MERCEDES

Cast your mind baông xã khổng lồ 2002. Covid-19 wasn"t anything to anyone, Elon Musk was only known for creating PayPal (&, after selling it, buying a McLaren F1), and Porsđậy, Ferrari, và Pagani were setting the automotive world alight with the Carrera GT, Enzo, and Zonda. It was one heck of a time to lớn love sầu cars, not least of which because the Chrysler PT Cruiser was pacmanx.com"s reigning car of the year. But there"s another, oft-forgotten thành viên of the early 2000s superoto aristocracy: the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.

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Born out of a partnership between Mercedes-Benz and McLaren that started with their joint Formula 1 program, the SLR was both an homage to lớn the old & an exploration of the new. The McLaren F1 had been out of production for several years, and the new McLaren Automotive outfit that would eventually produce the MP4-12C road car wasn"t yet a glimmer in Ron Dennis" eye. So at the 1999 North American International Auto lớn Show (NAIAS), Mercedes-Benz & McLaren proudly hosted the reveal of the Vision SLR, a concept inspired by the Mercedes-Benz 300SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé, a roofless version of which Sir Stirling Moss piloted on his record-setting run of the Mille Miglia.


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The concept was a carbon-fiber-clad slice of the future powered by a 5.0-liter supercharged V-8. Long, low, wide, và looking as though it was hewn from a single, car-sized ingot of silver, it was an instant hit. Mercedes then turned to its Formula 1 partner, McLaren, khổng lồ help develop the production version of the Vision SLR. Thus the Mercedes-Benz SLR (Thể Thao Licht Rennsport, or Thể Thao Light Racing) McLaren was born.


A handful of changes were made to lớn the bodywork in the transition from concept to lớn road car, but it retained its front-mid-engine layout and elegant shape. A carbon-fiber tub was used for the cockpit, which was bonded to lớn an aluminum subframe that cradled the all-aluminum supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 that made 617 hp and 580 lb-ft of torque. Carbon fiber was also used for every body toàn thân panel of the SLR, & it was one of the first production cars to lớn feature carbon-ceramic brakes that Mercedes claimed would resist fade up to lớn temperatures of 2,200 Fahrenheit.


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But the ceramic brakes weren"t the only first. According to Mercedes, the SLR was the first production car khổng lồ feature a full carbon-fiber monocoque, the first production car to have sầu a front crash structure made of carbon fiber, và was the first oto lớn feature a V-8 that was built completely in-house by AMG—something we essentially take for granted today. The result was a car that we timed from 0-60 in 3.6 seconds (in 2006) và was yet usable every day.


Mated to that mighty V-8 was a transmission that received more than its fair nội dung of criticism from the automotive media. It was "just" a five-tốc độ torque converter automatic. Dual clutches weren"t quite ready for the world yet, and most said this super-GT should have had a sliông chồng manual lượt thích the one in the aforementioned Porsbít Carrera GT. Looking bachồng, however, & the five-tốc độ perfectly suited the long-legged, continent-crushing GT credentials of the SLR.

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Small but wonderfully nerdy details abound. The brake lights would glow at twice their normal intensity under hard braking to lớn warn the drivers behind. There was a sensor that measured the angle, luminosity, và intensity of the sun"s rays just to make sure the HVAC system could keep the cabin as comfortable as possible. The single-piece carbon-fiber seats were placed low in the car and phối lớn exactly 28 degrees khổng lồ make sure the resulting driving position was both sporty and comfortable.


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At the time its 208 mph top tốc độ made it one of the fastest cars in the world. It was a feast for both stat nerds và art lovers alike, & we even said so in our initial Review of the 2005 SLR McLaren. We also thought that, despite its incredible straight-line performance and incredible looks, the ride was a bit on the harsh side. That"s because the SLR was suspended by conventional springs and dampers—no adaptive sầu shocks or air suspension khổng lồ speak of. Simpler & more reliable than air suspension, & perhaps lighter than adjustable dampers ... perhaps Mercedes và McLaren made the right Hotline. The adaptive sầu damping công nghệ we have today would have made a world of difference, though.


Over its six-year production run, a total of 2,157 cars were built at McLaren"s Technology Center in Woking, Engl&. The coupe was followed by a roadster called the 722 Edition, its 722S convertible counterpart, & the roofless, windshield-less SLR Stirling Moss speedster built lớn honor Sir Stirling Moss và his 300SLR from the 1995 Mille Miglia. It was a technological tour de force that managed to be alluring, futuristic, and beautiful all at the same time. So why, in the annals of automotive history, is the SLR seemingly lost?


Maybe that"s because the SLR has been misunderstood by many since the beginning. Infighting between Mercedes và McLaren on what the SLR was supposed to be led lớn split development philosophies. Mercedes reportedly wanted something luxurious & comfortable & McLaren wanted a lightweight driver"s car. Those two typically don"t phối, và the different approaches only meant the SLR"s original target price of around $200,000 more than doubled by the time development was over. While that put it in the same stratospheric price category as the Enzo, Carrera GT, & Zonda, the SLR was never supposed to lớn be a rival for those cars. From the outphối, the SLR was khổng lồ be pitted against the likes of the Ferrari F430, Bentley Continental GT, và Aston Martin DB9.


The result was a oto whose performance was leaps and bounds beyond the Bentleys and Astons of the time, but one with a price tag that left it in some much more hardcore company. So when you look baông xã on the SLR, take its original selling price out of the equation and think of it as a super-GT—one of very few from that time—& not some world-beating hypercar that was supposed to lớn take down the Enzo. Then & only then will the SLR get the respect it deserves as one of history"s great supercars.