Mercedes has officially unveiled the 2012 SLK55 AMG, ahead of its debut at Frankfurt Motor Show.

Looking decidedly aggressive, the model is distinguished by a new front fascia, aerodynamic side skirts and LED daytime running lights. Out back, there's a rear diffuser, a trunk-mounted spoiler and a four-tailpipe exhaust system.

Interior changes are minor, but the cabin is outfitted with AMG sports seats (with AIRSCARF), a revised instrument cluster and brushed aluminum trim.

Power comes from a new, naturally-aspirated 5.5-liter V8 engine with 422 PS (310 kW / 416 hp) and 540 Nm (398 lb-ft) of torque. It is connected to an AMG SpeedShift Plus 7G-TRONIC transmission which enables the roadster to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds, before hitting a limited top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h). Additionally, thanks to an engine start/stop system and AMG Cylinder Management, the SLK has an average fuel consumption of 8.5 L/100 km (27.6 mpg US / 33.2 mpg UK).

On the handling front, the model has high-performance brakes (which measure 14.2 inches front / 13 inches rear) and a sport-tuned suspension with Torque Vectoring and AMG Direct-Steer. The former system applies the brakes to improve cornering, while the latter system promises "outstanding road feel and sharp handling in all driving situations." If that isn't impressive enough, an optional AMG Handling Package adds stiffer suspension tuning, a locking rear differential and a three-spoke steering wheel with Alcantara inserts.

There's no word on pricing, but the 2012 Mercedes SLK55 AMG will be launched in the United States early next year.

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