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Author Topic: SLK55 AMG Roadster Exhaust Review and DIY Headers
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Post SLK55 AMG Roadster Exhaust Review and DIY Headers
on: March 3, 2012, 09:25
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<p style="text-align: center;"><strong>SLK55 Exhaust System Review, Headers, and Xpipe</strong></p>
<strong>Background information:</strong>
The Mercedes-Benz SLK55 R171 AMG is a hot rod, plain and simple. A monstrous 5.5 L AMG V8 engine (well 5.439 liters) thrown into a car with a wheelbase just 5 inches longer than that of a Mazda Miata’s, coupled to a fast shifting 7G automatic transmission.

The SLK55 might have slower response steering as compared to rivals from Audi and BMW, especially with so much torque on top. You gun the SLK55, by the time you are ready to steer the car to change lanes, you're already super close to the car you/re trying to pass, but the steering isn't instantaneous. That slight delay in the steering forces you to adjust your throttle, and reconsider flooring the car in the future.

If you've driven the SLK55, R171, you already know that car has more than enough power on tap for a quick take off quickly at any speed. , But enough is ok, more than enough is even better.

While the new third generation SLK55 AMG R172 uses the same formula as the R171, with a slightly larger displacement of 5.46 liters, direct injection, and an improved 7 speed automatic transmission. The same basic principles below for modifying the exhaust system will work on the 2012 R172 SLK55 AMG with similar, once available exhaust components. The R172 is loud sounds good stock. I had a chance to drive a red R172 SLK55 AMG last weekend, the exhaust note is intense at higher RPM's. The sound is controlled via exhaust flaps that open up with increased engine revs (a basic example would be a VW R32 or Audi TT-RS). The overall WOT sound resembles that of the C63 AMG.
<p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter" src="http://www.carexhaustreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/SLK55-PV00025.jpg" alt="SLK55 R171 Headers Xpipe" width="480" height="360" /></p>
<strong>Car Maker:</strong> Mercedes-Benz
<strong>Year:</strong> 2005-2011 & 2012-up
<strong>Model:</strong> SLK55 AMG (R171)
<strong>Engine:</strong> 5.4 L V8
<strong>Transmission:</strong> 7 Speed Automatic
<strong>Body Style:</strong> Hardtop Roadster
<strong>Trim:</strong> AMG
<strong>Exhaust Modification Type:</strong> Headers, Xpipe
<strong>Purchased/Made:</strong> Purchased, Frabricated
<strong>Exhaust Brand:</strong> RennTech, Magnaflow

<strong>Decision to Purchase:</strong>
Wanting to increase the power output of the power plant, while maintaining, a loud, yet healthy, drone free exhaust note was the main goal. Without breaking an arm and a leg trying to pay for it all. With this in mind, my research narrowed it down to the bare essentials. A set of headers to replace the stock SLK55 AMG headers, coupled with an x-pipe, to take place of the resonator.

Several manufacturers offer a direct bolt-on full replacement exhaust systems, from the headers to tips. That would throw you back a few grand, but the quality and fitment would be ideal in keeping the stock SLK55 exhaust system intact. Without having to chop it up into pieces in order to put together a decent exhaust system.

Here is a list of the top direct bolt-on SLK55 AMG R171 exhaust components that are available on the market today:
<ul>
<li><strong>Supersprint SLK55 R171 AMG:</strong> Full exhaust system: Long tube headers (around $4,900), downpipes with high flow cats ($2,200 each, 2 required), x-pipe (around $730) or a resonator (around $970), and mufflers with dual over tips (around $1,400 each, 2 required).</li>
<li><strong>Kleemann SLK55 R171 AMG:</strong> Long tube headers (around $1,800). The best deal around for long tube headers for the SLK55.</li>
<li><strong>RennTech SLK55 R171 AMG:</strong> Headers, offer direct bolt on onto the engine and the stock SLK55 downpipes (around $4,500).</li>
<li><strong>Brabus SLK55 R171 AMG:</strong> Cat back, sport exhaust (around $2,600). Requires rear bumper modification.</li>
<li><strong>Quicksilver SLK55 R171 AMG:</strong> Cat back sports exhaust (around $3,000). Features Quicksilver quad exhaust tips, a muffler delete (straight pipes), resonator or an x-pipe.</li>
<li><strong>AMS SLK55 R171 AMG:</strong> Short tube headers, the least horsepower increase out of all of the headers listed here because they are short tubes, not the long free-flowing tubular design that the other headers have. (AMS has been acquired by German Power Tuning in the beginning of 2012)</li>
<li><strong>Kreissieg SLK55 R171 AMG:</strong> Cat back exhaust, 4x80mm valvetronic (around $5000). Features the only system for the SLK55 with adjustable valves for either stock, loud, or high pitch F1 style sound.</li>
</ul>
<strong>Purchase and Delivery:</strong>
Out of that list, I picked the RennTech headers, and an aftermarket xpipe with a 2.25" O.D's from Magnaflow (Part Number 10791). This xpipe is used mostly on Ford Mustang GT's, and other great sounding modern V8 muscle cars. Just imagine how good the SLK55 would sound.

At this point you’re probably wondering why I didn’t just go with the Supersprint headers and x-pipe, or even with Kleemann long tube headers, which are the best value for what you get. Simply because a friend of mine wanted to get rid of his brand spanking new RennTech headers for around $2000. It’s hard to pass up that deal and help out a friend while you’re at it.

As previously mentioned, if it wasn't for the deal on the RennTech headers as well as not wanting to spend additional  funds at the time, my top choice would've been a full Supersprint exhaust because it's a full system. But obviously, you could achieve similar results by doing individual mods the way I did, or even going further by picking up some high flow cats.

<strong>Installation:</strong>
I've previously removed the driver-side stock exhaust manifold to repair a minor crack . I've written a detailed DIY (Do It Yourself) guide for removing the stock SLK55 exhaust manifold, and installing new exhaust headers or stock exhaust manifolds. The DIY made it possible for me to remove the stock headers, the install new RennTech long tube headers.

A week later, I took the SLK55 with the freshly installed RennTech headers into a local muffler shop that works mostly on race cars. Had them remove the stock resonator, massage out the pipes, and install a Magnaflow x-pipe (Part Number 10791) in place. The whole process for installing the x-pipe took around 2 hours, costing me $150, and the exhaust looked as good as stock underneath.

Here is the DIY walk through for installing headers on the SLK55 AMG R171: (Coming Soon)

<strong>Driving  Impressions:</strong>
If you're reading this article, and you've made it this far, most likely you own an SLK55 and know exactly how it sounds on a cold startup. The cold start sound with the stock exhaust is pretty loud, strong, and deep, which is awesome for a stock car.
<p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter" title="SLK55 Exhaust System Review" src="http://www.carexhaustreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/SLK55-PV00027.jpg" alt="SLK55 Exhaust System Review" width="480" height="360" /></p>
The cold start with the RennTech long tube headers and the Magnaflow x-pipe is three times as throaty, twice as loud, and 5 times deeper sounding than the stock exhaust. It's this raw unfiltered exhaust sound that makes you want to get in the SLK55  and take off with WOT.

Speaking about WOT, the SLK55 screams with the new headers and xpipe. Just picture driving next to another car with its windows down at 40mph, dropping the SLK55 into 2nd gear, and flooring it for a few seconds. Then watch in your side mirror the look on the face of the person driving that car you just flew by. I guarantee you that they'll jaw would drop! Make sure that there aren’t any small kids in the car, you might scare them. Yes, it’s that loud at WOT in real life.

The SLK55 is a quick car by any means. I’ve done a few races here and there against some pretty quick cars that the SLK55 destroyed in stock form. Just imagine what these bolt on and/or welded on exhaust components could do. The stock SLK55 with brand new sticky tires used to launch with minimal tire spin on sticky surfaces, unless your tires are a few months old, then grip becomes an issue.

After the installation of the headers and xpipe, low-end torque has increased dramatically, to the point where the tire spin increased dramatically at launch with brand new stickier road tires. Regardless of the added wheel spin, the car launched noticeably quicker with this mod as compared with the stock exhaust. To sum up the launch feel, it’s like sitting down in the SLK and reeling in the cars that are in front of you.

High end torque also increased, which became evident at higher speeds. The car seemed more limitless towards the top end. The added power comes in handy when unsuspecting high-powered cars try messing around with you at higher speeds.

I would’ve loved to dyno the car before and after the mod, but I never had a chance to do it. Regardless of the brand you choose for the headers and xpipe. The formula works. Long tube headers, high flow primary cats with secondary cat delete, xpipe, stock or sport mufflers should yield an amazing bump in the performance and sound of the R171 and R172 SLK55 AMG.

<strong>Additional Information:</strong>
Here are some online resources for SLK55 exhaust systems that are available on the market.
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