Tuesday, September 29, 2009

2010 Mercedes Benz SLS

Designed to evoke memories of the iconic 300SL Gullwing from the fifties, the Mercedes SLS AMG also fills a gap in Merc's range left by the outgoing McLaren SLR. And judging by these detailed photos its styling promises to be every bit as dramatic as its forebearers.

Gullwing-style doors, hinged at the roof, will no doubt be the big talking point, but what's under the skin is just as impressive. Packing a 555bhp AMG 6.3-litre dry-sumped V8 with 650Nm of torque, it's capable of covering the 0-60mph sprint in 3.7 seconds and continuing on to a top speed of 197mph. Fortunately carbon-ceramaic brake discs will be offered as an option to scrub off the speed with ease.

An aluminium space-frame body helps to keep weight down to a manageable 1.620kg. Combine this with the latest seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and a near-perfect 47:53 front-rear weight distribution and the front-engined Merc should be as good to drive as it's on-paper figures suggest.

It's not just the Gullwing doors that link this car to it's predecessor from the Fifties, either. The elongated bonnet, extra-wide grille and oversize three-point star are all reminiscent of the legendary 300SL. But modern touches like the extendable rear spoiler (which deploys above 75mph for added downforce), LED running lights and unique alloys (20-inch at the rear, 19-inch at the front) ensure a classic design is brought bang up to date.

Climb inside the compact passenger compartment and you're greeted by jet-engine inspired air vents. The silver instrument cluster features an F1-style LED shift lights and the speedometer runs all the way to 225mph, while taking pride of place on the centre console is the seven-inch multi-media screen. Finest-quality materials are used throughout the cabin, and nowhere is this more perfectly demonstrated than with the magnesium-backed sports seats - a metal that's particularly strong and light.

The SLS can be yours for around $260,000 - Less than half of the price of the McLaren. More pics inside.


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