Mercedes SLR AMG
The story & development & production timeline of the Mercedes SLR AMG and its different versions / variants.
Like its famous ancestors the SSK of 1926 and the 300SL of 1954, the new mega Mercedes SLR AMG with the unwieldy name was, from a commercial point of view, a piece of nonsense. But, like those, it gleamed like no other model of the brand name in the radiance of the Mercedes star.
Besides it the SLR AMG was meant to seal the marriage of convenience between Mercedes – Benz and the British premium racing team and consolidate it through a common product, manufactured in the futuristic Paragon McLaren factory complex in Woking, England.
But this time something went wrong. The SLR study – SLR Vision, introduced in January 1999 in Detroit, was still toasting its success from a few months earlier, when formula one star driver Mika Häkkinen had won his first world championship in a McLaren-Mercedes.
By the time of its introduction as a marketable product – for the not inconsiderable price of 345.000 euros (read also: Mercedes SLR price ) – at the Frankfurt International Motor Show 2003, however, a low-pressure area had long been hovering over the operations of joint ventures on the Grand Prix circuits.
And the design of this Anglo-Teutonic supercar, in which current and historicizing quotations mingled with objective fact, did not necessarily encourage love at first sight.
There were good reasons for all of this. McLaren designer Gordon Murray (from 1991 to 2004, Murray headed the offshoot McLaren Cars team to design road-going supercars: the McLaren F1 and the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren) had designed the SLR as a front mid-engine car, positioning the entire engine way down behind the front axle so as to balance weight distributions – hence the long stem. The high stump tail was involved in the generation of downforce, but also kept the very useful 9.6 cu.ft or 272 liters of trunk capacity available. Mounted flush above, a spoiler adapted variably to changing driving situations and rose with sharp breaking to an angle of 65 degrees, while an aerodynamic counterpart underneath acted as a six channel diffuser. To smooth the front undercarriage, emissions from the machine were expelled sideways. Through the angrily bared openings in the sides (a visual reminiscence of the SLR of 1955), two large exhausts discharged their heat.
The super sports car Mercedes SLR AMG was clad in carbon fiber, five times stiffer than steel and much lighter.
Weighing 3845 lbs or 1747 kg when empty thanks to typical Mercedes luxury (including five-step automatic transmission, electric steering wheel adjustment, sophisticated airbag system, and lef and right adjustable air conditioning), it was not exactly a featherweight.
Nobody was quick, however, to dispute the SLR driver’s spot among the fastest in the country. This was ensured by its racing suspension with classic double wishbones and struts, brakes with massive ceramic disks, and, above all, the 626 bhp of its V8 with 5.4 liters of displacement, lovingly prepared by the company’s subsidiary AMG. The similarity with the engine of the SL55 AMG was reduced to appearances, the oil circuit converted to a dry sump and the IHI screw superchargers enlarged meaning a performance of 11.3 seconds to 125 mph or 200 km/h and 208 mph or 334 km/h tops were not exactly to be sniffed at (read also: SLR AMG McLaren top speed ).
Mercedes SLR AMG versions
On 11 July 2006 DaimlerChrysler released the Mercedes SLR AMG 722 Edition, a 650 bhp special version in a limited run of 150 units. A roadster was exhibited at the Frankfurt Show in September 2007. Later that year, 21 units of the sports version 722 GT (680 bhp) were made available, while finally, at the end of 2008 and in a limited run of 75, came the extreme SLR 722 Stirling Moss without roof or windshield, in a double tribute to the old Mille Miglia winner of 1955. We have more infos in this post: Mercedes SLR versions
Mercedes SLR AMG time line: from concept SLR Vision to final variant of SLR Stirling Moss:
9. 1. – 18. 1. 1999, At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mercedes presented the Vision SLR, a study of a GT sports car for the 21st century.
16. 9. – 26. 9. 1999, At the Frankfurt International Motor Show, the Mercedes brand presented a number of new models, (S600 V 12, S 320 CDI, ML 270 CDI and ML 55 AMG). The star of the show was the new Vision SLR roadster sports car study that would turn into reality as a Mercedes SLR AMG in 2003.
9 – 21. 9. 2003
Twin highlights of the Mercedes – Benz presentation at the 60th International Motor Show in Frankfurt am Main were two cars that set benchmarks in terms of design and technology: the near-series Vision CLS study and the Mercedes SLR AMG high-performance sports car developed jointly with McLaren.
18. 12. 2003
As part of charity auction benefiting the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, the first unit of the Mercedes – Benz SLR McLaren is handed over at Christie’s in New York to the car enthusiast with the successful bid. The highest bid in the “silent auction” was 1.5 million €.
11. 7. 2006
The new Mercedes – Benz SLR AMG McLaren 722 Edition was released for sale. With an output of 478 kW/ 650hp the new variant surpassed the already outstanding performance of the first series SLR McLaren. The limited series of 150 units is laregly made by hand at McLaren in Woking.
17. 7. 2007
Mercedes – Benz presents the Mercedes SLR AMG McLaren Roadster, the open-top variant of the high-performance sports car introduced in 2004. The new roadster, which was launched on the market in September, took the place of the coupe version and is likewise built by McLaren in Woking, UK.
2 – 19. 10. 2008
At the International Motor Show in Paris Mercedes – Benz presents the new SLR McLaren Roadster 722 S with 478 kW / 650hp that opened up new dimensions in open-top driving.
11 – 25. 1. 2009
Another debut at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. This time Mercedes – Benz presented under the motto “Fascination and responsibility” two vehicle concepts. The first was the exclusive SLR Stirling Moss top-class speedster, of which only 75 will ever be built and represent the end of at the time current SLR model family. The other concept presented was “CONCEPT BlueZERO”.
Most popular term: Mercedes SLR AMG
and the SLR from 1955: 300 SLR Uhlenhaut coupe