dates : 11th September 2005
17th September 2005
AMG recipe for the SLK is quite simple… toss out the 3,5
litre V6 – which by the way is a lovely engine – mash in
an over-bored V8, stir in some stiffer suspension and bigger
wheels, and sprinkle with a carefully-crafted bodykit.
The result is a lip-smacking steel-roofed sportster with a
fold-down top that happens to be a mini-monster in disguise.
If the Germans had built the immortal AC Cobra, it would
have looked and driven very much like the SLK 55 AMG.
Each and every AMG is assembled by a single specialist
technician from sump-plug through to the engine cover, which
carries his laser-etched signature on a special plate.
This is the car that has seen Mercedes finally emerge as a
builder of driving machinery to rival the likes of the
Pedants will argue that the first folding steel roof was
seen in a 1930’s Peugeot and followed by the 1957 Ford
But Mercedes takes credit for reintroducing an idea that has
since been copied by a dozen other manufacturers since 1996.
The first-gen SLK was the most successful car in its class
with over 300 000 built.
But this version, in 1,8, 3,5, and 5,5 litre form, will
surely surpass those figures.
to a short wheelbase, lightish overall weight for a V8, a
glorious engine note and entertaining handling, it’s one
of the most fun-filled sports cars around.
Without its myriad traction and skid-control aids it would
be exiting stage left, backwards, every time you flattened
the loud pedal.
As for that shape, at first the mini-SLR nose looked a bit
contrived. One year later it’s the quintessential SLK
In fact, this car is now so good it’s made the larger SL
versions seem a bit unwieldy, superfluous even.
The cockpit is snug for tall people. But with multiple seat
and steering wheel adjustment, even very tall people can get
The centre console is typically covered with a multitude of
buttons – too many for comfort – but they are logically
The steering wheel has button gearshifting, but we felt
happiest letting that superb seven G-Tronic automatic
gearbox do its own thing.
This is probably the best fully-automatic ’box out there,
and matches that raucous V8 perfectly.
Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG
- Engine: V8 petrol
(naturally aspirated) 5 439 cc
- Power: 270 kW @ 5
- Torque: 510 Nm @
4 000 rpm
Seven-speed automatic, rear-wheel-drive
- 0-100 km/h: 4,9
- Top speed: 250
- Fuel consumption:
15 –to 16 litres/100 km (tested)
- Price: R665 000
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