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Discussion Starter #1
The first time I drove my SLK55 with the top down, it felt like I was driving a motorcycle with four wheels and I realized that the lazy driving habits I developed over the past 10 years were not going to work with a vehicle that responds more like a motorcycle than normal car. After reviewing the motorcycle training manual that I wrote for Michigan State University and all of the information I’ve collected over the years on pursuit driving, I decided to write a short field-training manual on advanced street-driving techniques.

Even though I’ve tried to cover a wide variety of topics, such as observation, steering, braking, acceleration, tailgating, and road rage, I would like to put together a list of topics that other SLK55 drivers consider important. Since driving an SLK55 is not like driving a normal car, I’m hoping that some of you will be able to identify some topics that most drivers would never think about.
 

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You probably have these, but to start the ball rolling.

Adjusting from a mundane car to 55 performance, and back. Lots of multiple car households here.

Use of C in conditions with poor grip, especially snow and ice.

The effect of weight (Packed/empty luggage compartment, using fuel level to your advantage
eg topping up to add weight to rear when wanted).
Similar with tyre pressures.

Use of bike roadcraft to make the best of forward vision when lining up overtakes.
Our cars are lower, so a good view ahead is important.

Hill start up & down.

Driving on grass (many SLK/C attend shows on grass).

Parking.
We have cars that are shorter than most, yet folks still park the nose/tail as close to the kerb
as they can in car parks. Get it wrong and the nose especially, catches.

Engine braking - very useful but remember any tailgaters do not realise you are going to do that,
so still have to tap the brakes to light them up.
 

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A couple of suggestions.....

Chapter 1: Techniques to successfully elude law enforcement.
Chapter 2: installing and operating electronic countermeasures - radar detectors and laser jammers
 

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As I said in a welcome to a new member a while ago, the 55 really does fill the gap that the bike left when I gave up riding a few years ago.
As I use mine as a daily driver I have adopted a few of my bike techniques that seem to work well in the car and coming a 4wd Impreza WRX I have had to teach myself how drive the 55 to get the most enjoyment.
Things I have found that I have adopted from bikes.
1. When cornering at speed I ensure I brake in a straight line before turning in to reach the correct speed then off the power, take the bend and power on after the apex.
2. Positioning in the best possible part of the road to get the best view around the bend.
3. Keeping distance from the car in front to get a good view of the road ahead before attempting an overtake then smoothly pull out and back in again after overtaking.
4. Being as smooth as possible so not to tempt the rear stepping out.

Other things I have found:
5. If it’s wet or frosty / icy etc always use C (using S in the wet I have had the rear step out when exiting a junction)
6. If driving briskly in M then change before redline as there is a small delay in gearchanges and if it hits redline the power drops off for a second and can really throw out your concentration.

And the best one:
7. When driving with the roof down enjoy the sound of the V8.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Unlike having a general discussion about safety, I’m trying to collect advanced driving techniques that apply to SLK55s and put them into a short manual. I really appreciate comments that help me recognize important issues that I failed to think about myself.

I can relate to the comments about driving in C instead of S when a road is slippery. I recently noticed that I have less traction when making a sharp turn if the road cold or my tires are cold. When you have less than normal traction, having your 55 in C instead of S seems to reduce oversteer skids

It takes a while for your tires to spin off dirt or sand after you exit a dirt road and enter a paved highway. If I’m on a dirt road and I need to stop for a stop sign before I enter the paved road, I make certain I’m in C and I switch ECO off. It might be my imagination, but when I don’t switch ECO off, I sometimes feel a slight hesitation and a small loss of traction before the car moves forward.

The most dangerous thing I’ve noticed about driving on grass is that your tires can scrape up dirt if you slide sideways and the dirt that builds up next to your tires can flip your car over. A similar thing might happen if you lose control of a four-wheel drift and run off the road. Most of the people I’ve talked to had no idea their car was going to flip over until it suddenly happened.
 

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Having some kind of slip diff in the back makes an enormous change on how to exit hairpin (I'm talking European Alp type hairpins) corners. Much more grip. Having the appropriate tires to your liking (no, I'm not going there) gets your level of confidence up too, on twisties. It's easy to drive fast in a straight line, it's the curves where it matters, especially exiting them.
 

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Unlike having a general discussion about safety, I’m trying to collect advanced driving techniques that apply to SLK55s and put them into a short manual. I really appreciate comments that help me recognize important issues that I failed to think about myself.

I can relate to the comments about driving in C instead of S when a road is slippery. I recently noticed that I have less traction when making a sharp turn if the road cold or my tires are cold. When you have less than normal traction, having your 55 in C instead of S seems to reduce oversteer skids

It takes a while for your tires to spin off dirt or sand after you exit a dirt road and enter a paved highway. If I’m on a dirt road and I need to stop for a stop sign before I enter the paved road, I make certain I’m in C and I switch ECO off. It might be my imagination, but when I don’t switch ECO off, I sometimes feel a slight hesitation and a small loss of traction before the car moves forward.

The most dangerous thing I’ve noticed about driving on grass is that your tires can scrape up dirt if you slide sideways and the dirt that builds up next to your tires can flip your car over. A similar thing might happen if you lose control of a four-wheel drift and run off the road. Most of the people I’ve talked to had no idea their car was going to flip over until it suddenly happened.

What you describe (cold tires, dirt road and driving on grass) is valid for all cars, as far as I know. 4WD a bit less.... I am a bit confused of what you want/need to know about a 55 AMG.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
What you describe (cold tires, dirt road and driving on grass) is valid for all cars, as far as I know. 4WD a bit less.... I am a bit confused of what you want/need to know about a 55 AMG.
Good question!

It’s true that most cars can go into an oversteer skid, run off the edge of the road, hit grass, and flip over, but this usually happens on a slippery road or when the driver is either drunk, being chased by a police car, or both. What makes this an SLK55 issue is that the average person driving an average car is not likely to have an oversteer skid that is caused by too much acceleration (power oversteer). On the other hand, almost everyone who drives an SLK55 knows exactly what it feels like to have an oversteer skid caused by too much acceleration and consequently needs to know more about preventing and controlling oversteer skids than the average driver.
 

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When I opened this thread, I was hoping that some of you would provide me with information about driving an SLK55 that would make me a better driver, and I was not disappointed. Not only did my ability to handle my SLK55 improve, but you also gave me some ideas about what I would like to cover in a driving manual that applied to four-wheel vehicles instead of motorcycles.

I just completed a 50-page driving manual that applies to four-wheel vehicles and you can download a free PDF version on the manual on a thread titled driving manual, which is listed as an off topic. I am making this free version of the driving manual available to all of the people who use this outstanding forum as my way of saying thank you. I have some pictures of my SLK55 on the front and back cover.

Here is the link to the manual
https://www.slkworld.com/off-topic/549074-driving-manual.html#post4581358
 

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Discussion Starter #12
As you already know, I’ve been working on a driving manual for the past two years that contains information people who drive an SLK55 might find useful, and you also know that most of the people who drive SLK55 are safe drivers. On the other hand, it’s easy to accidently push an SLK55 to the limit on a curve and making this kind of mistake can result in an understeer skid or oversteer skid that leads to a spin or a rollover. If you are driving an SLK55 and you are not familiar with terms such as delayed apex, lateral force, load transfer, and lift-off skid, you might find some of the information in the 50-page driving manual I recently completed interesting and useful. As stated on the front cover below a picture of my SLK55, this manual was written for experienced drivers.
 

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A section on mods for performance and how effective they are would be a help. Does limited slip, spring tower bars make for a safer ride? Are they worth the money? Best tires for various driving conditions?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
As a rule, safe driving depends more on the driver than on the vehicle you are driving. A vehicle with ABS brakes has the potential to be safer than a vehicle with standard brakes, but not for the reasons most people believe.

ABS brakes do not always shorten your braking distance because a racecar driver who has mastered threshold braking can stop faster with standard brakes than with ABS brakes. On the other hand, ABS brakes can prevent your front wheels from locking, which reduces your risk of having a front wheel skid—and to a limited extent—you can brake and turn at the same time. If you were making an emergency stop and you had standard brakes, you would need to release the brakes before you could turn.

Whether safety features, such as ABS brakes, make you safer depends on how you use them. If you pump ABS brakes the way you would standard brakes, if you release ABS brakes when your car starts to vibrate, pulsate, or shake, and if you never take advantage being able to brake and turn at the same time, having ABS brakes might not make you much safer.

I have a P30 performance package on my SLK55, and you can find a lot of information about the P30 package on this forum. The P30 package might improve my traction when driving on a dirt road, but I don’t believe that people who own an SLK55 without a P30 package are more likely to have an accident than people who own an SLK55 that has a P30 package.

As for tires, I don’t believe you can ever go wrong buying the best tires for your car that you can afford. Good tires that are properly maintained can improve traction and reduce the risk of having your car hydroplane.
 
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