June 4, 2003

Mercedes-Benz offers sneak peek of new SLR McLaren

Montvale, New Jersey – Mercedes-Benz released glimpses of its new SLR McLaren yesterday. The car is set to debut at the Frankfurt auto show this Fall. The SLR is a futuristic interpretation of styling elements from the original 1955 300SLR and the latest Formula 1 Silver Arrow race cars, says the company.

Mercedes-Benz SLR

Mercedes-Benz SLR
Click image to enlarge

The limited-production SLR will go on sale in Europe late this year, and its North American market launch is planned in mid-2004. While pricing will be announced later, it’s expected to be in the mid U.S.$300,000 range.

The new SLR allowed Mercedes-Benz and its Formula 1 partner McLaren to showcase their collective experience in the development and production of high-performance sports cars. One example of technology transfer from Formula 1 racing is the carbon fibre composite construction of the new SLR McLaren monocoque and body panels, which provides rigidity and strength never before achieved in road-going vehicles, with reduced weight to help ensure the SLR’s targeted performance characteristics.

Also impressive is its high level of occupant protection — specially designed crash structures of carbon fibre help this innovative car to set new standards in energy absorption.

Brake discs on the SLR are made of a new composite material — a fibre-reinforced ceramic that boasts extremely high heat resistance, outstanding structural strength, reduced unsprung weight and long service life. The high-performance SLR sports car will be one of very few production cars to make use of ceramic brake technology.

Under the SLR hood in a front mid-engine location lurks a supercharged V8 engine with dry-sump lubrication developed and built by Mercedes-AMG. Delivering unprecedented levels of horsepower and torque, each SLR engine is hand-built at AMG’s manufacturing facility.

The first SLR was one of the most successful sports racing cars of all times, achieving a string of five 1st and 2nd place finishes in 1955 with drivers such as Stirling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio. Like the new car, the SLR of the 1950s combined leading-edge technology from the 300SL sports car and the Mercedes-Benz Formula 1 race car. Its three-litre, straight-eight engine made 310 horsepower, pushing the SLR to speeds of around 190 miles per hour.

Perhaps the original SLR’s most astonishing feat was in the 1955 Mille Miglia, at the time a no-holds-barred race through Italy over twisty public roads. Setting a record never to be matched, Stirling Moss and navigator/journalist Dennis Jenkinson piloted the 300SLR over the 1000-mile road course in 10 hours, seven minutes and 48 seconds — an average speed of about 100 miles per hour!

Connect with Autos.ca