With the debut of the SLK-Class in 1997 came the debut of the SLK AMG model, the SLK32 AMG. The SLK32 included a 354-horsepower, 3.2-liter engine. A decade later, Mercedes debuted the much more powerful SLK55 AMG and that model continues through the 2013 model year.
The 2013 SLK55 AMG is essentially a carryover from the 2012 model year, despite some shuffling of standard features on the lower SLK-Class models. The 2013 SLK55 AMG comes standard with an outrageous 5.5-liter V-8 engine that punishes concrete and asphalt with 415 horsepower and 398 foot-pounds of torque. With its paddle-shifted SPEEDSHIFT seven-speed transmission by AMG, this roadster hits 60 mph in only 4.5 seconds while turning in acceptable fuel economy ratings of 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. Going fast is only half of the equation, as the SLK55 AMG also features Mercedes’ Direct-Steer system which adjusts the steering to fit your needs at any given time, plus the ALK55 includes the AMG sport suspension system to keep it glued to the road in the twist.
On top of the array of standard features that Mercedes bestowed upon the SLK55 AMG, there are also several upgrade packages available. The first package is the Multimedia package, which includes 80 GB navigation system, enhanced voice control, 7-inch LCD screen, Gracenote media database, in-dash DVD player, 10 GB of music storage SD card reader, and SiriusXM traffic and weather service. The Lighting package includes bi-xenon lights for added nighttime vision, adaptive high-beam assist to avoid blinding oncoming traffic and a headlight lens washing system. Lastly, there is the AMG handling package, which adds an AMG performance steering wheel for a sportier grip, raised to-speed limiter to 174 mph, an AMG limited-slip differential for better traction, AMG performance suspension and 18-inch AMG multi-spoke wheels.
The performance roadster market has really dissipated in the past few decades, leaving only a handful of direct competitors for the 2013 SLK55 AMG. Leading the charge toward the SLK55 AMG is the BMW Z4 sDrive35is, which has a 335-horsepower, 3.0-liter turbocharged engine, a seven-speed automated manual transmission and a 4.8-second sprint to 60 mph. Next up is the 2013 Porsche Boxster S, which comes standard with a 3.4-liter six-cylinder engine that cranks out 315 horsepower, a six-speed manual transmission and a 4.9-second run to 60 mph. Finally, you have the 2013 Audi TTS Convertible, which features a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 265 horsepower, a 5.3-second run to 60 mph and a six-speed dual-clutch transmission linked to Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system.