The new Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, which makes its world debut this autumn at the Frankfurt motor show, celebrates the formidable SLR race cars of the 1950s and will mark a new era of M-B grand touring sports cars. The new car is billed as a futuristic interpretation of styling elements from the original 300SLR and the latest Formula 1 Silver Arrow race cars and is said to bridge the past and future, bringing cutting-edge motorsports-inspired design and technology to the road, just as the original SLR did in 1955.
The limited-production SLR will go on sale in Europe late this year, and its US market launch is planned in mid-2004. While pricing will be announced later, it’s expected to be in the mid-£200,000 ($US300,000) range.
One example of technology transfer from Formula 1 racing is the carbon fibre composite construction of the new SLR McLaren monocoque and body panels, which provides rigidity and strength never before achieved in road-going vehicles, with reduced weight to help ensure the SLR’s targeted performance characteristics.
Equally impressive is its high level of occupant protection — specially designed crash structures of carbon fibre help this innovative car to set new standards in energy absorption. Brake discs on the SLR are made of a new composite material — a fibre-reinforced ceramic claimed to have extremely high heat resistance, outstanding structural strength, reduced unsprung weight and long service life. The SLR will be one of a few production cars to make use of ceramic brake technology.
In a front mid-engine location is a supercharged V8 engine with dry-sump lubrication developed and built by Mercedes-AMG. Each engine is hand-built.
The first SLR was one of the most successful sports racing cars of all times, achieving a string of five 1st and 2nd place finishes in 1955 with drivers such as Stirling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio. Like the new car, the SLR of the 1950s combined leading-edge technology from the 300SL sports car and the Mercedes-Benz Formula 1 race car.
Its three-litre, straight-eight engine made 310 horsepower, pushing the car to speeds of around 190 miles per hour.