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Listen to the Mercedes SLS ED

“The engine is… a masterpiece.” There, that’s the verdict, plain and simple, of the Mercedes-Benz SLS’s supernaturally loud 6.2-litre V8 delivered by none other than our very own Clarkson.

But if you take that V8 out of the SLS equation, what do you get? Erm, that luminous blue thing in the picture above. It’s the Mercedes-Benz SLS Electric Drive, revealed at the Paris Motor Show last week.

Gallery: the Mercedes-Benz SLS Electric Drive

It’s Mercedes’ attempt at slowing down the demise of our good friend, the Brazilian sea turtle and his cuddly, ocean-dwelling companions. It’s fully electric, using four synchronous motors driving one wheel each. Somewhere buried within are two separate gearboxes (one working on each axle), together with some AMG torque wizardry that attributes power to where it’s most needed. Clever stuff indeed.

It’s also quite a bit more powerful than its Neolithic counterpart too: those motors boast a total of 740bhp and 738lb ft of torque, giving it a 0-62mph time of 3.9 seconds (0.1s slower than the V8). And, because it’s electric, it’s emission-free (if you discount how the energy for the 60kWh battery pack is made).

Mercedes has just released this video of the SLS ED calmly motoring along the Ascari race circuit, and… well, it’s a bit calm. Too calm, if you ask us. Have a watch and listen for yourself. Just for reference, we’ve positioned it against JC’s test of the SLS AMG Roadster below, so we now invite you to indulge in a spot of existentialism. For can a Mercedes SLS AMG still call itself such, if it lacks an integral part of what makes it an SLS AMG (ie, a ruddy great V8)?


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