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The roof design, marketed as the Vario-roof, developed by Mercedes-Benz consists of a folding steel hard top divided in half along an axis at right angles to the direction of travel. Both halves are linked by a kinematic mechanism which is locked securely when the roof is closed. At the touch of a button on the centre console, a hydraulic system with five cylinders controls the fully automatic folding process in which the boot lid is also integrated. It opens by tipping to the rear so that the two roof halves have sufficient movement to pivot backwards as the roof opens; the roof sections then position themselves on top of each other and fold into the boot. If the roof is to be closed, the same sequence of movements is performed in reverse order. The hydraulic system stows the roof in the upper section of the boot. A plastic roller blind separates the roof from the luggage space below, an area with a capacity of 145 litres in the first-generation SLK. With the roof closed, the load volume increased to 348 litres (12.3 cu ft). Two fixed roll-over bars behind the seats worked with the A-pillars to form an integrated system offering a high degree of roll-over protection.
The steel roof provides added protection, which is normally found in a coupe, but with the flexibility of a convertible at the same time.
SLK Panoramic Roof