Mercedes reveals plan for electric gullwing; 'normal' V8 version still on the way
V8 version is real. Electric SLS is just a concept
With Mercedes set to officially unveil its spiritual successor to the classic 1950s gullwing 300SL - the Mercedes SLS AMG - at the Frankfurt motor show this September, the boys and girls from Stuttgart are working hard to keep interest bubbling in the new car.
Last week the company revealed that the new gullwing supercar should cost around £155k when it goes on sale next year. That's expensive for a Mercedes, but the SLS's closest conceptual rival is the near-£200k Ferrari 599, so perhaps it's not so steep.
Now, Mercedes has revealed an electric version of the SLS AMG. Power comes from four electric motors sited near each wheel, but not in the hub (as that would dramatically increase unsprung weight). The electric SLS gets two transmissions - on each axle - to create a four-wheel drivetrain that can direct acceleration to individual wheels as required.
The Gullwing returns after half a century
The combined peak output of the four motors gives the electric SLS 392kW (526bhp) and 880NM of torque (a surprisingly modest 650lb ft), which is enough, says AMG, to hit 62mph from standstill in around 4.0sec. The energy for the motors comes from a 48kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which is part-charged by energy recuperated from the car's braking.
"With the SLS AMG with electric drive, we wanted to redefine the super sports car. For us, it is not just about responsibility," says Volker Mornhinweg, AMG's CEO. "We attach just as much importance to excitement and classic AMG performance."
Fear not, though. Even while Merc is busy joining the electric Ruf 911 and Mini E in jumping on the electric sports car bandwagon started by Tesla, it hasn't forgotten the humble petrolhead - the 'normal' SLS is still going ahead.
The regular SLS AMG is powered by the usual 6208cc AMG V8, in this guise developing 563bhp. Mercedes reckons that means it's good for 0-62mph in 3.8sec and 196mph flat out.