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|Spied: Mercedes-Benz Gull-Wing Super Car|
|Written by Rich Truesdell|
|Saturday, 23 August 2008 09:13|
In addition to the 2010 Volkswagen Golf GTI that we caught yesterday in the California Desert, on our way home our path crossed with the oft-reported, next-gen Mercedes-Benz gull wing super car. We're happy to share this series of high-resolution photos with you. While this test mule is under some unique, hard-sided camouflage, it was obvious what we were looking at: the successor to the current Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR. But this one will be an in-house affair with AMG being the main development partner. Even with the ugly camouflage, this is one car that looks like it's going 200 MPH standing still.
Cloaked with some of the most unusual cladding ever seen on a prototype (it looks like they sliced and diced an early Viper to cloak the car) the upcoming Mercedes-Benz SLR replacement--dubbed by some observers, including our own Brenda Priddy via leftlanenews.com, as the SLS--broke cover in California last week. With the Mercedes-Benz engineers making little real effort to conceal the car to our prying lenses, it's almost as if they wanted us to photograph their next-generation super car, expected to directly compete with Audi's R8's, albeit at a substantially higher price. After all, it's a Mercedes-Benz.
What we found most interesting is the length the engineers went to conceal the way the rear window melds into the roof at the point where it meets the gull-wing doors. Although we got close to the car (actually we did a drive-by getting tracking shots) we were able to zoom-in on the greenhouse to give you a good look. Try to imagine the car with all the cladding removed. We believe it will be a stunner; a logical evolution from the outgoing SLR.
Under the hood we expect the 6.3-liter AMG V8, with a current output in excess of 570-horsepower, mated to an 8-speed transsaxle. By the time the car appears in 2011, the team in Stuttgart will most likely raise the final output to the magic 600-horsepower mark. With the engine set back behind the centerline of the front axle, you can call the SLS front mid-engined with a 48/52 weight distribution, like the outgoing SLR.
The ultra-stiff aluminum and carbon fiber space frame is expected to contribute to a curb weight of under 1,700kg. Looking at the photos and based on other reports--some that indicate they were leaked by Mercedes-Benz--look for a length of about 4,650mm, a width of 1,950mm, and 1,250mm height, making it a bit bigger than the outgoing SLR.
Adding up all the numbers, look for the benchmark 0-60 sprint under 3.7 seconds with a top speed of 201 MPH, the same ball park as the 2009 Corvette Z06, another logical competitor. Of course, as seen in earlier spy shots, the car's most distinctive feature will be gull-wing doors, paying homage to the legendary 300SL. The SLS is expected to make its debut at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show, with sales set to start in March 2010 giving current SL63 AMG and SL65 AMG owners a logical upgrade path to more exclusivity. A convertible version of the SLS will follow the coupé about 12 months later.
For more views of the upcoming Mercedes-Benz super car, visit the Automotive Traveler Mercedes-Benz Super Car Gallery.