Car news

23 August 2011

This is the new Mercedes Benz SLK 55 AMG

Baby AMG gets free-breathing V8, 420bhp and a new sports exhaust...

Vijay Pattni
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Fans of naturally aspirated V8 engines, rejoice! Mercedes-Benz and AMG have revealed the third generation of their enfant terrible, the new SLK 55 AMG, ahead of it's world premiere at the Frankfurt motor show.

And, for once, the badge actually matches the engine. The drop-top roadster gets a 5.5-litre V8, essentially the same new V8 currently doing the business in the CLS 63 AMG, the S 63 AMG, E 63 AMG and CL 63 AMG. Just without the two turbochargers.

This V8 distinguishes itself from its turbocharged sibling with new intake air ducting, new cylinder heads, a modified valve drive, an adapted oil supply system, an optimised crankcase, four-valve technology and a Formula One-style cylinder ‘shut-off' system. As the name suggests, under partial throttle, two or four of the eight pots are turned off to help fuel consumption and emissions. In fact, Mercedes claims it only emits 199g/km of CO2 and returns around 28mpg.

But you won't care about the SLK 55 AMG's preservationist credentials. Because that 5.5-litre V8 produces 420bp (60bhp up from the old SLK 55) and 400lb ft of torque, which feeds a Speedshift Plus 7G-Tronic auto ‘box. It'll accelerate from 0-100kph in 4.6 seconds and keep going to a limited top speed of 250kph.

AMG has fiddled with the SLK's suspension too, stiffening up the springs, dampers and stabilisers as well as applying more negative camber on the rear axle to help combat body roll and aid high-speed stability. It also gets drilled and vented discs and torque vectoring brakes that actuate on one of the rear wheels during ‘critical cornering conditions'. There's also AMG's Direct-Steer system, which graduates the assistance from the power steering. ESP is available in ‘on', ‘sport handling' and ‘off' modes, and you can opt for the AMG handling pack, with even stiffer suspension, a rear axle differential lock, composite brake discs and a three-spoke steering wheel.

The new AMG sports exhaust features two flaps: both are closed under 2,000rpm, then open gradually above this at 15, 30 and 50 degrees, and sit wide open under full throttle. For the layman's definition of this, read ‘quiet when cruising, a bit louder when pushed then ruddy thunderous when hooned'.

Mercedes has looked to the halo SLS for the 55's interior design, such as the brushed aluminium centre console, an AMG analogue watch, and ‘jet engine' style air vents. As expected, you sit in plush AMG sports seats, nappa leather and, of course, get the option of the panoramic vario-roof, which switches from light to dark by simply pressing a button.

There's also an ‘Edition 1' 55 AMG ion the menu, specifying different interior and exterior details such as light-alloy wheels, three paint finishes and two-tone leather inside. Excited by this news?


Tags: amg, mercedes benz, slk, frankfurt, slk 55 amg



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