2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG – Design and Equipment

Words Jim Davis | November 21, 2011
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG offers exterior and interior style elements of the SLS AMG Roadster
Words Jim Davis November 21, 2011

Powerful, dynamic and unmistakable – the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG’s unique high-tech package and high performance levels are already apparent even when the vehicle is at a standstill. Visually, it is clear that the top-of-the-range V8 SLK model has been inspired by the Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster: the wide radiator grille with large, centrally-positioned star and wing-shaped slats, as well the vent grille with chrome fins in the front wings, are all reminiscent of the super sports car. At the same time, both style elements also hark back to the famous Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster from 1957.

The unique AMG bodystyling comprises a distinctive front apron with a lower cross strut painted in a high-gloss black finish. Large air inlets help to ensure a reliable air flow over cooling areas. The outer cooling-air openings also house the AMG-specific LED‑daytime driving lights. A lasting impression is also left by the clear glass headlamps with their darkened reflectors. The optional Intelligent Light System provides five lighting functions (cornering light function, country mode, motorway mode, active light function and enhanced fog lamps), which are activated depending on the driving conditions. When this is fitted, the main headlamps are twin-tube units, and the indicators and position lights feature LED technology.

When viewed from the side, the “V8 AMG” lettering beneath the air vent is immediately apparent. Dynamically designed AMG light-alloy wheels, featuring a five-spoke design and painted in titanium grey with a high-sheen finish, also provide an additional sporty highlight. Two additional design variants are also available optionally for the SLK 55 AMG from the AMG Performance Studio: four-spoke AMG light-alloy wheels, painted either in titanium grey or matt black. Other features of the AMG bodystyling include the distinctively shaped side sill panels, as well as the unique rear apron. With its expressive shape, it highlights the width of the vehicle. The black diffuser insert with three deeply contoured fins also adds to the striking visual appearance, as do the two chrome twin tailpipes of the AMG sports exhaust system with exhaust flaps.

Further characteristic AMG features come in the form of the darkened LED bicolour tail lamps, as well as the AMG spoiler lip on the boot lid. Finished in the vehicle body colour, it helps to reduce lift at the rear axle and thus contributes to driving stability, particularly at high speeds.

Interior: quality, precision and style

The dynamic and stylish character continues seamlessly into the interior of the vehicle. Providing an impressive look and feel, the interior of the SLK 55 AMG welcomes its occupants with a sense of precision which is reflected in the workmanship and the high-quality finishes of the materials used. The cockpit too, which has been finished with a great eye for detail, boasts numerous style elements from the SLS AMG Roadster: for example the four air vents, which evoke associations with jet engines, and the centre console which is made of solid, brushed aluminium. Both style elements are integrated harmoniously into the wide dashboard. As an optional extra, the interior can be exclusively enhanced with the addition of an analogue clock, positioned centrally and featuring an IWC design. Steeped in tradition, Swiss watch manufacturer IWC is a cooperation partner of AMG, together with Italian motorcycle brand Ducati.

Also integrated harmoniously into the interior is the AMG instrument cluster featuring a sporty design with two dial-type gauges. It boasts uniquely designed dials with red indicator needles, a 320 km/h graduated scale and also AMG and V8 lettering. Just like other AMG high-performance vehicles, the SLK 55 AMG keeps its driver informed by means of the AMG main menu. Three modes are available: “Warm Up”, “Set Up” and “RACE”. “Warm Up” shows the engine oil and coolant temperatures as well as the current status of the ECO start/stop function. “Set Up” provides information on the current ESP® mode and the transmission mode “C”, “S” or “M”. In “RACE” mode, the RACETIMER becomes available: the driver can use this feature to record lap times when driving on a closed-off race track.

An interior highlight: the AMG Performance steering wheel

The AMG main menu is operated using the multifunction buttons on the AMG Performance steering wheel, which is finished in nappa leather. The specially shaped steering wheel rim features flattened top and bottom sections, as well as grip areas covered in perforated leather to help ensure optimum vehicle control. One particular visual highlight is the metallic trim, surrounding the three-dimensional airbag cover on the three-spoke steering wheel, the lower spoke of which has an open design. Aluminium shift paddles make manual gear changes a pleasure, while the button to configure transmission modes “C”, “S” or “M” is located within easy reach in the centre console.

The AMG sports seats offer high levels of comfort on long journeys and excellent lateral support, and come with a distinctive transverse stitch design as well as AMG badges: the upholstery combination ARTICO man-made leather/black fabric comes as standard, or alternatively the interior of the SLK 55 AMG can be enhanced with sun-reflective nappa leather, Exclusive nappa leather and designo leather. Outstanding occupant safety comes courtesy of the height-adjustable, crash-responsive head restraints which are integrated into the seat backrests.

Innovative optional extras: AIRSCARF and AIRGUIDE

Drivers looking to extend the roadster season can also choose the optional AIRSCARF neck-level heating system. Warm air from vents in the head restraints flows around the head and neck area of the vehicle occupants. To reduce draughts when driving with the top down, the SLK 55 AMG can also be fitted with a draught-stop. This consists of a net in a fixed frame which is mounted between the head restraints. When not in use, it can be stored in the luggage compartment to save space.

A comfortable alternative to the draught-stop is a new pivoting draught-stop, AIRGUIDE. It consists of pivoting transparent plastic layers which are attached to the reverse of the roll-over bars. This is the world’s first draught protection system that enables different comfort levels to be selected for two occupants, as the driver and passenger can individually pivot the units to the centre of the vehicle in a flash, thus taming turbulent air flow from the rear. Advantage: no installation or removal effort required.

Ground-breaking: a choice of two navigation systems

As an alternative to the standard basic Audio 20 CD radio, there is also a choice of the Becker® MAP PILOT entry-level navigation package as well as the COMAND Online system. The Becker® MAP PILOT, which can also be retrofitted, makes a low-cost navigation function available for the entry-level Audio 20 CD radio. Its advantages over aftermarket solutions include integrated operation via the central controls and the Audio 20 display, a concealed location in the glove compartment and updating via an internet portal.

Networked: COMAND Online with internet access

The COMAND Online multimedia system now offers internet access for the first time in the SLK too. Customers can either surf freely on the internet when at a standstill or to a Mercedes-Benz online service while driving; the latter’s pages can be called up particularly quickly and it is simple to operate. The integral services planned include Google™ Local Search and further online services from other suppliers such as the weather. It is also possible to send individual destinations and routes to the vehicle via Google Maps. More Mercedes-Benz online services will be introduced gradually and then all customers will be able to use them.

The high-resolution colour display measures 17.8 cm. Photos can be shown on the large screen and turned over manually, as in a slide show. Where the audio equipment is concerned, too, new types of representation bring a fresh look and more convenient operation. The new Cover Flow function, for instance, sorts the title images of the music albums stored in a carousel-like form, so that the driver can easily leaf through their music collection – even if it is rather on the large side: the memory for compressed audio files (MP3, WMA and AAC formats) now comprises as much as 10 GB. As an option COMAND Online is available with a 6-disc DVD‑changer.

The ultimate in convenience is afforded by the Music Search function, which enables drivers and passengers to search the hard disc, SD memory cards, USB sticks, CDs and DVDs for specific music tracks and artists. The search can be according to various criteria, for instance artist, album or genre. If a name needs to be entered, the software will also tolerate spelling mistakes. The driver is therefore able to devote their full attention to the traffic. As a further advantage, the occupants are able to search all the connected media and devices simultaneously.

Up-to-date maps of Europe are provided without charge for three years

The fast hard-disc navigation system of COMAND Online also has added functions. New features include a 3D display with three-dimensional city views. Also new: routes covered can be recorded and repeated later, specific personal destinations can be imported via an SD card and four alternative routes can be displayed on the navigation map, one of them a particularly economical variation. Mercedes-Benz customers in Europe receive the current cards for their COMAND Online multimedia system free of charge for three years. Authorised Mercedes-Benz dealers upload the updates for navigation data in 39 European countries into the navigation system when the customer visits their premises.

In Europe COMAND Online also comprises the Speed Limit Assist, which receives its information for traffic sign recognition via a camera and navigation database. COMAND Online also includes the LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system for audio, telephone and navigation. The new “One Shot” input for the navigation is particularly convenient, whereby the place and road can be said directly after one another.

Overview of the standard equipment of the SLK 55 AMG (selection):

  • AMG door sills in brushed stainless steel
  • Audio 20 CD radio with double tuner, colour display, Bluetooth® interface, hands-free function and USB interface
  • Headlamp Assist
  • Remote boot lid unlocking
  • Air conditioning
  • Tyre pressure loss warning system
  • Sports pedals in brushed stainless steel, with rubber studs
  • Cruise control with SPEEDTRONIC variable speed limiter
  • Vario-roof painted in vehicle colour, operated electrohydraulically
  • Selector lever and shift lever gaiter in nappa leather
  • Optional extras include (selection):
  • Ambient lighting with “solar red” colour tone
  • DAB tuner (Digital Audio Broadcasting)
  • DISTRONIC PLUS including PRE-SAFE® Brake
  • Speed Limit Assist
  • Intelligent Light System (ILS) with bi-xenon lights
  • THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control
  • Media interface
  • Memory package incl. electrically adjustable front seats, steering column and exterior mirrors with memory function as well as 4-way lumbar support for driver and passenger
  • PARKTRONIC with Parking Guidance
  • Heated seats
  • High-gloss black ash trim
  • High-gloss dark brown burr walnut trim