Mercedes-Benz SLK etymology: What does name, letters mean?

The original 1996 Mercedes-Benz SLK was the first modern car with a convertible hardtop, but what do the letters SLK stand for? Find out here…

SLK is short for Sportlich, Leicht und Kurz — or Sporty, Light and Short in German.

The SLK name also indicates that the solid-roof convertible is smaller than the full-size SL cabrio — the letters SL in the bigger convertible also stand for Sportlich and Leicht.

For a time Mercedes-Benz used the K suffix to denote smaller versions of speciality cars. There was the GLK, which was a small SUV named after the company’s full-size GL SUV.

And let’s not forget the C-Class based CLK coupe, which was named after the larger S-Class-based CL coupe.

In 2016, the 20 years after the original R170 SLK went into production, the SLK name was retired. With the 2016 facelift, the SLK was renamed as the SLC in line with Mercedes-Benz’s newest naming structure.