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The new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, which is about to celebrate its world premiere on 15 September 2009 at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt/Main, embodies a blend of consummate automotive fascination and high tech. The super sports car delivers a compelling mix of purist styling, consistent lightweight design and superior driving dynamics. At the same time, the SLS fully lives up to all the expectations of hallmark Mercedes everyday practicality and optimum safety. In essence, the new ‘Gullwing’ offers the ideal synthesis of the strengths of Mercedes-Benz and AMG.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Video – presented by AutoBild.de

The new super sports car from Mercedes-Benz and AMG makes for an alluring proposition with its unrivalled technology package: aluminium spaceframe body with gullwing doors, AMG 6.3-litre V8 front-mid engine developing 420 kW/ 571 hp peak output, 650 Nm of torque and dry sump lubrication, seven-speed dual-clutch transmission in a transaxle configuration, sports suspension with aluminium double wishbones and a kerb weight of 1620 kilograms based on the DINstandard – this superlative combination guarantees driving dynamics of the highest order. The ideal front/rear weight distribution of 47 to 53 percent and the vehicle’s low centre of gravity are testimony to the uncompromising sports car concept. The ‘Gullwing’ accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds, before going on to a top speed of 317 km/h (electronically limited). The fuel consumption of 13.2 litres per 100 kilometres (combined) puts it at the front of the competitive field (all figures provisional).

Design: purist, distinctive and passionate
The distinctive styling of the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG enthrals with its passionate sportiness and reinterprets the breathtaking lines of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL – one of the outstanding design icons of the Mercedes-Benz brand. With its purist design the new SLS AMG reflects the philosophy of contemporary sports car engineering: the bonnet which measures just under two metres, the low greenhouse positioned well to the rear and the short rear-end with an extendable aerofoil are just as powerful a reminder of the superlative dynamism as the long wheelbase, the wide track and the large wheels. The short overhangs feed through into the proportions, just as does the design of the super sports car with its low-slung front-mid engine set well back and dual-clutch transmission in transaxle configuration. An undoubted styling highlight comes courtesy of the gullwing doors which lend the SLS AMG its incomparable charisma – making a unique statement in this vehicle segment.

The gullwing doors are not alone in rekindling memories of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL; the hallmark wide radiator grille with the large Mercedes star and the wing-shaped cross fins are a throwback to the front-end of the sports car legend. The three-dimensional, sculptured front-end with its low-set, swept-back front apron set well into the sides lends the ‘Gullwing’ its powerful stance on the road. Six large cooling air intakes and the vertically arranged headlamps set well to the outside with their alluring inner ambience provide a dominant aura: the central bi-xenon low-beam headlamp with its metallic wing section is framed at the top by two LED indicators and the LED daytime driving lights at the bottom.

Influences from aircraft construction
Allusions to aircraft construction come courtesy of the prominent Mercedes star, whose tubular section is reminiscent of the air intake on a jet engine when viewed from the side, as well as the long bonnet: as the eye is drawn forward, so the observer becomes more aware of the curve. The design of the four fins with their Silver Shadow finish that adorn the two air outlet grilles on the end of the bonnet create the same visual impression. These aircraft-style lines also visually accelerate the air that flows past – and make the SLS AMG appear extremely dynamic even while stationary.

The fins on the bonnet are taken up on the vehicle flanks: the connoisseur also discovers here a hallmark styling feature of the 300 SL. The “6.3” lettering placed between the fins provides a clear reference to the high-displacement naturally aspirated V8 engine. The side air outlet feeds through into a stylistically prominent feature line, which together with the convex flanks and the exhilarating surface treatment, combines aesthetics with power. The compact passenger compartment proves as alluring as it is unmistakable. With its high beltline, low side windows and steeply angled windscreen it comes across as a kind of visor. The forward angled B-pillar with its stylish flowing sweep to the rear window exudes pure dynamism.

Side view dominated by muscle and shoulder
Seen from the side, the eye is drawn to the prominent vehicle shoulder of the SLS, which stretches like a taut muscle from the front to the rear. Distinctive 19-inch (front) and 20-inch (rear) light-alloy wheels fill the wheel arches, which stand out prominently from the sidewall. Three different wheel variants all provide a glimpse of the large high-performance composite brakes. Seen from above, a prominent, uninterrupted line runs from the muscle to the rear. This styling feature is also picked up on the bonnet where the eye follows a distinctive contour which flows over the roof between the gullwing doors, right through to the third brake light.

Rear view that emphasises width
The rear view of the SLS also exudes dynamism and power: the gently sloping boot lid emphasises a sense of width, an impression reinforced by the prominent vehicle shoulder and the sleek tail lights: fitted with LED technology, the horizontally structured lighting units provide a scintillating view. Wing-shaped LED lighting elements ensure a distinctive, enthralling night design. The Formula-1-style LED fog lamp/reversing light is set down low in the centre. Similarly inspired by motor racing are the black diffuser insert and the two chromed tailpipes of the sports exhaust system. The strikingly tapered rear apron provides an unimpeded view of the wide rear wheels, lending the ‘Gullwing’ its self-assured stance on the road. The spoiler integrated in the boot lid is automatically deployed from a speed of 120 km/h to ensure optimum stability at high speeds.

New colours: “AMG ALU-BEAM silver” and two matt finishes
The colour charts for the SLS include nine exclusive paint finishes. The highlight comes in the shape of the unique “AMG ALU-BEAM silver” paintwork: the new, unique process makes the paint shine like liquid metal. The paint covers the body panels like a metallic skin, emphasises the scintillating design lines of the ‘Gullwing’ more strongly than any previous paint job and makes them even livelier by means of targeted light reflections. This effect is made possible thanks to tiny pigments measuring between 30 and 50 nanometres.

The two matt finishes “designo magno allanite grey” and “AMG magno sylvanite grey” are just as eye-catching: with their matt silk surface they reinforce the sporty character of the two-seater through specific contouring of the crease lines.

Interior with allusions to aircraft construction and motor sports practicality
You only need to open the gullwing doors on the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG and ease into the sports seats to experience a whole new level of interior. The Mercedes-Benz designers took their inspiration from aircraft construction when styling the interior – immediately bringing an aircraft cockpit to mind. The characteristic styling feature is the dashboard, whose powerful and dramatic wing shape makes for an impression of width. Strikingly integrated into the dashboard are the galvanised air vents with their adjustable, cruciform nozzles and Silver Shadow finish – their shape reminiscent of a jet’s engines. The instrument cluster with its LED upshift indicator and two white backlit dial instruments add another decidedly sporty touch with their metallic Silver Shadow finish. The silver dials have red needles and a 360 km/h speedometer scale. As a central feature of the cockpit, the COMAND APSmultimedia system with its 7-inch screen is integrated between the two centre air vents.

The elongated centre console in matt metal similarly picks up on the design theme of the aircraft cockpit. It is home to the AMGDRIVE UNIT, which is inclined towards the SLSdriver and allows them to choose their very own vehicle setup. The E-SELECT shift lever, whose styling recalls the thrust control of a jet, controls the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission. All the controls are made out of solid metal, with a high-sheen Silver Shadow surface.
The concave inner panels of the gullwing doors, the high beltline and the powerful side sill panels round off the cockpit-like impression, while imparting a feeling of sports car-like ergonomics. Fine materials such as nappa leather, solid metal and (optional) genuine carbon-fibre facings underline the pronounced “custom-built” nature of the SLS interior, and show enormous attention to detail. Five different designo leather colours are available to meet individual preferences: black, classic red, sand, porcelain and light brown.
Wide-opening gullwing doors for easy entry

Despite the low sitting position of just 369 millimetres in typical sports car fashion, the wide-opening gullwing doors make it easy to get in and out of the vehicle. At the design stage great attention was paid to the widest possible opening angle – it is a full 70 degrees. Equally importantly, the distance between the open doors and the road surface is a generous 1.50 metres, while the entry aperture between the open doors and the upper edge of the door sills measures no less than 1.08 metres. The entrance height, i.e. the distance between the road surface and the upper edge of the door sills is a very low 45 centimetres. As another important criterion for dignified access and egress, two gas-pressure struts positioned next to the door hinges require only very little pressure when opening and closing the doors – even at very low ambient temperatures.

The gullwing doors require less opening space than conventional coupé doors, and can be fully opened in a normal garage. The door is opened from inside by a handle finished in Silver Shadow. The grip section of the armrest moulded into the interior door panel ensures problem-free door closing. The operating buttons for the power windows, central locking system and exterior mirror adjustment are also located in the interior door panels for easy access. The feeling of comfortable spaciousness is in large measure due to the generous shoulder-room of 1483 millimetres and elbow room of no less than 1606 millimetres. In conjunction with the generous maximum headroom of 990 millimetres and effective legroom for the driver of 1058 millimetres, the result is a low but extremely relaxed seating position. At the same time the intentionally steep angle of the windscreen ensures good all-round visibility for the passengers.

Text and Pictures: Daimler

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