparent or not.

The Germans have been testing the Magic Sky Control on prototype SLKs in Death Valley (check out the gallery below) and came to the conclusion that parts of the interior remain much cooler (up to 10 degrees Celsius) than in cars using traditional green glass.

The 2012 Mercedes SLK is expected to go on sale next summer and we'll probably see it for the first time either at the Detroit Motor Show in January 2011 or at the Geneva Salon in March of the same year.

If we're to believe the rumors going around, the new generation of the roadster model may be the first SLK to get a diesel engine. Other than that, it's business as as usual under the bonnet, with turbocharged four-pots and more noble V6s.

By Csaba Daradics