The 2012 SLK55 AMG is the little Simba of the AMG pride. Being small and equipped with a naturally aspirated breathing apparatus didn’t diminish its roar. In fact when the SLK55 AMG roars, it does shake the jungle around us and scares away many V8’s.
For 2012, the SLK55 AMG is redesigned, gaining in length and width compared to it’s predecessor, but well compensated for by its increase in HP from 355HP to 421HP, thanks to its 5.5Litre naturally aspirated V8. Drag times to 100kmph has been shaved by 0.3secs to 4.6secs. This car is nudging against the BMW M3’s territory. Yes, the weekend with the SLK55 was going to be rather interesting.
Although being a few hundred pounds on the heavier side as compared to the BMW Z4 and the Porsche Boxster, the SLK55 AMG rewards its driver with its mighty roar and the asphalt ripping torque that pushes one against the seats. Interior has been updated and carries similar interior themes as the new SL, the ambient red LED strips on the door add to its sporting character as well. The seats now offer more support and the use of aluminum brings a sense of sophistication to this tidy little package.
But somehow to me, the smallest of the details carries the largest weight. The 2012 SLK55 AMG comes with the panoramic vario-roof with MAGIC SKY CONTROL (AED 9,300) as an option. With a press of a button the crystals in the glass changes position and makes the glass reflective. In broad daylight all we could see was a deep blue hue and no sunlight passes through, keeping the car pretty much warm when parked out in the sun, rather than being blistering oven hot. At night, with the MAGIC SKY CONTROL on, one can see the outside undisturbed. Let’s just say that it would feel like a polarized sunglass protecting the occupants. Brilliant idea from the house of Karl, Gottlieb and Wilhelm!!!
The previous SLK looked like a smaller SLR, but for 2012 they have taken styling cues from the new SL. And as for the drive, they still retain the same ferocity as the previous SLK55’s. It now feels more sorted and planted than before, it has gained quite a bit of horse power but that does not translate into getting a hit on the face using a sledge hammer. Where as before, pressing on the gas would lead to horse power vanishing into a cloud of smoked rubber, now it is able to translate most of it to the ground. We did get the car to waggle its tail often, but with the electronics kicking in, the SLK guides itself to its intended path with the slightest of hassle. It is a brute with a softer side and is as at home cruising as it is scaring off its driver.
AMG’s exhaust note is the SLK’s trademark. How does a car its size produce such a note is beyond me, rather beyond anyone. I could vouch for that, since it turned heads everywhere I went. With the Sport mode the engine map, as with the E63 tested last week, blips the throttle on downshifts creating an aural delight which few can match, let alone surpass. Even while standing still, a press of the button from Comfort to Sport instantaneously changes the tone of the exhaust. This required some sort of an investigation from our side. We lay down on the floor right next to the exhaust and found out that the inner flap of the exhaust actually opens up, from closed, as soon as the sport mode is engaged.
Driving to the sharper bends and exiting out is not what AMG is all about, it needs space to stretch its legs. It is a muscle car in a small package. It’s more like “Naga Bhut Jolokia” which is the hottest chili in the world. Sometimes small things tend to carry the most punch.
The base price for the SLK55 AMG is approximately AED 300,000 but our tester came with a few optional extras such as the mesmerizing IWC Analogue clock (AED 930), 18” AMG Multi-spoke light alloy wheel (AED 4,250), Harman Kardon Logic 7 Surround System (AED 2,990) and AMG Handling Package (AED 16,650) to name a few.
The SLK55 is just a start of the AMG line and what a first impression it makes. Drive it to believe it.
|Rated Output||310 kW (421 hp) at 6800 rpm|
|Transmission – type of gearshift||7 speed auto with paddle shift|
|Kerb weight||1610 kg|
|Fuel consumption, combined (min)||8.4 l/100 km|
|CO2 emissions||195 g/km|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h||4.6 s|
|Top speed||250 km/h*|
|Price (AED)||300,000 – 344,240 (As tested)|
Images by Brian Donegan