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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The new R171 SLK350 still has a way to go to run with the best of the sports cars, according to some comparos in the leading USA car magazines.

It came in dead last in the Road & Track 9-vehicle comparo, although they said some nice things about it.

It was next-to-last in the 4-convertible Car and Driver comparo, beating only the Chrysler Crossfire (R170 AMG) clone. The mag lamented that the SLK55 they originally asked Mercedes for was still not in port when the testing began.

Here's the link to the Car and Driver article:

http://forums.mbnz.org/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=1200240&posts=5&fid=27
 

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very surprising

because some well reknown mags (way better than the US crap) rated the R171 VERY good.

Evo mag stated so many positive comments.

Etienne
 

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SLK55 review by top gear:

"So the least powerful AMG is also the best car that AMG makes. Need a greater rush than this? Then you'll have to take up base jumping."

BBC Top Gear Road Test
by Peter Grunert
[November 05 2004]

Mercedes SLK 55 AMG

Too girly. That's one accusation some have chosen to level at the sleek, tautly curved new-generation Mercedes SLK. Well now they've reason to reconsider. AMG have got to it, producing a version that's about as effeminate as a shaven-headed Sigourney Weaver, strapped with laser weaponry and on the offensive in Aliens.

This SLK 55 is quite blatant about its intentions. Extra cooling vents sliced into the sides of the front bumpers, heavily sinewed sills, a tiny spoiler peeking from the top of the boot and a quartet of chrome-tinged exhaust outlets all emphasise its bad attitude.

The first step in assessing whether the driving experience matches the visual impact is to electro-hydraulically origami the roof back into the boot. The scant 20 or so seconds required to do so allows a brief pause to tense arm, leg and neck muscles, in readiness for what's about to be unleashed.

The previous AMG-tuned SLK had a supercharged 3.2-litre V6 that produced 354bhp and made a noise like a malfunctioning Dyson. This was a car that would happily sit there spinning its back tyres until they'd welded to the tarmac, even if you were just trying to pull sedately out from a car park.

The SLK 55 is a rather different proposition. Instead of a V6 it has a socking great 5.4-litre V8 squeezed inside its beaky nose, equipped with lightweight cast aluminium pistons, composite camshafts and a variable intake manifold. It serves up 355bhp - a token 1bhp more than the SLK 32 managed - and a violent 376lb ft of torque. Brush against the throttle and the sound effects suggest you've let loose some woad-splattered pagan horde - the superb bellow follows along behind, even at a steady 40-50mph cruise.

It's an impressive enough fact that Mercedes - once arguably the world's most conservative car company - should sanction the existence of a car that sounds so brutal, or that such a car could even be legally offered for sale. The ability to flick the roof out of sight makes the aural impact all the more intimate, no longer just being reserved for ogling by-standers.

There's substance behind the racket. The SLK 55 launches just as aggressively as it looks and sounds like it should do. With the standard-fit traction and stability control systems switched out, the 245-width rear tyres still just about manage to remain attached to the 18-inch rims as the power is sent to the road. Leaving only the slightest tyre-smoke screen behind itself, the car surges viciously onwards. There's no interupting the flow of acceleration to gasp a breath, or for that matter to dip a clutch pedal - this is the first AMG to feature a '7 G-Tronic' automatic gearbox, slipping instantly and all but imperceptibly between each of its (yes, seven) closely-crowded ratios.

There's a manual mode too. Uncommonly, it's one that fully lets the driver take charge. Just tug slightly on the rubberised pads mounted behind each horizontal spoke of the steering wheel to change up or down a gear, while trying to avoid whacking the stereo up to full volume or calling out the emergency services on the car phone via the buttons on the front. Unlike most such gearboxes, press sharply on the accelerator or nudge up against the rev limiter and it won't intervene to select the ratio it assumes you should have chosen. You'll never be left confused as to which gear you're in - useful, when there's a vast artic to pass or a switchback fast approaching.

Given the ballistic forwards propulsion, corners loom up with a testicle-tightening suddenness. Thankfully, the brakes are a match for the task. The discs are ventilated, cross-drilled and grooved, just to make sure. They're also matched to whopping six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers. The result is repeated stopping ability with a force that threatens to hurl the contents of your brain cavity (and your stomach) in the direction of the windscreen.

Most AMGs feel like cars built to corrupt the laws of physics on long, straight roads, if not through corners. Given that the majority are sold in the States, that's no great surprise. Remarkably enough then, and especially given the bulk of the V8 nestling over its front axle, the SLK 55 turns in sharply. Eagerly, almost. It reveals no early urge to push on, or to step wildly out at the rear - it's far more sophisticated than that. Again traction is healthy, there's a near-rigid resistance to body roll and steering responses are as well-weighted and linear as in the (£15,370 cheaper) SLK 350.

So the least powerful AMG is also the best car that AMG makes. Need a greater rush than this? Then you'll have to take up base jumping.

Fact file:
17/20
# We say: Unusually, an AMG Merc with a chassis to match the potential of its engine. False beard not required
# Price: £49,640
# On your drive for: £1,216pcm
# Performance: 0-62mph in 4.9secs, max speed 155mph (ltd.), 23.7mpg
# Tech: 5439cc V8, RWD, 355bhp, 376lb ft, 1540kg, 288g/km CO2
Etienne
 

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read this too:

http://www.caranddriver.com/article.asp?section_id=3&article_id=8684&page_number=1

and it's from car and driver also!!!

The entirely redesigned second generation will surely revive the excitement, not because of its price, but because it is now a driver's car.
the 3.5-liter ditches the three-valve twin-plug SOHC heads in favor of DOHC single-plug four-valve heads with variable valve timing on the intake and exhaust valves.
The revised mill is rotary-smooth and blessed with a constant stream of 258 pound-feet of torque from 2400 to 5000 rpm that provides excellent 30-to-50- and 50-to-70-mph top-gear passing times. Power delivery at any rpm is quick and effortless, and the thrust never seems to taper off. If you don't keep an eye on the tachometer, you're sure to run into the 6500-rpm fuel cutoff in the short first and second gears. This is a seductively sporty engine that accelerates the SLK to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds. Hang on for 13.8 seconds, and the quarter-mile will pass at 103 mph on its way to a redline-limited top speed of 161 mph. (Why our tester ran to 161 instead of a governed 155 is a mystery.)
The tranny part:
Mercedes offers its seven-speed automatic, dubbed the 7G, on its new roadster, but our SLK350 had a precise and rewarding six-speed manual. The shifter feels like the love child of a Honda S2000 and BMW M3. There's a slightly rubbery feel as in the M3, and the throws aren't quite as short as the S2000's, but the effort is light and positive. Shift as fast as you like, because the gearbox synchros feel unbeatable. Pedal placement is good, although the smaller-shoed will wish the brake pedal were just a bit closer to the accelerator to facilitate heel-and-toe downshifts. It's easy to match revs in the SLK, as the engine responds instantly to accelerator contact, and unlike most modern engines, the SLK loses revs quickly. The engine has a willing personality that is perfectly suited to a manual transmission—you'll definitely not regret choosing it over the automatic. The conventional wisdom has always been that Mercedes reluctantly developed light and sloppy manual gearboxes for taxi drivers instead of enthusiasts. Clearly, that notion can be put to pasture as the SLK's gearbox is good enough to make everyone happy.
Two beneficial Mercedes traits that have carried over are a rigid body structure and strong, fade-free brakes. Stops from 70 mph are drama-free and use up 167 feet. Brake-pedal feel is excellent; the SLK has traditional hydraulic brakes instead of the brake-by-wire Sensotronic system that is difficult to modulate. A tight structure has always been a Mercedes strength, and the first-generation SLK was blessed with a structure that was largely quiver-free. According to the front office, the new generation increases torsional rigidity by 46 percent and bending stiffness by 19 percent. High-strength steel is used liberally and to good effect: Over even the worst expansion joints, railroad tracks, and potholes, the SLK shoulders the blows with ease.
The ride is now sports-car stiff, but the SLK will absorb large impacts without jarring the occupants. Toss it through a few corners, and it immediately feels smaller than its predecessor, despite its larger dimensions.
The car's new steering system contributes greatly to the chuckable feel. Mercedes has finally purged itself of the numb recirculating-ball steering that was too fast off-center and incommunicado after that. The new rack-and-pinion setup talks to the hand as readily as a guest on Jerry Springer. Unlike Jerry's guests, though, the wheel speaks clearly, predictably, and without anger.
the new SLK can finally matriculate with the best from Europe, Japan, and the U.S. It's quite a shock that a poseur can become so wonderfully genuine overnight. [...] The SLK will likely continue to be purchased for its appearance and cachet rather than for its newfound sports-car soul, but for those who seek a dynamically satisfying performer, the SLK will not disappoint.
Etienne
 

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You'll always find just as many negative articles, as you will find positive ones.

Most of the negative articles are for the 200 or the 350, and a lot of the negative press is also incorrect. Some of those journoes should drive the car a bit more then 10miles... (lots of inaccuracies when it comes to speed, roof operation, options, etc... but then again, the car is new and not very well known).

I think my 55 is one of the best cars I've driven, and a definitive improvement over a Miata, Z4, R170 or a Porsche Boxster (at the very least in comfort and options stakes... arguably, a Boxster might be a better handler, but the SLK is also in "my" opinion, the best looking of the cars).

Of the cars I've driven, only a Vanquish comes close to the joy of the 55. An SL AMG is also a great drive. Even Maserati Cambio Corsa, all of them are great cars. But the new SLK has something about it that I really, REALLY like ^_^
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Interesting comments.

My point in posting this was to point out to anyone currently owning a R170:

If you think your R170 is a "tourer" when you want a "track racer," trading up to an SLK350 isn't going to automatically put you in the same class as track stars like the Boxster and S2000. The jury is still out (in the USA) as to whether the SLK55 AMG is a worthy competitor to the Boxster S and Corvette.
 

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the new boxter is sexy

and the evo mag review placed it a tad on top of the SLK, but the S2000, nissan Z, Z4 and such were way far from the porsche and the SLK

Personally I prefer the SLK to any other small convertible, maybe except the new boxter. Between the two I'd probably take the MB because of luxury and comfort.

Etienne
 
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