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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG Preview

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As we predicted, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG will come onto the market early next year with fresh new styling and a brand new 5.5-liter V-8.

In fact, Mercedes has already brought us all the details on the naturally-aspirated 5.5-liter V-8 powering the new SLK55 AMG, but now we have all the details on the car itself.

With a peak output of 415 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG is the most powerful SLK of all time. However, it’s also quite frugal thanks to cylinder deactivation technology, direct fuel injection, and an engine stop-start system.

When using the cylinder deactivation feature, available over a wide engine speed range from 800 to 3,600 rpm, the engine only uses four of its eight cylinders. In this mode, however, the engine still has a reasonable 170 pound-feet of torque on tap.

Once you floor the throttle and the tacho passes the 3,600 rpm mark, the rest of the cylinders fire up in a process that takes no more than 30 milliseconds.

When this happens, the 0-60 mph sprint takes you just 4.5 seconds, while top speed comes in at an electronically limited 155 mph.

But it’s not all about the engine.

Power is transferred to the rear wheels by means of the AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission which features three transmission modes: "Controlled Efficiency" (C), which enables the cylinder deactivation mode, Sport (S) and Manual (M), the latter allowing pseudo manual mode.

And new to the SLK55 AMG is a brake torque vectoring system, which produce a defined rotational movement of the vehicle about the vertical axis in fractions of seconds, through selective brake actuation at the rear wheel on the inside of the bend.

Independent suspension struts with stiffer spring and damper tuning, torque strut bearings on the front axle featuring higher rigidity, stiffer stabilizers at all four corners as well as a more negative camber on the rear axle result in high cornering speeds and low body roll.

Stopping power comes from internally ventilated and perforated brake discs on all wheels, measuring 14.2 inches up front and 13 inches in the rear. These are complimented by a three stage electronic stability system, ranging from standard, sport and complete off modes.

For even better performance, however, there is an optional handling pack, which adds stiffer suspension tuning, an AMG rear axle differential lock, two-piece brake discs at the front and a three-spoke AMG Performance steering wheel finished in leather with Alcantara.

To appeal to the eyes, this third-generation SLK55 AMG gets distinctive light-alloy wheels, a full bodykit, chrome plated exhaust tips, and custom badging.

Look out for the debut of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show next month, with first sales of the car scheduled to start early next year.

For full details on the complete 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class, click here.
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