All-new in 2004, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren remains unchanged for 2005.

The SLR McLaren is a collaboration between Mercedes-Benz and its Formula 1 racing partner McLaren. It uses a 617 hp V8 that propels it from zero to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds, with a top speed of 330 km/h. Bringing it down from that height is a set of ceramic brake discs with eight-piston callipers in front. At speeds over 100 km/h, an adaptive rear spoiler in the trunk lid pops up at a 65-degree angle to provide greater down force. The engine is mounted in a front mid-engine position, behind the front wheels; the body is made of carbon-fibre composite.

Among the SLR McLaren’s features are a five-speed automatic transmission with SpeedShift and wheel-mounted shift buttons, twin interconnected fuel tanks, staggered-width 19-inch turbine-style alloy wheels, tire pressure monitoring system, electronic braking system, self-drying brakes, dual automatic climate control, Bose sound system, leather interior, one-piece carbon-fibre seats, multi-function steering wheel, and aluminum pedals with rubber studs.

Exclusive and expensive, the SLR McLaren is incredibly powerful and very luxurious, but very noisy, with a firm ride. Only about 3,500 will be produced; it’s so elite that a single worker builds the engine, from the crankshaft to the wiring harness. The SLR borrows heavily from the legendary 300SLR roadster, with gullwing doors, although they swing up and forward from the A pillar, rather than hinged directly into the roof as they were in the 1950s. The aggressive styling is controversial, but then, considering the price, they really only have to make a few people happy with it.

The SLR McLaren is assembled in Woking, England.

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