Mercedes-Benz and AMG reprise the “Gullwing” 56 years on. Stunning new SLS replaces outgoing SLR
The speculation is over. In limbo since the original 300SL Gullwing coupe ceased production in late 1956, the “Gullwing” designation lives on with the introduction of the dramatic new 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. Largely engineered by AMG, the long awaited SLS debuts September 15 at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Germany.
There has been much speculation surrounding the final styling of the new car: We presumed the Dodge Viper-esque camouflage hid a more rounded, voluptuous shape reminiscent of the original Gullwing. Not so. While there were some attractive renderings circulating the web indicative of a smooth flowing design, what we see here continues the long nose, truncated tail theme of the SLR. The wheelbase (2680mm) remains essentially the same as the SLR ((2700) hence the car still hasn’t escaped a somewhat overly long bonnet/short tail profile. I’ll have to study the shape further but early views reveal a less finicky, overly busy shape than that of the outgoing SLR.
Rounded rear coachwork somewhat at odds of crisp rectangular nose. Sexy car nevertheless.
Exhilarating Super Sports Car
According to Chairman of the Board, Dieter Zetsche, “Mercedes-Benz is presenting an exhilarating super sports car in the guise of the new SLS AMG, which is bound to set the pulses of all car enthusiasts racing that extra bit faster. The brands Mercedes-Benz and AMG have joined forces to create the SLS AMG – which is set to become one of the most alluring sports cars of all time.”Indeed.
With the uprated M159 571hp AMG 6.3 engine connected via a solid torque tube to the robust AMG Speedshift DCT 7-speed transaxle, power transfer will be virtually instantaneous. This drive train platform integrated within the lightweight, largely aluminum space frame should give the SLS dynamic handling behavior beyond what the SLR offered. The entire body shell weights but 241 kg (530 lbs) and curb weight is reported to be 1620 kg( 3,564 lbs), well below SLR’s hefty 1,768 kg (3,889 lbs).
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: Individual components such as the engine, powertrain, transmission, axles and brakes are stressed to their limits on test benches.
The true Gullwing doors open a full 70 degrees and this combined with a very low sill height should provide “graceful” entry/exit for men and women alike. Once inside you’ll find a satisfying array of technology:
Cord floor mats with AMG logo
Interior appointments in designo leather
Anti-theft warning system
Electric parking brake
Keyless-go start function
Heated sports seats
Sports pedals in brushed stainless steel with rubber studs
Cruise control with SPEEDTRO
Mercedes-Benz SLS Silver Arrow.
6-disc DVD changer
Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG surround sound system
Anti-theft alarm system with tow-away protection and interior monitoring
Interior appointments in designo single-tone Exclusive leather
Interior appointments in designo two-tone Exclusive leather
Interior appointments in designo Exclusive light brown natural leather/woven leather
Paintwork “AMG ALU-BEAM silver”
Paintwork “AMG magno sylvanite grey”
Paintwork “designo magno allanite grey”
Memory package with electric seat and steering wheel adjustment
Performance sports steering wheel in Alcantara/leather
And the AMG Performance Studio will personalize your SLS with the following:
Carbon-fibre exterior mirrors
Carbon-fibre engine compartment cover
Carbon-fibre trim (front stowage tray and rear stowage compartment incl. lid, AMG DRIVE UNIT surround, surrounds for the centre console, shiftgate and rear, trim strips for centre console
and door armrests
Interior Carbon Package (carbon-fibre trim, trim on seat backrest and side, door sill panels)
Performance suspension with a stiffer setup for optimised lateral dynamics
10-spoke forged wheels
Sports bucket seats
This will have to satisfy your curiosity about this fabulous new Gullwing for now. The release date is noted as “Spring 2010.”
September’s MercedesHeritage.com Newsletter will cover the SLS in more detail as well as all the Mercedes-Benz goings on during August’s amazing Monterey week.
roy spencer/editor mercedesheritage