The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren is a grand tourer manufactured and marketed by a partnership developed by Mercedes-Benz and McLaren Automotive from 2003 to 2009. When the car was developed, Mercedes-Benz owned 40 percent of the McLaren Group and the car was produced in conjunction between the two companies. SLR is an abbreviation for "Sport Leicht Rennsport" (Sport Light Racing), a homage to the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR which served as the car's inspiration. The car was offered in coupé, roadster, and speedster body styles with the latter being a limited edition model.
History of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren
At the 1999 North American International Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz presented their Vision SLR concept, inspired both by the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé of 1955, which was a modified Mercedes-Benz W196S race car, and the design of closed-wheel Formula One cars, a field in which they had prior experience from Mercedes-Benz competing in Formula One in the past as constructor also winning back to back championships in their debut season 1954 than 1955. Also during the jointly developed project of Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren in 2003 Mercedes-Benz acquired 40 percent ownership of McLaren Group competed in Formula One as a partnership with the McLaren Formula One Team and were developing powertrains and electronics for McLaren's Formula One cars. The car was presented as "Tomorrow Silver Arrow" in a clear reference to the Silver Arrows of the golden age of Mercedes in competition during the fifties. Later that year, during the Frankfurt Motor Show, a roadster version of the SLR concept was presented. The concept car was fitted with a 5.0L supercharged AMG V8 engine able to generate a power output of 557 hp (416 kW) and 531 lb-ft (720 Nm) of torque at 4,000 rpm, mated to a 5-speed automatic gearbox with Touchshift control. Wanting to bring the concept to production following its positive reception, Mercedes joined forces with their Formula One partner, McLaren, thus creating the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. Mercedes did the styling on the car while McLaren was fully responsible for everything else, from the design and the engineering to the manufacture and the testing of each car at the production line. The production version of the car was unveiled to the general public on 17 November 2003 having some major design adjustments in respect of the initial design. In order to give the car the performance that Mercedes wanted, McLaren had to radically alter the concept for better weight distribution, including moving the engine almost a meter back and lowering the fuel tank. Smaller adjustments included more complex vents on both sides of the car, a redesigned front with the three-pointed star plunged in the nose, and red-tinted rear lights. The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren saw a production run of over six years. On 4 April 2008, Mercedes announced it would discontinue the SLR. The last of the coupés rolled off the production line at the end of 2009 and the roadster version was dropped in early 2010. Due to the automatic gearbox, front mid-engine arrangement, and its driving characteristics, some automotive journalists classify the SLR McLaren as a grand tourer.
In 2009, Mercedes-Benz retailed the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren with an original manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $500,750, which is around $695,588 in 2022.
Features of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren
The car was built at the TAG McLaren facilities in Woking, the U.K. It featured a lightweight construction using Formula 1 technology. The carbon-fiber structure and the active aerodynamics were developed for the F1 racing cars and they were installed on the SLR. It was the most sophisticated sports car ever built then.
Under hard braking, an aerodynamic brake was released from the top of the trunk lid, like a fixed parachute. The light-alloy wheel design was specific for that model and they looked like a turbine. It wasn't only for the show, they were extracting the air from the wheel wells and helping to cool the brakes. To climb inside the car, the door was opened upwards. The side sill was wide, like the one in the 300 SLR Gullwing. The interior featured a combination of aluminum, carbon fiber, and leather. The start button was under a cover on top of the gearshift lever, like in a fighter jet.
Specs and Performance of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren
Many consider this car to be the best of both worlds. McLaren supplied a sleek & aerodynamic body. The engine, suspension & many smaller components were shipped to McLaren in England for final assembly. McLaren produced the carbon fiber monocoque, making it the strongest Mercedes-Benz flagship to date. It was there that the body and chassis became one. It was the first street-legal McLare since their F1 a decade earlier, so no expense was spared. A proper Mercedes-Benz SLR review should note the curb weight of almost 3,900 lbs. A supercharged 5.4L V8 allows the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren horsepower to be 617 along with 575 lb-ft of torque. Since the transmission is mounted ahead of the cockpit, the car tends to understeer in most situations. Keep it in a straight line and you will be fine. As the perfect combination of German & English engineering, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren specs are the product of a decade of Formula 1 dominance. When the top-brass at Daimler needed a new flagship, they owned 40% of McLaren Technologies. England would be responsible for the body and chassis, while Germany would provide the drivetrain and electronics. This gave the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren a top speed of 208 mph. Using the latest in automatic transmission technology, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 0-60 time averaged 3.4 seconds. When drag racing, every Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 1/4 mile time is deep in the 11-second range. It is still a potent performer 10 years later. Dimension-wise, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren measures 4,656 mm (183.3 in) long, 1,909 mm (75.2 in) wide, and 1,252 mm (49.3 in) high. Its wheelbase measures 2,431 mm (95.7 in) and has a curb weight of 3,843–3,898 lbs (1,743–1,768 kg).
Mercedes-Benz and McLaren Automotive released the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren in 2003. Mercedes announced that they would discontinue the model on April 4, 2008 to make way for the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.