Not the sports car it pretends to be.

Our Verdict

Mercedes-AMG SLK 55

The Mercedes SLK 55 AMG's non-turbo 416bhp V8 makes a hot rod out of the German car firm's junior roadster

28 December 2005

What’s new?

An optional Performance Pack for those who think £50,555 isn’t enough to pay for a SLK. Only available on the range topping SLK 55 AMG; this £4800 packs adds uprated composite brakes, firmer suspension and ‘bling’ split-rim wheels. Oh yes and for bar-room braggers, the electronic speed limiter has been upped to 174mph.

What’s it like?

The standard SLK 55 chassis may fall short of Boxster levels of precision, but it does a competent job of mixing body control and passenger comfort. With this uprated suspension the SLK 55 becomes ultra firm, firm enough to set the windows rattling around town. Up the speed and things improve, but still the suspension is so hard that across tumbling B-roads you fear the wheels may lose contact with the road. Only on smooth fast A-roads does the stiffer set-up make sense; with increased grip, more agility and improved steering accuracy.

The wheel-filling 340mm composite brakes may not want for ultimate stopping power, but lack the delicacy needed to dip into the increased braking performance smoothly.

Should I get one?

In its element the Performance Pack transforms the SLK, making it a more credible sports car, and adding to the opportunities to exploit that fantastic Nascar engine. For the rest of the time, the ride is just too firm for what is as at heart a boulevard cruiser. We can think of better ways to blow £4800.

Jamie Corstophine

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • BMW 220d Convertible M Sport 2017 review
    First Drive
    26 July 2017
    The 2 Series range receives a light facelift, enhancing its exterior and interior look, improving infotainment and adding more standard kit
  • Renault Captur Dynamique S Nav dCI 110
    First Drive
    26 July 2017
    To keep pace with rivals in this increasingly competitive category, Renault's popular compact crossover has had a mild refresh both inside and out
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid
    First Drive
    25 July 2017
    New top-of-the-line Porsche hybrid, though fast and flexible, is simply too heavy to strike the same sweet sporting compromise as its siblings
  • Caterham Seven 420R Donington Edition
    First Drive
    25 July 2017
    Limited-edition road-legal Caterham track car is a superbly enthralling drive, with enough creature comforts to be used on the road as well. Even more addictive than most of its rangemates
  • McLaren 570S Spider
    First Drive
    25 July 2017
    McLaren has created its most attainable drop-top by removing the roof from the 570S coupé, but none of the car's talent has come away with it