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Merc makes an SLK for the track. Image by Mercedes-Benz.

Merc makes an SLK for the track
This special edition Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG has the look of a track car.
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Mercedes-Benz has announced the limited production of a special SLK 55 AMG, including styling and handling modifications, a diet and an increase in power. Though the special goes on sale in July in Germany, it was developed for a wealthy customer in the Middle East, who intends to use the SLK in a private one-make series.

First up is the styling, which you can't ignore. At the front, the AMG apron has been modified to allow cooling air to a new transmission oil cooler and the power steering fluid cooler. Behind the wheels are new hot air outlets, said to enhance flow through the engine oil cooler. Black carbon fibre is used on the new parts to ensure they stand out, as well as save some weight. Most of the car's weight saving comes from the deletion of the folding hardtop. Instead, buyers are presented with a fixed carbon-fibre reinforced-plastic roof, which should also serve to reduce the car's centre of gravity.

Kerb weight is reduced by a modest 45kg, which may not sound like a lot really, but allied to that is an even more powerful version of AMG's superb 5.5-litre V8 engine so the new SLK 55 AMG should easily out-run the 'standard' car. The new engine pushes out 400bhp versus the regular car's 360bhp, on top of 384lb.ft of torque. The result is 0-62mph in only 4.5 seconds (standard car 4.9 seconds). Perhaps more telling is the two seconds less it takes the special to reach 124mph (200km/h).

AMG has fitted its composite brake discs to the special too, so braking should live up to the racecar appearance, as should cornering thanks to AMG height-adjustable torsion suspension, including adjustable shock absorbers and a strut brace in the engine compartment. The only technical feature that doesn't fit so well with the race track renegade image is the continued fitment of an automatic gearbox. Sure, it is an AMG Speedshift 7G-Tronic, but most enthusiasts prefer to change gears themselves if they are able.

Inside, carbon fibre has been used in copious amounts, though the biggest change to the regular SLK is the presence of two AMG bucket seats finished in grippy velour. A leather and Alcantara sports steering wheel tops it off. The price? 107,300 Euros in Germany, which equates to about 73,000. We await news of UK imports.

Shane O' Donoghue - 13 Jun 2006

2006 Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG special. Image by Mercedes-Benz.       - Mercedes-Benz road tests
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2006 Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG special. Image by Mercedes-Benz.

2006 Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG special. Image by Mercedes-Benz.

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