The Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class is a compact luxury roadster manufactured by Daimler-Benz in three generations; R170 launched in 1996, the R171 in 2004 and R172 in 2011.
Mercedes presented the SLK II concept car at the 1994 Paris Motor Show, showing off the "vario-roof". The car went on sale two years later in Europe, and in 1997 in the US. The SLK is built in Bremen, Germany.
The designation "SLK" derives from the company's design mission to create a roadster that was at once sporty, light and short—in German: sportlich (sporty), leicht (light) und kurz (short).
For the 2017 model year (late 2016), with the release of the third generation R172 facelift, the SLK-Class will be renamed to Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class in accordance with the revised nomenclature adopted by the brand. Under this scheme, roadsters use the base name "SL", followed by the model's placement in Mercedes-Benz hierarchy. The "SL" is for Sportlich Leicht (German for "Sport Light") and alludes to the long-running SL-Class. This is followed by the letter "C"—the SLC being the roadster equivalent to the C-Class.