AMG 55

the SLK55 AMG. It's the most powerful SLK of all time, because under that bonnet and behind that three-pointed star is a new 5.5-litre V8 producing 416bhp.

So the badge finally corresponds to the engine size? This Mercedes SLK55 AMG actually has a 5.5-litre V8?

That's right. It's a naturally aspirated version of twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8 that powers the E63, CLS63, CL63 and S63 AMG models. And alongside the 416bhp there's also 398lb lf, and some very impressive fuel figures. Thanks to an Eco mode for the seven-speed MCT gearbox, stop/start tech, and a cylinder deactivation system that can see the SLK55 run with four-pot power, the official figures are 33.6mpg and 195g/km CO2. Not bad for an eight cylinder sports car that will hit 62mph in 4.6seconds and go on to a (limited) top speed of 155mph.

How else has the SLK been transformed into the SLK55 AMG?

Let's start with the looks, which run from a set of quad exhausts poking out from the below the beefier rear bumper, past a boot spoiler, revised side sills, bigger alloy wheels, to the more aggressive nose. Those four rear pipes are part of AMG's first ever active sports exhaust, with uses flaps to ensure a discreet engine note at low revs, and a proper V8 below when you floor the loud pedal.

Alongside SLK55-specific suspension and the variable AMG Direct Steer steering, the Torque Vectoring Brakes system can brake the inside rear wheel to aid agility through corners. There are three ESP modes (ESP On, Sport, and ESP Off), 360mm front and 330mm rear brakes, and if you want more, the AMG Handling Package adds stiffer suspension, a rear diff, composite front brakes, and a leather and Alcantara steering wheel.

Sales so start spring 2012, so you can start bothering Porsche Boxster owners then.

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