Due to the presence of the automatic gear box, front mid-engined arrangement and its driving characteristics lead some commentators to classify the SLR McLaren as a GT whose rivals can be considered to be e.g. the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish and Ferrari 599 GTB.
It is the fastest automatic transmission car in the world. SLR stands for "Sport, Leicht, Rennsport" (sport, light, racing). Mercedes-Benz has stated that they will build 3500 SLRs in a span of 7 years, with an annual production of only 500 cars. The car's base price is GB£300,000 (approx. US$495,000 or €475,000, c. 2007).
To improve braking performance there is an automatic air brake, when engaged the rear elevation angle of the rear spoiler is set to 65 degrees. The additional rear downforce in addition to the markedly increased aerodynamic drag increases peak deceleration ~25%.
The SLR sports a 232-kilogram (512 lb), hand-built, 5.4-litre (5439 cc/331.9 cu in), supercharged, all-aluminum, SOHC V8 engine. The cylinders are angled at 90 degrees with three valves per cylinder and lubricated via a dry sump system. The compression ratio is 8.8:1 and the bore and stroke is 97 millimetre (3.82 in) and 92 millimeters (3.62 in), respectively. The Lysholm-type twin-screw supercharger produces 0.9 bar (13 psi) of boost, the turbine rotates at 23000 revolutions per minute, and the air is cooled via two intercoolers. The engine generates a maximum power of 626 PS (617 hp/460 kW) at 6500 revolutions per minute and a maximum torque of 780 newton-metres (575 ft·lbf) at 3250 revolutions per minute. 2003 models were leaving showrooms at and now are slightly increased to .
Unlike most of its contemporaries, its engine is front-mid mounted. McLaren took the original concept car designed by Mercedes and moved the engine behind the front bumper, and around behind the front axle. They also optimized the design of the center firewall.
The car uses carbon fibre for its entire body construction in an attempt to keep the weight low. Despite CFRP materials the total curb weight is 1768 kg (3898 lb).The following tests have proven that the SLR can achieve a 0- in times less than the claimed 3.8 seconds and reach a top speed of .
Car and Driver achieved a 0- time of 3.6 seconds, and a quarter-mile time of 11.6 seconds at C&D suggests the times may be even lower if temperatures were lower. Car and Driver achieved top gear acceleration 30-50 mph and 50-70 mph times of 1.7 and 2.4 seconds, which are the fastest ever recorded by the magazine in a production car. The SLR also pulled 0.97 g on the skidpad. January 2005
Road and Track tested the car in their July 2005 Road Test and reached from a standstill in 3.5 seconds. The 0 - sprint was achieved in 7.5 seconds and a quarter mile run was completed in 11.5 seconds at .
In June 2004 the SLR was tested at Nardo and performed the 0- exercise in 3.8 seconds, 0- in 11.5 seconds and 0- in 30.4 seconds. Their 400 meter and kilometer times were 11.5 seconds at and 20.6 seconds at respectively. They also reached its claimed topspeed .
Despite its near 2-ton weight, the fuel economy is generally better than the lighter Lamborghini Murciélago, and even its lighter, less expensive, less powerful sibling, Gallardo. Still, on the Episode 1 from Season 11 of BBC car show Top Gear the Lamborghini Murciélago performed better than the SLR during a race on the track. Also, the same show put the SLR and the Porsche Carrera GT on its track, and after multiple attempts, the Porsche beat the SLR-McLaren by just over a second (1:19.8 vs. 1:20.9). However, on a separate race around their short track, the SLR was fractionally quicker than the Carrera GT. In a straight line, the SLR is quicker throughout the range.
A new version was introduced in 2006 called the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722 Edition. The 722 refers to the victory by Stirling Moss and his co-driver Denis Jenkinson in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR with the starting number 722 (indicating a start time of 7:22 a.m.) at the Mille Miglia in 1955.
The "722 Edition" boosts power to 485 kW (650 hp) and 820 N·m (605 ft·lbf) torque at 4000 rpm, posting a top speed of 337 km/h (just 3 km/h faster than the standard SLR). 19-inch light-alloy wheels were used to reduce unsprung weight, while modifications were also made to the suspension, with a stiffer damper setup and 10 mm (0.4 in) lower ride height introduced for improved handling. Larger diameter front brakes and a revised front air dam and rear diffuser were fitted.
Exterior changes, other than the larger black light-alloy wheels, include red 722 badging, hearkening back to the original 722 racer.
The SLR 722 can do a 0-100km/h in 3.6 seconds and in 10.2 seconds and in 21.4 seconds and can reach a top speed of .
A roadster version of the SLR went on sale in September 2007 for £350,000 ($711,065 U.S.). It uses the same supercharged V8 AMG power plant as its coupé siblings, developing , to propel it to a top speed of 332 km/h and enable a 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) dash time of 3.8 seconds. However, being a convertible the roadster will have to be burdened with extra weight and this will affect performance and handling. The Roadster's roof, however, is made from a "newly developed material" and hence will not take the form of a folding metal arrangement, as is now common on many modern cars. Following a manual unlatching, it takes a mere 10 seconds to fold away electrically. According to an official document from Mercedes, the cabin of the roadster is capable of allowing conversation between driver and passenger up to a speed of with the roof retracted. It is unsure if McLaren will release another version of the roadster like it did with the SLR 722 version. This roadster is aimed to compete against other sports cars such as the Pagani Zonda F Roadster.
The 722 GT is a tuned version of the SLR 722 which is developed for a one-make racing series. The cars are built by Ray Mallock Ltd. with approval from Mercedes-Benz. The car features new wider bodywork to accommodate 19 inch OZ racing wheels. The front grill vents are removed and larger, free flowing air extractors sit on the hood and flank the side of the car. The rear now has a racing wing and diffuser.
Under the body, the car has shed 398 kg and reduced its dry weight to 1300 kg (2866 lb). The engine remains in relatively stock specification but now produces 500 kW (680 bhp) and 830 N·m (612 ft·lbf) at 1.75 bar (175 kPa) boost. Inside, the car is stripped out with only the essential functions being controlled from a carbon fiber binnacle. New carbon fiber door panels and full roll cage complete the transformation.
Renntech announced 21 SLR McLaren 722 GT would be available to the North American market exclusively through RENNtech, for €795,000 (1.2 million USD).
SLR MCLAREN WILL BE HARD TO CATCH UP WITH -- BOTH ON THE ROAD AND IN THE SHOWROOM What's behind Mercedes' ravishing new luxury car?
Dec 15, 2003; MERCEDES-BENZ SLR MCLARENPrice Approximately $350,000 Likes Race-car fast. Extraordinary steering, handling and braking. Posh...