Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren

It seems like the new Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren has been on the verge of being launched for a long time now. Today Mercedes issued a new set of pictures and information and it's now safe to assume that the supercar has finally arrived.

The two-seater, with its striking "swing-wing" doors and styling elements borrowed from the Formula 1 Silver Arrows, attempts to build on the legacy of the famous SLR race cars of the 1950s. Equipped with cutting-edge race car technology and ground-breaking new Mercedes developments is sure to create a stir wherever it goes. The prolonged bonnet will capture attention if nothing else!

The newly developed V8 supercharged engine delivers a handy 626bhp which can launch the SLR to 60mph in just 3.8 seconds. The top speed is approximately 207mph!

The body is made from carbon fibre composites giving it the capacity for immense energy absorption - handy if you bin it.


The SLR is the world's first series-produced car to have a front crash structure manufactured entirely from carbon fibre. Adaptive airbags, newly developed 'kneebags' and sidebags, belt tensioners, high-performance ceramic brake discs and an automatically adaptive airbrake in the boot lid round off the range of safety equipment on board.

Mercedes-Benz has introduced new material technology to the manufacture of the brake discs too. They are made from fibre-reinforced ceramic and giving high fade-resistance and a very long life. Not only that but they will stop the car rather quickly too.

That Bonnet

Whilst it may seem a little out of proportion, the reasoning behind the lengthy engine bay is to ensure that the engine sits behind the front wheels - a set up MB call a "front mid-engined design".

The dry sumped 5.5-litre motor is supercharged to give the 600+ brake and an enormous 575 lb-ft of torque – a figure which remains constant across a broad engine speed range of up to 5000 rpm. It's an attribute that helps the SLR reach 300km/h in 28.8 seconds!

The 5-speed automatic transmission, fitted as standard, is also designed for high performance. It allows the driver to choose between three programs with different shift characteristics. When "Manual" is selected, the five gears can either be shifted using buttons on the steering wheel or using the selector lever's Touchshift function. In this mode the driver can also select between three shift stages – "Sport", "SuperSport" and "Race" – significantly shortening the shift times still further for an even sportier drive.

The Body

The body design of the Gran Turismo with the Mercedes star takes classical styling elements from the legendary SLR race cars of the 1950s

In order to meet the highest of standards in terms of handling at top speed, directional stability and the cooling air requirements necessary for high-performance cars of this kind, Mercedes-Benz worked with McLaren on developing the aerodynamics. Following extensive wind-tunnel tests, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren was given a virtually smooth underbody with a special six-channel diffusor under the rear. Both features are familiar design principles from Formula 1. They ensure that the airflow beneath the vehicle is virtually unimpeded and that negative lift, or downforce, is produced at higher speeds. The distinctive sidepipes on each side of the vehicle are also the result of the aerodynamic requirements. A conventional exhaust gas system would have disrupted the smooth line of the underbody.

At the rear of the SLR an adaptive spoiler provides additional downforce. From a speed of 59mph, it automatically adopts a 10-degree position, increasing the contact pressure at the rear axle. The spoiler also doubles as an airbrake: when the driver brakes heavily, it rises to an angle of 65 degrees, not only ensuring increased aerodynamic drag but also shifting the aerodynamic centre further towards the rear.


Individually padded carbon-frame seats, a multifunction steering wheel with race-car-type buttons for manual gear selection, clearly arranged chronometer-style instruments and high-grade materials surround the driver of the SLR - making sure that they feel they've spent their money well!

Comments (19) Join the discussion on the forum

  • t1grm 21 Nov 2003

    Very nice. So how much, how many are they planning to make and when?

    I think McLaren's road car efforts will always be eclipsed by the F1 although admittedly this car is trying to fulfill a totally different role.

  • Klassiekerrally 21 Nov 2003

    How many people really think this car is beautiful? (It's NOT!)

  • Rozza!!! 21 Nov 2003

    Its utterly ugly!!!

  • jumjum 21 Nov 2003

    I think it looks pretty good.

    It's also hard as nails, look at this crash, vw trashed SLR hardly marked

    Nice in black

  • smele 21 Nov 2003

    That's because it's so ugly you couldn't tell if it had been in a crash or not.

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