The arrival of the new SLK 55 AMG is bigger news than normal because this model has been a long time coming, and its slew of features foretell the types of technologies that will be coming down the pipeline from the luxury carmaker.
The new SLK is lighter, has carbon fiber trim that we’ve all come to love and has the usual luxury refinements we expect from the breed. But instead of highlighting its powerful engine or light chassis, Mercedes has chosen to highlight the cylinder management system that the SLK 55 has been endowed with. This system deactivates half of the V8’s cylinders when they’re not needed, resulting in a 30% reduction in fuel consumption with a corresponding reduction in emissions. Using advanced electronics and methodologies, Mercedes was able to activate and deactivate the system in a mere 30 milliseconds, so that response is, in their words, “immediate and imperceptible”.
Such pride in reducing horsepower in a sports car was unthinkable then, but by making the system transparent to the driver, Mercedes’ engineers were able to retain the driving experience while providing significant improvements in fuel economy and emissions output.