We brought you a single pic of the 2009 Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG on Christmas Day, but Merc has released everything it's got on the über roadster and it looks like what we reported then was correct. The car doesn't receive nearly as thorough a refreshening as its slower siblings, but does get smoked headlamps and a different chin treatment, opting for the single blacked-out lower air intake rather than the F1-inspired split front apron on lesser SLK models. Out back the faux diffuser and dual quadrezoidal (we just made up that word) tailpipes are gone, replaced by a set of dual oval pipes flanking what looks like a skid plate of some sort.
Performance-wise the SLK 55 AMG carries over largely unchanged, which means you'll still find AMG's 5.5L V8 underhood producing 360 hp and 376 ft-lbs. of torque. The AMG Speedshift 7G-TRONIC transmission returns, as well. New this year is the SLK's direct steering system with variable servo assistance, which reduces the amount of turns needed to go from lock to lock and makes turning an easier effort on the driver. Also new are a set of 18-inch AMG twin-spoke wheels, on top of which the car can accelerate to 62 mph in 4.9 seconds. Remember when that was supercar territory ten years ago? Now it can be had in a cut little roadster from Mercedes-Benz.
SLK 55 AMG with new steering and even more striking appearance: Fine-tuning and even more agility for the AMG eight-cylinder roadster
Affalterbach – The SLK 55 AMG is now even more dynamic: a new front apron and dark-tinted headlamps give this unique eight-cylinder roadster an even more athletic look even at a standstill. The handling dynamics of the SLK 55 AMG have also been sharpened. For the first time the car features the new direct steering with variable servo assistance, which makes the 265 kW/360 hp two-seater even more agile and responsive. The SLK 55 AMG is also the only car in its class to feature a V8 engine, while the improved AMG SPEEDSHIFT 7G-TRONIC transmission now offers even faster gearchanges.
The appearance of the sporty roadster now reinforces the car's claim to special status even more emphatically. The redesigned front apron with a more pronounced arrow-shape, the modified Mercedes star, enlarged air dams and a black-painted transverse fin on the lower section ensure a distinctly masculine aura. Large, round foglamps with chrome surrounds are now positioned further outwards, enhancing the impression of width. The hot air from the integral engine oil cooler is vented via side outlets in the front apron. The specific AMG bodystyling also includes AMG side skirts, the muscular AMG rear apron with a black insert and the AMG spoiler lip.
New features also include dark-tinted projection-beam headlamps and larger exterior mirrors for better rearward visibility. LED indicator repeaters in an arrow design ensure more safety. Even more striking than before are the new 18-inch AMG light-alloy wheels in a multi-spoke design. Painted in titanium grey and with a high-sheen star, these provide interesting contrasts when viewed from the side. With a width of 7.5 and 8.5 inches respectively, the AMG light-alloy wheels are fitted with size 225/40 (front) and 245/35 (rear) tyres. New, high-sheen 18-inch AMG light-alloy wheels in a twin-spoke design are also available in the same sizes on request. Outstanding deceleration values are ensured by the AMG high-performance braking system with internally ventilated brake discs all-round. The front brakes have perforated discs of size 345 x 30 mm; 300 x 22 mm discs are fitted at the rear.
Newly developed direct steering with variable servo assistance
The all-new direct steering system with variable servo assistance makes for first-class handling dynamics, and makes the SLK 55 AMG even more agile. A key component of this direct steering is the newly designed steering rack. This allows a ratio spread from 15.8:1 to 11.5:1 – which the driver experiences as more responsiveness at around five degrees or more from the centred position. Variable servo assistance makes the roadster particularly agile and lively on winding roads, as the driver has less to do than before – only 2.16 turns of the wheel are required from lock to lock. This also produces considerable comfort advantages when manoeuvring at slow speeds.
The driver of the SLK 55 AMG also benefits from this outstanding controllability during high-speed manoeuvres such as the VDA lane-change test, as his hands no longer need to be repositioned on the wheel. The AMG Roadster also sets standards when it comes to straight-line stability at high speed – this is where the less direct steering configuration in the centred position has a positive effect. This is supported by the already familiar speed-sensitive servo function: the servo assistance decreases as the speed increases, which improves both handling and driving safety.
AMG eight-cylinder engine for superior performance
The striking bonnet with its characteristic longitudinal fins conceals the 5.5-litre AMG eight-cylinder engine, which has an output of 265 kW/360 hp and develops 510 newton metres of torque – figures which remain unrivalled in this segment. Enormous torque, immediate responsiveness and the typical AMG V8 sound characterise the driving experience, together with outstanding performance: the two-seater accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in just 4.9 seconds, reaches the 200 km/h mark in 17.5 seconds and has a top speed (electronically limited) of 250 km/h. Power is transferred by the AMG SPEEDSHIFT 7G-TRONIC transmission with steering wheel gearshift paddles, which now ensures even greater agility: gearchanges in the "S" (Sport) and "M" (Manual) driving modes are around ten percent faster than before. This is not only thanks to the new components in the seven-speed automatic transmission, but also to the new engine and transmission management, which also ensures that the gearshifts are smoother.
Functional interior with new AMG instrument cluster
In the functional and sporty interior of the SLK 55 AMG, the new AMG ergonomic sports steering wheel with its three-spoke design gives a visual hint of the direct steering feature. The grip area is specially shaped and lined with perforated leather, while the vertical spoke is embellished by a silver-coloured insert. Two aluminium AMG shift paddles allow manual gear selection.
The AMG instrument cluster with a 320 km/h speedometer scale, silver/red needles and AMG lettering also has a new look, and the new graphics ensure that vehicle speed and rpm are even more easily legible. In "M" mode, the AMG main menu is able to display the currently selected gear including an upshift recommendation, as well as the engine oil temperature, the battery voltage or the RACETIMER. The AMG sports seats with their special upholstery layout feature pronounced side bolsters for improved lateral support when cornering at speed; Alcantara inserts in the shoulder areas improve this lateral support even further. Fine nappa leather upholstery is part of the standard appointments of the SLK 55 AMG. It is available in a choice of four attractive colours, with a stylish combination of black/gullwing red as a new entrant to the range.
Performance package for the driver with racing ambitions
The AMG performance package is available for the SLK 55 AMG on request. This package developed by the AMG PERFORMANCE STUDIO incorporates even higher-performance components. The result is an ultra-exciting driving experience for sports car enthusiasts who sometimes like to put their AMG model through its paces on the racetrack.
The AMG p erformance package for the SLK 55 AMG consists of:
- AMG high-performance braking system with internally ventilated and perforated composite brake discs, size 360 x 32 mm, with six-piston fixed callipers at the front
- Internally ventilated and perforated brake discs, size 330 x 26 mm, with four-piston fixed callipers at the rear
- 18-inch AMG multi-piece light-alloy wheels in a twin-spoke design, size 7.5 x 18 with tyre size 225/40 R 18 (front) and size 8.5 x 18 with tyre size 245/35 R 18 (rear)
- AMG performance suspension
- AMG performance steering wheel with smaller diameter, flattened lower section and silver-coloured aluminium shift paddles
- AMG carbon-fibre trim in the interior
Interested customers can order the SLK 55 AMG now; the purchase price is 69,049.75 Euro (incl. 19 % VAT). The market launch will commence in March 2008.