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Mercedes-Benz tops the roadster power wars with AMG SLK

Power pack: A supercharged version of the 3.2-litre V6 engine produces a mammoth 260kW and 450Nm

Look out BMW and Porsche, Benz drop-top has performance to burn

14 Nov 2000

YOU'RE looking at the fastest Mercedes-Benz production car ever to go on sale in Australia - the SLK 32 AMG.

The problem is you will not be able to buy one until mid-2001, there will only be 20 of them offered here and each one will cost around $150,000.

But it is unlikely Mercedes-Benz will struggle to sell them. Tuned by Mercedes-Benz's performance gurus at AMG, the SLK pumps out 260kW and a massive 450Nm from its supercharged 3.2-litre V6 engine.

That's good enough to propel the two-seater to 100km/h in a claimed 5.2 seconds, outpointing Benz's current local performance king, the CLK55 AMG, by 0.2 sec.

Benz also claims 0-200km/h in 18.4 seconds, a 0-1000m time of 24.2 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h.

That should be enough to get the attention of BMW's M Roadster and Porsche's Boxster S, both slightly cheaper than the SLK but also down in the power and torque stakes.

The engine is the same one that will appear here in the C32 AMG, which will arrive next year just before the SLK, although the sedan's performance figures are slightly dulled compared to the SLK because of the sedan's extra weight.

The supercharger boosts power by 100kW and torque by 140Nm compared to the normally-aspirated engine, with 400 of the 450Nm available at 2300rpm.

New design features include a charge air cooling system including an air-water-heat exchanger that has the ability to counteract temperature peaks, keeping maximum performance available at all times.

Bar the intake system, virtually the whole exhaust system including the oval, chrome-plated twin tailpipe has been completely redesigned Drive is passed to the rear wheels via a five-speed automatic gearbox which offers semi-manual "one-touch" shifting.

The suspension has a new spring/damper configuration, a wider rear track and a larger dimension torsion bar on the front axle.

The braking system features internally ventilated discs all-round with the assistance of ABS, BAS (brake assist) and ESP (stability control) with integrated traction control (ASR).

Sterling-silver coloured 17-inch alloy wheels complete the look and are fitted with low-profile tyres measuring 225/45 up front and 245/40 at the rear.

The bodywork has been given that traditionally cool AMG upgrade with front and rear aprons, side skirts and a breakaway edge on the bootlid, which reduces aerodynamic lift by 50 per cent.

Sports seats with integrated head restraints, two-tone leather trim, bird's eye maple and individually designed instrument fascias highlight the interior look.

Just 2000 SLK 32 AMGs will be built in 2001 with about half headed to the US.

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