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Merc's SLS stunner - official pics

2009-09-10 06:37
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Mercedes-Benz
Engine 6.2L V8
Power 420kW
Torque 650Nm
Transmission Seven-speed DCT
Zero To Hundred 3.8 seconds
Top Speed 318km/h
Weight 1 587kg
Tyres F: 265/35ZR19, R: 295/30ZR20
Front Suspension Double-wishbone
Rear Suspension Double-wishbone
Next Tuesday, at the Frankfurt international auto show, you’ll be able to walk up to the new Mercedes-Benz SLS and take a neat little cellphone camera image of it.

Until then, to whet your appetite, some media pack images have been leaked out beforehand.

If you believe they leaked out accidently, you probably believe Mercedes-Benz is about to start equipping its V8 powered cars with manual-shift gearboxes too. Furtively disseminated is the term for what Merc's AMG division has done with regards to the SLS media images.

Classic shape, contemporary details

These undisguised images showcase the SLS AMG’s retro-inspired shape, silhouetting the legendary Gullwing 300SL of the 1950s.

Although the rear styling is a trifle anonymous (too smooth in terms of surfacing and lacking visual tension), the elongated bonnet echoes classic front-engined, rear-wheel drive configuration proportions. 

The modern Gullwing car's libearlly cut-out aft front wheelarch airducts and 300SL heritage nose styling blend superbly though.

Much as the original 300SL featured tubular construction (absolutely cutting edge stuff in the 1950s), the new SLS is underpinned by an advanced aluminium spaceframe.

AMG V8 mounted so far behind the front axle you wonder how they managed to fit a climate control system and infotainment unit in the centre console.

Supertuned V8

Powering AMG’s new headline supercar is a V8 engine similar in capacity to the company’s venerable 6.2l, yet decidedly over engineered.

Producing 420kW and 650Nm, this SLS-spec V8 benefits from a new magnesium intake, featuring eight individual velocity stacks, fed by two electronically controlled throttle plates.

Dry-sump lubrication has enabled AMG engineers to place the engine as low as possible in the SLS chassis, behind the front axle centre point for optimal weight distribution.

Transferring drive to the wheels is a seven-speed rear transaxle mounted, automated manual transmission featuring dual clutch functionality.

Receiving drive from a lightweight carbon-fibre composite driveshaft, it’s a world away from the standard SL63 AMG…

Performance claims are in line with the outgoing McLaren SLR car, with the SLS sprinting from 0-100km/h in 3.8 seconds, and topping out around 318km/h.

Deceleration is managed via ceramic brakes, comprising 390mm discs on the front axle (actuated by six-piston calipers) and 360mm discs aft clamped by four-piston calipers.

Driven with principled restraint, Merc estimates you’ll return 13.2l/100km in consumption.

One of the most esteemed profiles in all of motoring history - Gullwing doors deployed, the new SLS AMG is true to Mercedes-Benz's performance car heritage.

Light, focused

Affalterbach has been keen to keep the SLS rolling mass as low as possible from the outset, providing as engaging a driving experience as possible.

The design team has apparently achieved a target weight 169kg lighter than the SLR, distributing 1 587kg in a 47/53 rear biased weight balance.

Suspending the wheels at each wheel corner are aluminium double-wishbones held in place by track rods.

To ensuring optimal grip during high-speed cornering, Michelin was tasked to develop unique Pilot Super Sport tyres specifically for the SLS. The bespoke rubber measures 265/35ZR19 up front and 295/30ZR20 at the rear.

Apart from the impeccable engineering, aesthetic detailing is well catered for too.

Nine exclusive paint shades will be available, including two matte finishes. LED head and tail lamps will help make sure the SLS AMG is visible at all times.

Vents are classically themed Merc. Plenty of cabin trim colours to choose from, including alarming Red - which should appease 300SL Gullwing traditionalists.

Aeronautical themed interior

Inside, the AMG SLS cabin is aircraft-themed in terms of architecture, with liberal applications of Nappa leather, bare metal trim and optional carbon-fibre to differentiate it from lesser AMGs.

Those Gullwing doors, perhaps the original 300SL’s most distinguishing feature (besides fuel-injection), open to a vertical angle of 70 degrees to allow for dramatic access to the interior.

Standard features include COMAND APS, leather trim (obviously), Merc’s tab-operated electronic parking brake, headlamp assist, keyless ignition (you’d expect that), PARKTRONIC (handy for when the kids want to take your SLS to the mall), rain sensors and heated seats.

AMG floor mats, cruise control, sports pedals and THERMOTRONIC climate control are also part of the standard kit suite.

Optional goodies include a six-disc DVD charger (criminally not standard), Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG sound system (obligatory?) and several AMG paint schemes include the special Alubeam Silver.

AMG is also offering several performance modifications including a carbon-fibre bonnet (nice), carbon side mirrors (pointless), forged 10-spoke wheels, proper bucket seats and a performance steering wheel finished in leather and Alcantara.

Mercedes-Benz says the SLS AMG will retail from €177 310 in Europe when it goes on sale early in the second quarter of 2010.

We can't help but wonder - will anybody even miss the SLR?


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