A car I’ve been watching in the classifieds is the Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG produced between 2005-2008 (followed by revised version). Car and Driver timed one of these at 4.3 seconds to 60mph, and a 1/4 mile in 12.7 seconds! The folding metal roof allows both cocooned Coupe/GT driving as well as summer open topped cruising. Decent low mileage examples can be found for as little as £15,000. This is a lot of high end modern sports car for very little money.
This car was a beast, the front engined rear wheel drive convertible is compact in proportions. However AMG have managed to fit a 5.4 litre V8 under the bonnet. Coupled with the sublime chassis this car is a real muscle bound sports car. The aggressive styling hasn’t aged, the car still looks fresh and the F1 inspired design cues still suit it. In fact during the 2004 F1 season the Mercedes SLK 55 AMG was the official safety car for all 18 rounds of the season.
The 55 AMG is normally aspirated and has a 7 speed automatic with manual shift paddles behind the wheel. The 5.4 litre V8 (featuring no less than 16 spark plugs!) has the following vital statistics
- 5439cc V8, 355bhp at 5750rpm, 375lb ft at 4000rpm
- Seven-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
- 4.9s 0-60mph (official figure, Car and Driver claim 4.3s)
- 23.5mpg combined, 288g/km CO2
- £49,600 basic price in January 2005
The interior is Mercedes at its finest, soft finish plastics, carbon detailing and generous options including neat features like the air scarf that directs warm air over your neck for when the roof is down in cold weather.
Finding a well kept one is relatively easy, these AMG models seem to have a lot of care and attention. I have seen numerous examples at specialist dealerships with 2/3 owners, full Mercedes service history with invoices and less than 60,000 miles for under £20,000.
When it was launched the car was well received by the motoring press, the car was praised for its supple and controlled ride, despite the huge V8 engine crammed into the front. The build quality and pricing was also complimented. The only concerns were the over zealous electronic stability system, and a slow witted manual shift when really pushing the limits of the cars performance. The stability system is actually very good for everyday driving on UK roads, and you soon learn to work with it to extract the cars ultimate performance for the conditions. Also the gearbox has had several software updates since 2005 to improve its responsiveness. These updates should have been carried out by Mercedes during the regular services. You can check this by reviewing the car’s service invoices.