610 HP Carlsson Mercedes-Benz SLK 340 Is the Best Sounding Car Dare We Say Ever

Everybody loves a nice-sounding racing car, and it doesn't matter if you're a BMW or a Tesla fanboy, there's no way you won't fall in love with the sheer brutality of this naturally aspirated 3.4-liter V8 engine found in the Carlsson Mercedes-Benz SLK 340.
Carlsson SLK 340 Judd 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube
The car has a three-year-old history, being first introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in 2013. Looking like a Mercedes-Benz SLK that was dropped from a great height, it seemed to hug the asphalt like its life depended on that even while it was staying still on the stand. This was clearly a precision tool developed to take part in hillclimb races, the most famous of them being the Pikes Peak in Colorado.

The sporty, aggressive look of the vehicle was the consequence of its extreme abilities: Carlsson put the SLK on a diet, and the Mercedes proved to be an obedient client as the SLK 340 ended up weighing just 780 kilograms (1,720 pounds). Achieving this wasn't easy, involving a completely new carbon fiber body as well as lightweight braking and suspension systems for lowering the unsprung weight.

In the end, though, Carlsson came up with the perfect car to match the performances of the atmospheric V8 engine. Known for their lack of low-rev grunt, excessive weight is the number one enemy of naturally aspirated engines, so the drastic weight saving was an absolute necessity. On the other hand, no turbo power unit would have sounded as brutal, as raw or as metallic as this Judd 3.4-liter V8 developing 610 hp and 430 Nm (317 lb-ft).

If you close your eyes, there are times when this SLK 340 sounds just like the Formula One cars of old. That's not so far-fetched as it may seem since Judd did actually build engines for that competition during the late '80s and throughout the '90s. If the exhaust cackle isn't exactly specific to the sport, close your eyes during an acceleration spell, and you could be picturing Ayrton Senna giving it everything at Monza without putting too much strain on your imagination.

Turn up the volume and hit that play button. You know, as much as we love electric cars, it's hard to argue a good old gasoline engine when you hear something like this. They may be old, dirty and obsolete, but they're also so god damn beautiful.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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