10 September 2009

Return of the Gullwing

Mercedes reveals the retrotastic, 571bhp SLS supercar in all its long-nosed glory

Merc SLS

See more Mercedes SLS pictures

The Gullwing is back.

We've seen sketches and camouflaged prototypes and we've even driven a development car around the Nurburgring... but this is our first proper look at the SLS, Mercedes' all-new supercar and the spiritual successor to the 1954 300SL.

It is going to be fast. Seriously fast. Underneath that long, long bonnet - two metres long, in fact - is a hotted-up version of the 6.3-litre V8 from the Merc C63 AMG, hoofing out a massive 571bhp and 479lb ft of torque through a seven-speed dual-clutch box.

That means it'll hit 62mph in just 3.8 seconds and top out at a whopping 197mph, making the SLS very nearly as quick as the outgoing McLaren-Mercedes SLR 722. And hugely fast in its own right.

Despite that giant nose, the SLS is technically mid-engined: the V8 sits in front of the cabin but so far behind the front axle that the SLS has slightly rear-biased weight distribution.

As for the looks - well, we'd appreciate your opinion on this one. It's certainly not as cohesive a design as the Ferrari 458 Italia or the understated McLaren 12C, borrowing heavily from the SLR with a host of retro styling cues - but hey, it has gullwings! Everyone loves gullwings. Don't they?

Prices will start at around £140,000 - right on the money with both the new McLaren and the 458 Italia. The SLS will reach our shores early next year, likely followed by a roadster, a hardcore Black Series edition - and an all-electric version in 2012.

So - McLaren 12C, Ferrari 458 Italia or Merc SLS? Where's your £140,000 going?

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