Ah, the return of the naturally aspirated V8. My favourite.
This, presumably, is excellent news, even if it’s one shoehorned under the stubby bonnet of the latest Mercedes-Benz SLK – a car that has not, thus far, wormed its way deep into our affection like most of its rivals.
The big news, of course, is the arrival of a new AMG engine – always worth writing about, and no less so here.
If you’d wondered what removing the turbos from the latest AMG engine would do, here’s the answer: 416bhp and 398lb ft of torque, and a similarly aggressive woofle on start-up.
All promising so far. Ditto the claimed economy. Turbos, we’re told, are the future of efficiency, yet here’s a 5.5-litre, naturally aspirated unit that returns 33.6mpg and emits just 195g/km.
It also doesn’t sound as fruity as the AMG unit. There’s usually some fine engineering at work with AMG V8s, and this is no exception. Response is excellent and it revs with conviction – sufficiently so to make the SLK a bit of a hot rod, as the best SLK AMGs always have been.
That’s about the limit to its dynamic finesse, though. The seven-speed auto shifts agreeably most of the time but is sometimes reluctant to make downshifts in a hurry on command.