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Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class SLK55 2012 Review

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG review

The rampaging Benz SLK 55 AMG roadster has no competition in the compact Euro' sports car class - it's the only V8 and out-powers the six and five cylinder competition - by a long shot.

But the price is competitive at $155,000, so as far as we are concerned, it's a no-brainer. We'd go the V8 Benz every time, for a whole raft of reasons.

EXHAUSTING

Not the least of these is how it sounds. There's a dual mode exhaust down the back with flaps that progressively open or close according to throttle position - with the obvious effect.

When you drive a V8 you want to know about it, especially one like this that revs to 7200rpm and sounds like World War III at full noise.

ENGINE

The direct injection, 5.5-litre, V8 engine is similar to the new twin-turbo V8 used in other AMG cars _ 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 310kW/540Nm output. Fuel economy is the best of any petrol V8 currently available rated at 8.4-litres/100km _ yes, amazing. The change from four cylinder to eight cylinder running is almost imperceptible.

Drive to the rear wheels is by a slick-shifting seven-speed auto with paddle shift and three change modes. It will blip the throttle on down changes and utters a neat exhaust pop at full throttle up changes.

CREDENTIALS

"Green" influences see low friction engine internals and demand-related alternator and oil pump along with other technologies to reduce enviro impact.

THE DRIVE

It's a fabulous car to drive with incredible handling and brutal performance, or it can be a smooth groove depending on your mood. The ride/handling package is brilliant - not rock hard but totally controlled.

Handling, is nothing short of sensational thanks in part to the torque vectoring brakes that selectively apply to keep the SLK tracking true. The large wheels/tyres and brakes also help a tad as does direct steering that changes gearing to provide optimum feel and response.

THE LOOK

It looks like a scaled down Benz SL with SLS influences and is strictly a two seater. The cabin is luxurious and the hard roof deploys quickly. Our drive car had the Magic Sky roof with variable blue tint _ magic.

SAFETY

Safety is top notch 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 round corner function.

VERDICT

Yes please.

Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG

Price: from $155,000
Warranty: 3 years/unlimited km
Resale: 53 per cent (Source: Glass's Guide)
Service interval: 25,000km/24 months
Safety: rating five NCAP stars
Spare: mobility kit
Engine: 5.4-litre 32-valve V8, 310kW/540Nm
Transmission: 7-speed automatic; RWD
Body: 4.1m (L); 1.8m (w); 1.3m (h)
Weight: 1610kg
Thirst: 8.51/100km, on test 16l/100km,  tank 70 litres; 197g/km CO2

Pricing Guides

$42,245
Based on 17 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$34,990
Highest Price
$51,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
SLK55 AMG 5.5L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $54,450 – 62,590 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class 2012 SLK55 AMG Pricing and Specs
SLK200 BE 1.8L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $33,440 – 39,820 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class 2012 SLK200 BE Pricing and Specs