The 2009 Mercedes SLK 55 AMGS

We've already shown you the vanilla Mercedes SLK, and now we have photos of the facelifted AMG-tuned SLK 55. As we've already mentioned, the new SLK is fitted with the current model's 5.5-liter V8, which is good for 360 horsepower and will be mated to the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed auto transmission. With the exception of the exterior enhancements, the Mercedes engineers consider the AMG SLK 55 close to perfection. And why mess with perfection? Well, why mess with perfection until the next generation becomes the new perfection. All this can be yours for just under $100,000. Press release below the jump:

2009 SLK 55 AMG Edition

The sporty credentials of the 2008 SLK generation are further enhanced by three modified powerplants that consume less fuel and, therefore, emit less CO2. The four-cylinder powerplant in the SLK 200 Kompressor and the six-cylinder sports engine in the SLK 350 both offer substantially more power and torque. Only the SLK 55 AMG retains its familiar engine - an eight-cylinder unit that has lost none of its mesmerising performance capability and remains a unique selling point in the SLK segment.

Standard equipment for the three new SLK models includes a precise six-speed manual gearshift, while the SLK 55 AMG still comes with the 7G?TRONIC Sport seven-speed automatic transmission fitted as standard. Optional extras available include a five-speed automatic transmission for the SLK 200 and the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission or, alternatively, the 7G-TRONIC Sport with shift paddles on the steering wheel for the six-cylinder SLK 280 and SLK 350 models.

A newly developed direct steering system with variable steering assistance, available as an optional extra (standard for the SLK 55 AMG), further highlights the qualities of the sporty chassis, combining agility and manoeuvrability when driving on twisting rural roads with steering comfort when parking and assured steering characteristics when travelling at high speed.

The direct-steer system is based on the previously installed speed-sensitive power steering system and operates by purely mechanical means, meaning that there is no need for elaborate actuators and complex sensors. At its heart is a new rack with slick gearing, which ensures that the steering gear ratio changes in tune with the steering angle. The ratio is indirect when the steering is in or around the central position so as to ensure excellent straight-line stability and, therefore, a high degree of assuredness when travelling at high speed. At a steering angle of just 5 degrees, the ratio starts to increase extremely rapidly and the steering feels much more direct. As a result, the number of steering wheel revolutions from lock to lock is reduced by around 25 percent if the new direct steering is fitted. This means that, even in city traffic, relatively little steering wheel movement is required to correct the car's path. Fast sequences of bends on rural roads can be negotiated almost intuitively with relatively small steering movements - with assurance, precision and a healthy dose of driving enjoyment.

Visually enhanced SLK 55 AMG

On a technical level, the SLK 55 AMG remains almost unchanged. The only differences are a few visual enhancements. The front end of the AMG model now features a new apron with a black-painted cross strut and side air outlets as well as darkened headlamps. [Mercedes via CarScoop]