The new 400 bhp Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG Special Series
By Mike Hanlon
June 9, 2006
June 10, 2006 As the only eight-cylinder roadster in its segment the Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG provides a unique driving experience. Now the iconic two-seater has become even sportier, as Mercedes AMG has developed an exclusive and distinctly puristic special series which sets new standards in driving dynamics. With the AMG 5.5-litre V8 engine enhanced to 294 kW (400 bhp) and a whopping 520 Nm of torque, numerous lightweight construction components, carbon hardtop, 19-inch AMG forged wheels, AMG height-adjustable torsion sports suspension and AMG high-performance composite brake system the special SLK 55 AMG is VERY special.
Wide, stocky and low slung – the first impression already makes it clear that the SLK 55 AMG is something very special. The front of the car fascinates with the restyled AMG front apron with large air intakes which supply the additional transmission oil cooler and the high-performance steering gear oil cooler with sufficient fresh air. New side air outlets of black carbon ensure an effective flow through of the larger engine oil cooler. The front fenders which are now wider are made of the ultra-light carbon-fibre-reinforced-plastic (CRP) and have black out-lined air outlets.
The non-retractable hardtop of the two-seater is also made of CRP; the black central part with carbon fibre structure provides attractive optical effects. Dis-carding of the vario roof and the complete roof hydraulics has not only enabled a lowering of the centre of gravity, but has also resulted in a notable reduction of weight – the puristic special series of the SLK 55 AMG is with a curb weight of 1,495 kg according to EC standard 45 kg lighter than the basic vehicle. This means that the power/weight ratio has improved from 4.3 to 3.7 kg/hp.
Appropriate to the optimised weight there is a redeveloped AMG 5.5-litre V8 engine under the bonnet with a maximum performance of 294 kW/400 hp, as well as a 520 Newton metres torque. A modified air intake, AMG sports air filter as well as newly developed fan-type exhaust pipes provide an efficient gas cycle and enable that the eight-cylinder reacts more promptly to accelerator pedal movement – which is acoustically noticeable due to the unmistakable V8 sound. The combination of a lower vehicle weight and a high-performance AMG eight-cylinder engine guarantees first-class driving performance: the acceleration from zero to 100 km/h requires only 4.5 seconds (standard vehicle: 4.9 secs.), after 15.5 seconds the SLK 55 AMG already achieves 200 km/h (standard vehicle 17.5 secs.). Power transmission is supplied by the AMG SPEEDSHIFT 7G-TRONIC with manual drive program and AMG aluminium shift paddles on the steering wheel. The chassis and brake system are the ideal partners for the dynamic drive package.
For example, the AMG height-adjustable torsion suspension, including adjustable shock absorbers, which has been optimised on the racetrack, allows amazing cornering speed. A brace in the engine compartment provides additional rigidity and more lateral dynamics. The special series SLK 55 AMG has ultra-light AMG forged light alloy-wheels with mixed-size tyres in sizes 235/35 ZR 19 (front) and 265/30 ZR 19 (rear) – as an alternative, optional special sports tyres are available without extra charge. Perfect deceleration is guaranteed by the AMG high-performance brake system with larger composite discs on the front axle.
The racing design is consistently continued in the interior: two specially developed AMG sport bucket seats without side airbags in black pearl velour with silver AMG logo offer the best lateral support, the new AMG ergonomic sports steering wheel in leather and Alcantara enables perfect control of the vehicle. Ample carbon fibre on the door panel lining as well as on the trim parts give the interior the functional atmosphere of a real racing car – and are an affirmation of the almost 40 years of Mercedes-AMG motorsport history.
Despite racetrack driving dynamics the special SLK 55 AMG has all the virtues typical of any Mercedes-Benz car: everyday suitability, safety, durability, quality and standards of service for the most demanding requirements. The first models of the unlimited AMG special series will be available in July. The price in Germany will be 107,300 euros (incl. 16% VAT).
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