Time to party like its 1955: the gullwing is back.
This is our first look at the Mercedes SLS, the front-engined supercar that’s
set to replace the McMerc SLR later this year and, well, we’re speechless. We
are quite literally without speech.
OK, it’s only a sketch of the exterior – though you can see proper photos of the production interior if you click on our gallery – and it’s possible to make even a Daihatsu Terios look mildly sexy in sketch form, but we don’t care. It’s going to be awesome, isn’t it?
First off, look at those gullwing doors, just like the 300SL of the 1950s. Merc is calling them ‘swing-wing doors’, but we know what they are. Proper gullwings, none of your half-arsed scissor-door efforts here.
Now look at the long, blocky front end, at the swept-back GT-R style headlights and the SLR-like side vents. Nestled under that long bonnet will sit Merc’s 6.2-litre V8, the engine seen in the C63 AMG, putting out a hefty 563bhp and 479lb ft of torque.
In such a lightweight coupe – the SLS will be primarily built from aluminium – that’s good for a 0-62mph time of 3.8 seconds (faster than a Corvette Z06, as quick as a Ferrari 599) and a top speed firmly in the 200mph region.
Transmission duties will be taken care of by a new seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox – hence the flappy paddles behind the steering wheel – with four modes ranging from ‘controlled efficiency’ (only Merc could come up with that one) to full manual.
Other Really Quite Exciting Bits include a manually controlled rear spoiler and an ‘AMG’ button, allowing the driver to instantly call up a preferred set-up, just like BMW’s ‘M’ button.
Production is expected to start early next year, with a predicted price around £135,000. Before that, though, we’ll see the SLS in the metal at the Frankfurt show this autumn. It’s fair to say we’re a bit excited…