2012 SLK 55 AMG
Mercedes-Benz has given its new topless hero a proper unveiling, just hours after a handful of 2012 SLK 55 AMG images surfaced in the German press.
The new AMG-tuned SLK is powered by a naturally-aspirated 'M152' version of the carmaker's new 5.5 litre biturbo V8 engine - that much was revealed some time ago.
Producing 315kW and 540Nm of torque (46kW/30Nm up on the previous model and 85kW/260Nm down on the turbo version), the new engine propels the SLK 55 AMG to 100km/h in 4.6 sconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h.
Up the engine's sleeves are a new air intake, cylinder heads, valve drive, oil system, crankcase and, despite the team's struggles on the track, a Formula 1-inspired cylinder deactivation system.
Developed to help the thirsty V8 achieve a more modest fuel economy, the 30-millisecond switch to four-cylinder operation (at 3600rpm) is described as "immediate and imperceptible".
The cylinder deactivation system forms one part of the SLK 55 AMG's three shift modes: Controlled Efficiency, Sport and Manual. The top-shelf SLK is the first Mercedes to benefit from this new system.
Equipped with a seven-speed AMG SpeedShift automatic transmission, fuel consumption for the new SLK AMG is listed at 8.5 l/100km, marking a 30 percent improvement over its less powerful predecessor.
The AMG-enhanced SLK's styling tweaks include smoked headlights, the familiar AMG bumper design front and rear, and larger light-alloy wheels.
The new SLK 55 AMG is expected to make its global debut at September's Frankfurt Motor Show.
An Australian debut has been confirmed for the first half of 2012.