Mercedes Benz have unveiled their all new Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren supercar at the Frankfurt Auto Show. The car was a joint project between Mercedes Benz and their Formula 1 partner McLaren, which has no doubt resulted in the adaptation of several racing technologies into the high performance road going sports car.
Further evidence of McLaren’s involvement can be seen in the styling of the SLR front end which features cues taken from the nose cone of Formula 1 Silver Arrow race car. Aesthetics have not neglected the SLR’s heritage, also having been influenced by the SLR race cars of the 1950’s, with the SLR featuring swing wing doors and 2-seater configuration.
Beneath the futuristic styling of the SLR lies a lightweight, high rigidity carbon fibre body, yet another technology taken directly from Formula 1. Despite its lightweight, the body displays high strength through a combination of advanced materials and design. With lightweight helping to improve the cars performance, passenger safety has not been ignored with the body being able to absorb four times more crash energy than steel or aluminium bodies.
Under the bonnet is an AMG built supercharged 5.5 litre V8 engine which propels the SLR to a maximum speed of 334km/h. It generates 460kW or 626 hp depending on which language you speak, and takes a mere 3.8 seconds to go from stand still to 100km/h. It is located in the front, but predominantly behind the front wheels and low down to more evenly distribute weight and keep the centre of gravity as low as possible for optimal handling.
Being built by Mercedes Benz, safety is of the utmost importance. Acceleration and top speed are important, but stopping is probably more important. For this reason they have again employed advanced materials taken from motorsports applications in the braking system. The SLR uses fibre reinforced ceramic brake discs. The ceramic brake discs permit higher operating temperatures encountered under high loadings, and reduce the likelihood of brake fade, often encountered in conventional brake materials. The ceramic brake discs are clamped by massive 8 piston callipers up front.
In addition to the ceramic composite disc rotors, Mercedes have also added an air brake to help bring the SLR back to more pedestrian speeds from velocities more associated with aircraft. The air brake is integrated into the boot lid and raises to an angle of 65° when activated by heavy braking. The air brake in combination with the ceramic composite discs will decelerate the SLR to a stop at a staggering 1.3 G.
For anyone interested in purchasing an SLR, they will be produced in limited numbers of about 500 per year and cost somewhere in the order of 375,000 Euros.