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Registered 2015 SLK55 AMG
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102 Posts
I have never been a driving instructor, but I have had some experience with motorcycle safety because I wrote a police and military motorcycle training manual that was published by Michigan State University. The following are a few of the concepts we used in our motorcycle training program.

• Riding is at its best when you and your motorcycle function as one unit.
• Safe riders are smooth, accurate, consistent, and cautious.
• Having an accident can be a painful way to test your limits.
• Put your brain in gear before you put your motorcycle in gear.
• Defending your right-of-way on a motorcycle can get you killed.
• Avoiding danger is safer than taking evasive action to escape danger.

Since many of the people who use this forum have had thousands of hours of experience driving SLK55s, I would like to know if anyone has some driving tips they would like to share with those of us who are less familiar with SLK55s.
 

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Administrator 2009 SLK 55 AMG/Founding Member 2006
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96,411 Posts
From my post on the subject:

• Brake with your left-foot: If you drive an automatic, and let's face it; most of us do, then you should practice braking with your left foot rather than your right. We do this in racing to minimize the amount of time spent transitioning from the gas pedal to the brake. By utilizing one foot on both pedals, the time saved can be close to half a second; that means we can brake later into a turn. How does this apply to the road? Well, instead of using the time gained to brake later, we can begin braking a half second earlier if avoiding a potential incident. One thing to remember: take your time practicing before implementing this technique in heavy traffic. At first, it can feel difficult to modulate the brake pressure and the inexperienced driver may have a tendency to hit the gas instead of the brake. But keep practicing. Left-foot braking is safer and more efficient once you get the hang of it.

• Look two seconds in front: In busy traffic, many drivers simply stare at the car immediately ahead of us; when their brake lights go on, we brake. You want to get into a habit of looking approximately two seconds in front of the leading car. The vehicle you are trailing will be in your peripheral vision but your focus remains squarely on analyzing the road ahead, looking for any potential dangers that may occur. We do this in racing for the same reason, as well as to plan how best to attack the next set of bends. Like anything in life, the wise always plan ahead.

• Make your hands as smooth as silk: Many drivers on the road probably think they are smooth with the steering wheel; in most cases, that assessment would be wrong. Truly being smooth is something that must be practiced - especially when in an evasive maneuver. The smoother we are, the less we upset the car’s balance. Most vehicles’ suspension maintains a soft set up to absorb the bumps, but when it comes to aggressive cornering, excessive body roll can make you lose control. The trick to avoiding an accident is to have fast reactions, all the while ensuring your hand movements are smooth and precise. This prevents the car from bucking like a wild horse, increasing the odds of maintaining control. The same theory applies to racing, only for us, keeping the car’s platform stable allows for a better handling machine throughout the turn. Therefore we can drive faster.

• Sit close to the wheel: If you ever watch on-board videos in NASCAR, you’ll notice the drivers sit exceptionally close to the steering wheel. This is not with an effort to impersonate their grandmother, rather it allows the ability to get “up on the wheel.” Having your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle (or more) enables you to catch a slide more easily. It ensures the muscles in your arms fire rapidly, providing reaction speeds akin to Puss-In-Boots. While you might think it looks cool to recline the seat back, put on some Dr. Dre and just chill, if the going gets hairy, you’ll be digging yourself out of the ditch.
 

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Administrator 2009 SLK 55 AMG/Founding Member 2006
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96,411 Posts
Personally...
The car has a lot of power...don't forget that :D
Everyone wants to race you :D
You want to race everyone :D
 

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Registered 2005 SLK55 AMG
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1,697 Posts
With the 55, the F/R balance can be trimmed somewhat by maintaining more than 1/2 tank of fuel. Also, a little extra weight over the rear improves general traction significantly.

The ESP can be dangerous if you're attempting a 'quick get-away' and it cuts your power mid-way through a manoeuvre. I notice this in the UK particularly at roundabouts (circles) when the road surface is damp. Most owners feel the ESP is a little over-protective, but put up with it. My suggestion is that you learn how it cuts-in in safe situations so you know what to expect.

Use DLRs (I'm not sure what the arrangement is on 172s). When I first got my black 55 I was surprised at the number of people either didn't see me coming or mis-judged the closing speed. Driving with lights has improved awareness considerably. My fogs are now activated automatically via the Smarttop module.

Keep an eye on your tyres. My car definitely handles better when all corners are inflated to the high-end of parameters. They wear quickly and on the 171 at least, there's a tendency towards unevenness on the fronts.
 

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Registered 2005 SLK55 AMG & 2006 Kleemann 55K S8
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916 Posts
The stability control is quite good on these cars, even with traction control turned off. I actually find the traction control puts me in more bad situations than it saves me from. I tend to keep it off most of the time.

Remember this is a short wheel base car, so it will rotate quickly if provoked (too much power or a bump mid corner). As such, don't apply power until late in the corner and be sure to be quick with counter steer if it does start to step out. With traction control on it won't let you do much of anything.

Good tires are a must, don't cheap out in this department. The car is quite docile for how much power it has. My M Roadster was down right scary with the traction/stability control off. Overall don't be scared of it as they did a good job adding stability in to the chassis.
 

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Registered 2005 SLK55 AMG
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1,697 Posts
The stability control is quite good on these cars, even with traction control turned off. I actually find the traction control puts me in more bad situations than it saves me from. I tend to keep it off most of the time.
I tend to agree - but I can't stand driving with that yellow triangle in my face!
 

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Super Moderator UK SLK 55 AMG 2007
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27,257 Posts
Remember the other road users.
They are all idiots.
Blasting an exhaust after passing pedestrians, cyclists, horses makes you an ass.


Play/practise with paddles and stick.
Stick can cover you if you have to move your hand from the paddle.


Tyre pressures are an additional resource.




Plus all of above.


Those with bike/cycle experience will likely read the road best.
Our lives depended on it.


If you get the chance to do skid pan/ track practise such as this one, go for it.
http://www.slkworld.com/united-kingdom-region/515041-another-track-day-skid-pan-day-rockingham-anyone-maybe-september.html


Especially, if you intend to 'utilise' the car, remember the pre drive checks.


Relax.
White knuckles mean you are trying too hard.
 

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226 Posts
As an ex motorcycle instructor there are loads of tips (not 55 specific) I could probably give but a few would be:

1. Engage brain before engaging gear.
2. If it don't feel right it probably isn't right - some days we just weren't meant to go fast.
3. Don't set your focus a fixed distance away, be that the rear of the car in front or as far as the eye can see, but keep scanning. Regular alteration of focal distance will increase concentration and reduce fatigue.
4. For rural driving use distant tree lines, hedges, telegraph poles etc. to help read the road layout.
5. Likewise, use reflections off other vehicles or building windows (or even look through building windows) to aid visibility in built up areas.
6. Use the vanishing point to determine the radius of a bend. If the vanishing point is getting further away the bend is opening out but if it's coming towards you the bend is tightening up.
 

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193 Posts
I would add
1. For cars get the Police Drivers Roadcraft book
2. For bikes the Police Motorcycle Roadcraft book.

Both on Amazon.

One other nugget is let the boy racer, tail gater, a hole go and annoy someone else. They maybe in the wrong but a rear end shunt etc simply ain't worth it.

Sent from my Moto G (5) using Tapatalk
 

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Registered 2005 SLK55 AMG
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1,697 Posts
Sorry to be a pedant here, but hasn't anyone comprehended the OP's question?

He's obviously not a novice, needing road-craft advice - he has himself written a training manual. Most of the responses are bordering on patronising.

His question clearly relates to the idiosyncrasies of the SLK55. I've had many powerful bikes and cars over the years and rather than trust to luck to discover their quirks, I think it's very reasonable to call on the experiences of longer term users.
 

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Registered
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193 Posts
Sorry to be a pedant here, but hasn't anyone comprehended the OP's question?

He's obviously not a novice, needing road-craft advice - he has himself written a training manual. Most of the responses are bordering on patronising.

His question clearly relates to the idiosyncrasies of the SLK55. I've had many powerful bikes and cars over the years and rather than trust to luck to discover their quirks, I think it's very reasonable to call on the experiences of longer term users.
Fair point. I really should read more carefully.



Sent from my Moto G (5) using Tapatalk
 

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Super Moderator UK SLK 55 AMG 2007
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27,257 Posts
Since many of the people who use this forum have had thousands of hours of experience driving SLK55s, I would like to know if anyone has some driving tips they would like to share with those of us who are less familiar with SLK55s.
Sorry to be a pedant here, but hasn't anyone comprehended the OP's question?

He's obviously not a novice, needing road-craft advice - he has himself written a training manual. Most of the responses are bordering on patronising.

His question clearly relates to the idiosyncrasies of the SLK55. I've had many powerful bikes and cars over the years and rather than trust to luck to discover their quirks, I think it's very reasonable to call on the experiences of longer term users.

I've edited the title for clarification.
Otherwise we'll carry on posting general tips.
 

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Premium Member 2005 SLK55 AMG
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610 Posts
Well the most important - beside having the car in a straight line with the front wheels lined up when putting the pedal to the metal - is to be very careful when overtaking the guy in front of you if there are cars/tractors/whatever in front of him/her. Done that, been there.


Then, if you whant to impress your friends with a start with ESP switched off and a slight touch with the left foot on the brake while giving some power - make sure the street is wide enough. Done that, been there.


Othervise - just enjoy:D
 

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Registered 2015 SLK55 AMG
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102 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Thank you for helping me understand the SLK55. I am getting less oversteer and a smoother turn by going deeper into a curve (delayed apex) before I hit the accelerator. I can also see why keeping the gas tank full and having some extra weight in the trunk might have a beneficial effect traction and balance. The SLK55 would make a great pursuit vehicle.
One of the things I do not fully understand is the AMG Handling Package. According to the Operators Manual:
In the following situations, it may be better to activate SPORT handling mode or deactivate ESP®:

• When using snow chains
• In deep snow
• On sand or gravel
• On designated roads when the vehicle's own oversteering and understeering characteristics are desired.

Does activating Sport Mode activate the limited slip differential that comes with the AMG Handling Package and deactivating Sport Mode deactivates the limited slip differential? It sounds like deactivating ESP might also activate the limited slip differential.

I have also noticed that the SLK55 does not have a Sport button like my SLK350 had. If the indicator light was off, pressing the sport button would turn the green indicator light on and put you in sport mode.

From the Operator’s Manual:

Sports tuning

The firmer setting of the suspension tuning in sports mode ensures even better contact with the road. Select this mode if you want more direct contact with the road when employing a sporty driving style, e.g. on winding country roads.

Does putting the SLK55 in Sport Mode stiffen the suspension or is there another way to stiffen the suspension?
 

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Registered 2005 SLK55 AMG
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913 Posts
Deactivating ESP merely stops the brakes activating. You 'can' kill the whole lot by going into Dyno mode. Tip.. even when ESP is on, it is far from lightening quick especially in the wet. Caught me out once.. never again !

Maya via Tapatalk
 

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Registered 2013 SLK 55 AMG
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44 Posts
Thank you for helping me understand the SLK55. I am getting less oversteer and a smoother turn by going deeper into a curve (delayed apex) before I hit the accelerator. I can also see why keeping the gas tank full and having some extra weight in the trunk might have a beneficial effect traction and balance. The SLK55 would make a great pursuit vehicle.
One of the things I do not fully understand is the AMG Handling Package. According to the Operators Manual:
In the following situations, it may be better to activate SPORT handling mode or deactivate ESP®:

• When using snow chains
• In deep snow
• On sand or gravel
• On designated roads when the vehicle's own oversteering and understeering characteristics are desired.

Does activating Sport Mode activate the limited slip differential that comes with the AMG Handling Package and deactivating Sport Mode deactivates the limited slip differential? It sounds like deactivating ESP might also activate the limited slip differential.

SPORT Handling Mode simply 'relaxes' the ESP system a little, to allow some over-rotation of the rear wheels when under power and to delay the intervention of brake modulation to control a slide when it occurs. This might be beneficial when driving on surfaces that NEED a little wheel-slip to allow best progress, ie: snow, gravel etc. The last reference to 'designated roads' I suspect is German humour and refers to when you're in the mood for it....!


Please note that the LSD is entirely passive and cannot be influenced by the setting of ESP or anything else for that matter. It is just an LSD and that's what it does, all the time.


I have also noticed that the SLK55 does not have a Sport button like my SLK350 had. If the indicator light was off, pressing the sport button would turn the green indicator light on and put you in sport mode.

From the Operator’s Manual:

Sports tuning

The firmer setting of the suspension tuning in sports mode ensures even better contact with the road. Select this mode if you want more direct contact with the road when employing a sporty driving style, e.g. on winding country roads.

Does putting the SLK55 in Sport Mode stiffen the suspension or is there another way to stiffen the suspension?

I'm not sure where you found this, as the only other switchable mode on the R172 is the Comfort, Sport or Manual setting for the gearbox. The dampers on the R172 are again, passive and are stiffer on the P30-equiped model, but unless the last of the line 2015 cars like yours actually had switchable dampers (ie: similar to the AMG Dynamic Ride Control introduced with the current SLC version), then I don't believe this is correct.
 

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Premium Member 2005 SLK55 AMG
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610 Posts
Thank you for helping me understand the SLK55. I am getting less oversteer and a smoother turn by going deeper into a curve (delayed apex) before I hit the accelerator. I can also see why keeping the gas tank full and having some extra weight in the trunk might have a beneficial effect traction and balance.

Keep the extra weight out of the car! Just drive with the top down and you have shifted the balance of the car quite a lot - without loss of perfomance:D
 
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