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After having revealed the SLK350 model, Mercedes‘ AMG division has just announced the new SLK55 AMG. Like the previous SLK55, this model gets a 5.5-liter V8 engine, but that’s where the similarities stop. Making 415-hp and 398 lb-ft of torque, this motor is a naturally aspirated version of the twin-turbo 5.5-liter found under the hood of the E63 AMG, CLS63 AMG and S63 AMG.
But much like its biturbo counterpart, this 5.5L V8 also features a start/stop system in order to save fuel. In the Controlled Efficiency mode, the V8 will manage its cylinders by cutting off cylinder-two, cylinder-three, cylinder-five and cylinder-eight between 800- and 3800-rpm, helping conserve fuel while still offering enough performance for day-to-day driving. The powerplant is mated to a seven-speed AMG Speedshift Plus transmission, enabling a 4.5 second 0-60 mph time.
Standard brakes are 14.2-inchers in the front while the rear features 13-inchers while suspension enthusiast looking for a true driving experience can opt for AMG’s Handling Package that features stiffer tuning, rear differential lock, two-piece front disc brakes and a leather/Alcantara-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel.
To help the SLK55 stand out from the crowd, the AMG model features a special body kit and badging. The SLK55 AMG plans to make its grand debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show next month and should be at the dealerships by early 2012. No pricing was announced, but look for it to be in the $70,000 range.
GALLERY: 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG
When Mercedes unveils its new AMG version of the SLK in the Fall, it will be packing an all new naturally aspirated engine that will deliver serious performance and retain the AMG purity, while trying very hard not to step on the toes of its larger and more expensive siblings.
Considering the smaller size of the SLK, the twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 was out of the question. Not only won’t that powerplant fit, but even in a detuned form it would make the SLK too close a competitor to the SL. As a result, the AMG engineers have reportedly built a naturally aspirated version of the new 5.5-liter V8 engine, which is offered in twin-turbo form in both the CLS63 and E63.
Compared to the old engine the new 5.5L will gain 60-hp for a total output of 416-hp, while torque rises from 376 lb-ft to 398 lb-ft.
Other upgrades include a new cylinder deactivation technology that will allow the car to run on just four cylinders under certain conditions to help reduce fuel consumption, as well as a new sports exhaust system with baffles that will open progressively as throttle is applied.
Look for the new SLK55 to debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show this Fall.
GALLERY: 2012 Mercedes SLK