The Mercedes SLK55 AMG’s naturally aspirated 416bhp V8‘s a riotous drive. The simply stunning SL500 we’ve written about here before may be the king of the road-going SLs, but this smaller, slighter sibling is definitely no slouch, despite the lack of a turbo or two.
It’s a popular choice amongst Mercedes’ regular clientele. Chatting to a dealer, I was told this is one of those cars the girlfriend tells her guy he has to buy – and is then treated to it as a rather nice present, only for her ‘generous’ benefactor to swiftly claim all future driving rights to. Either way, expect to see a fair number of these sleek beauties gracing our roads once the sun finally comes out.
One of the SLK 55’s key draws is the fact that this is one sports car you can have a (relatively) clean conscious over, as it may be a 5.5-litre V8, but it returns a thoroughly respectable 33.6mpg and manages to emit just 195g/km Co2.
Its hefty 398lb-ft of torque gives a pleasing amount of punch, and the roadster is capable of a 4.6 second 0-62mph sprint. Although some might say it’s not the neatest handling roadster around, it is spirited, willing and rather enjoyable to drive. One particularly special feature is the booming AMG soundtrack – belligerently barking at you for daring to start it up, and continuing to gurgle and growl ominously as you harry it on.
Inside, as you’d expect from anything with a Mercedes badge, it’s well built, of a high quality, comfortable, and everything’s sensibly laid out. The folding hard-top stows and erects rapidly, which is handy in this climate.
The two-seater cabin is pretty spacious and the boot is a respectable size with the top up, but space and access are limited when down – although that’s true of the majority of roadsters. There’s also plenty of storage space in the cabin.
Every SLK55 is well equipped – more so actually compared to many of its rivals, with Bluetooth, electric roof and windows, air-conditioning, alloys and more, plus a wide range of exciting options to choose from.
A fun pocket-rocket of a roadster, with both looks and attitude.
Facts & Figures
Acceleration: 0–60mph 4.6 secs
Top speed: 155 mph
Combined consumption: 33.6mpg
Engine: 5.5-litre V8, 416bhp
Transmission: Seven-speed dual clutch auto, rear-wheel drive