Output from the 5.5-liter AMG engine is boosted from 360 hp to 400 hp and 45 kg has been shaved off the curb weight through the use of lightweight components including a new fixed hard top. As a result, the 0 to 62 mph dash drops from 4.9 to 4.5 seconds, while 125 mph is, where permitted, clocked up in just 15.5 seconds – a full two seconds quicker. Top speed is no longer restricted to 155 mph, and the car can reach 173 mph.
The exclusive nature of the SLK 55 AMG Black Series is signaled by even more muscular front wings made from ultra-light carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CRP) and a restyled AMG front skirt with carbon fiber inlays. Large air intakes and side air outlets ensure a sufficient flow of air to the enlarged engine oil cooler and new transmission and steering oil coolers.
The SLK's standard vario roof with its hydraulic closing mechanism has been replaced with a purposeful fixed hard top which has a central section in black carbon-fiber CRP. It means that not only is the car's center of gravity lower, there is also a significant weight loss – it now tips the scales over seven stones lighter than the standard car, at 1,495 kg, and the power/weight ratio improves from 234 hp/tonne to 268 hp/tonne.
The motorsport theme continues inside: two specially developed AMG sports bucket seats without side airbags offer superb lateral support and are trimmed in a black pearl velour complete with silver AMG logos. They are complemented by a leather and Alcantara trimmed steering wheel derived from that used in the FIA Formula One World Championship Official Safety Car, and lightweight AMG carbon fiber internal door center panels.
The V8's power output of 400 hp at 5,750 rpm compares with the standard AMG model's 360 hp, produced at the same engine speed. It develops an even more muscular 520 Nm of torque at 3,750 rpm, up from 510 Nm at 4,000 rpm. Key enhancements include a modified air intake, an AMG sports air filter and a newly-developed exhaust system. Power continues to be fed through an AMG Speedshift 7G-TRONIC transmission with a manual drive program and steering wheel-mounted aluminum shift paddles.
Naturally the chassis has been modified to match the increased performance capability of this special series SLK 55 AMG. Racetrack-optimized, AMG height-adjustable torsion suspension, including adjustable dampers permits even more impressive cornering ability. 19 inch ultra-light AMG forged alloy wheels with 235/35 ZR 19 (front) and 265/30 ZR 19 (rear) Pirelli P Zero Nero tires replace the 18 inch items of the standard car. Greater body rigidity is provided by a brace across the engine bay, and for those looking for even sportier handling, there's an optional limited slip differential available.
There is stopping power to match the performance and the front wheels continue to feature composite technology to minimize braking distances, optimize sensitivity and ensure high resistance to fading. The composite brake discs are now 360 mm in diameter, up from 340 mm. The 330 mm internally ventilated and perforated brake discs at the rear are retained.
The SLK 55 AMG Black Series may possess a level of driving dynamics orientated towards track use, but it is also a car eminently suited to everyday driving and provides the safety, durability and quality that come as standard across the Mercedes-Benz range.
The Black Series is also offered with three additional AMG packages for even greater exclusivity: an AMG Leather package includes leather seats, dash, center console, center armrest, door panels and doorbags, and anti-roll bars. An AMG Interior Carbon Fiber package includes carbon fiber instrument cluster covers, steering wheel multi-function button covers, gearshift lever and door sill panels. An AMG Exterior Carbon Fiber package has carbon fibre front grille inserts, external mirror covers and rear boot spoiler trim.