The SLK-Class comes in three flavors, according to engine: SLK300, SLK350, and the ultimate SLK55 AMG. All three perform like a proper, traditional German roadster should. Even more than its mates, the SLK55 AMG is designed to engage drivers who take performance especially seriously. Making 415 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque, the 5.5-liter V8 works with a specifically-tuned seven-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is estimated at about 22 mpg in combined driving, and an SLK55 AMG can hit 60 mph in a swift 4.5 seconds.
Built with a tauter suspension than its SLK companions, the SLK55 AMG features a sport exhaust system and upgraded brakes. A power hardtop is included, with an integrated panoramic sunroof that offers provision for remote operation. When the top is down on cooler days, an AirScarf neck-warming system can spring into action. Inside are sun-reflective Nappa leather sport seats, an 11-speaker Harman Kardon sound system with satellite and HD radio, and Bluetooth connectivity. Aluminum interior trim is standard, but you can specify wood or carbon fiber as an alternative. Three AMG-spec 18-inch wheel designs are available.
The Carbon Styling package applies a gloss black finish to the power top, as well as to mirrors, spoiler, and air-dam openings. Inside, specially-trimmed black seats contain neon green piping, and carbon fiber trim goes on door handles and the console.
A Multimedia package for the SLK55 AMG includes a DVD/CD changer, 10GB audio storage, SD card reader, and a navigation system that provides real-time traffic and weather information. To boost performance to the limit, you can select an AMG Handling package that adds a more aggressive suspension, limited-slip differential, sports steering wheel, and a higher-level top-speed limiter.
Separately available options include front and rear parking sensors, a wind deflector, keyless ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a Magic Sky Control system that lets you adjust the tint of the glass roof.
Although an SLK55 AMG ($72,600) is thrilling enough in basic form to satisfy most owners, those who demand peak performance, or who expect to take the roadster to a racetrack now and then, need to consider the AMG Handling package. Lack of a sunshade with the SLK55’s glass roof almost makes that Magic Sky Control setup essential. Seeing that tint-change in action is a pleasure of its own.
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