Head over Wheels

Returning to its roots

I thought it was coincidence that so soon after McLaren announced its new supercar, the MP4-12C, Mercedes-Benz came out with news about its own forthcoming supercar, the SLS AMG. It's interesting because Mercedes-Benz and McLaren collaborated on the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren supercar, and now they're announcing their own supercars mere days from each other. Hmm. No matter, from a car nut perspective, the more the merrier. And I wasn't a big fan of the SLR anyway. It somehow felt as if McLaren wanted one direction and Mercedes wanted another--and they decided to meet halfway. The SLS AMG on the other hand, looks pure Mercedes. And how could it not? Its looks derive heavily from the most popular sports car Mercedes ever made, the 300 SL "Gullwing." Aluminum space frame body with gullwing doors, check. AMG 6.3-liter V8 with 571hp and 650Nm of torque, check. Seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, check. Aluminum double-wishbone suspension, check. And a low weight of 1,620 kilograms, check. Optional ceramic-composite brakes, check. Add in ideal weight distribution (47 percent front and 53 percent rear) and its low center of gravity and it seems Mercedes has included all the right ingredients even without McLaren's help. Acceleration to 100kph is expected to arrive in 3.8 seconds, all the way to a top speed of 317kph. They certainly nailed the design. It looks retro but not dated. I can't help notice some Japanese influences though in the Nissan GT-R headlamps and the Honda S2000ish rear profile. But that's more of an observation than a complaint; the SLS AMG looks sleek, powerful and definitely more desirable than the SLR it replaces. [gallery columns="4"]
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