One of the attractions of the SLS used as the Safety Car in F1 is that deep throaty V8 rumble. The SLK designers understand the aural attraction and the SLK has a dual mode exhaust with flaps that progressively open or close according to throttle position - with the obvious throaty effect.
Beautiful SLK 55 AMG.
The direct injection, 5.5 liter, V8 engine is similar to the new twin-turbo V8 used in other AMG cars but without the turbos and with a different cylinder head and other changes.
It has auto stop/start and cylinder deactivation in ‘eco’ mode and is good for a healthy 310 kW/540 Nm output. Fuel economy is the best of any petrol V8 currently available rated at 8.4 liters/100 km, and the change from four cylinder to eight cylinder running is almost imperceptible.
Transmission is through a seven-speed auto with paddle shift and three change modes. It will even blip the throttle on down changes and utters a neat exhaust ‘pop’ at full throttle up changes.
Those who have driven the SLK AMG say it is a fabulous car to drive with incredible handling and brutal performance, or it can be a smooth boulevarder depending on your mood.
Handling, is nothing short of sensational thanks in part to the torque vectoring brakes that selectively apply to keep the SLK tracking in line. The large wheels/tyres and brakes also help as does direct steering that changes gearing to provide optimum feel and response.
The look is like a scaled down Benz SL with SLS influences and is strictly a two seater. The cabin is luxurious and the hard roof folds quickly.
Safety is not forgotten, despite all the performance goodies with all manner of active and passive systems including attention assist and radar cruise control as well as active headlights with auto dip and see around the corner function.
Service interval: 25,000km/24 months
Safety: rating five NCAP stars
Spare: mobility kit
Engine: 5.4 liter 32 valve V8, 310 kW/540 Nm
Transmission: 7 speed automatic; RWD
Body: 4.1m (L); 1.8m (w); 1.3m (h)
Thirst: 8.4 l/100 km, on test 16 l/100km, tank 70 liters; (and if you really care, it regurgitates 197 g/km CO2, though I am yet to find anyone who really does “care”).