New models - Mercedes-Benz - SLK-class - SLK32 convertible
AMG tunes faster SLK
A high performance SLK roadster has joined the Mercedes-Benz AMG stable
13 Sep 2001
By JUSTIN LACY
THE fastest Mercedes-Benz production car ever to go on sale in Australia - the SLK 32 AMG - is ready and waiting at your local dealer, but you'll have to be quick, as only seven cars will reach our shores before the year is out.
Even at $154,500, at least three of the seven are already accounted for, although another 10 units are expected in 2002.
The SLK 32 is the latest in a long line of AMG-modified Mercedes-Benz models and will sit at the top of the four-variant SLK-class range.
Over and above the SLK 320, which was previously the premium model in the range, the SLK 32 AMG picks up a host of extra sports and luxury equipment.
At its heart is a supercharged version of the 3.2 litre V6 engine that was introduced on the current W220 S-class range in mid-1999.
It pumps out 260kW at 6100rpm and a massive 450Nm of torque at 4400rpm, up from the base engine's 160kW and 310Nm. The supercharged engine will also find its way under the bonnet of the soon-to-be-released C 32 AMG.
Mercedes-Benz is claiming an acceleration figure for the hot roadster of 0-100km/h in 5.2 seconds, while its top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h in typical Benz fashion.
Despite the increased performance the engine is said to comply with Europe's stringent EU-4 emission standard, although that does not come into effect until 2005.
The five-speed automatic transmission has also been given the once-over by AMG's engineers and features what Benz is calling the "Speedshift" function. In essence it is the same transmission, but with recalibrated adaptive software that allows it to operate with more responsive gear changes, as well as holding gears through corners and downshifting earlier during braking.
The SLK's suspension and brakes have been upgraded to cope with the higher level of performance, incorporating changes to spring and damper rates, a wider rear track and a larger anti-roll bar at the front.
New design 17-inch alloy wheels house ventilated discs front and rear, measuring 330mm and 300mm respectively, while the tyres are 225/45 at the front and 245/40 at the rear.
An AMG-designed body kit and dual oval exhaust rounds out the exterior package, while the interior also gains a number of AMG enhancements.
Sports seats with integrated head restraints have been designed specifically for the high performance roadster, trimmed in two-tone leather upholstery that also finds its way onto the steering wheel and gear knob. The centre console is finished in black bird's eye maple trim, while the instrument panel has silver dials featuring a 300km/h speedo.
The only options available are Xenon headlights, a mobile phone installation and a Bose sound system.
The release of the SLK 32 brings the Australian AMG range to five models, adding to the existing E 55, CLK 55, ML 55 and CL 55. The C 32 is due to expand the range even further before the end of 2001.
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