The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Is a Misunderstood Supercar

Forged your thoughts again to 2002. Covid-19 wasn’t anything else to any individual, Elon Musk was once best recognized for growing PayPal (and, after promoting it, purchasing a McLaren F1), and Porsche, Ferrari, and Pagani had been environment the car international alight with the Carrera GT, Enzo, and Zonda. It was once one heck of a time to like automobiles, no longer least of which since the Chrysler PT Cruiser was once MotorTrend’s reigning automobile of the 12 months. However there may be every other, oft-forgotten member of the early 2000s supercar aristocracy: the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.

Born out of a partnership between Mercedes-Benz and McLaren that began with their joint Method 1 program, the SLR was once each an homage to the previous and an exploration of the brand new. The McLaren F1 have been out of manufacturing for a number of years, and the brand new McLaren Car outfit that might sooner or later produce the MP4-12C street automobile wasn’t but a glimmer in Ron Dennis’ eye. So on the 1999 North American Global Auto Display (NAIAS), Mercedes-Benz and McLaren proudly hosted the divulge of the Imaginative and prescient SLR, an idea impressed by way of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé, a roofless model of which Sir Stirling Moss piloted on his record-setting run of the Mille Miglia.

The concept that was once a carbon-fiber-clad slice of the long run powered by way of a 5.0-liter supercharged V-8. Lengthy, low, huge, and taking a look as despite the fact that it was once hewn from a unmarried, car-sized ingot of silver, it was once an rapid hit. Mercedes then grew to become to its Method 1 spouse, McLaren, to assist broaden the manufacturing model of the Imaginative and prescient SLR. Thus the Mercedes-Benz SLR (Recreation Licht Rennsport, or Recreation Mild Racing) McLaren was once born.

A handful of adjustments had been made to the bodywork within the transition from idea to street automobile, however it retained its front-mid-engine structure and sublime form. A carbon fiber bath was once used for the cockpit, which was once bonded to an aluminum subframe that cradled the all aluminum 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 that made 617 horsepower and 580 lb-ft of torque. Carbon fiber was once extensively utilized for each frame panel of the SLR, and it was once one of the most first manufacturing automobiles to characteristic carbon ceramic brakes that Mercedes claimed would face up to fade as much as temperatures of two,200 F.

However the ceramic brakes were not the one first. In line with Mercedes, the SLR was once the primary manufacturing automobile to characteristic a complete carbon-fiber monocoque, the primary manufacturing automobile to have a entrance crash construction product of carbon fiber, and was once the primary automobile to characteristic a V-8 that was once constructed totally in-house by way of AMG—one thing we necessarily take with no consideration these days. The end result was once a automobile that we timed from 0-60 in 3.6 seconds (in 2006) and was once but usable each day.

Mated to that mighty V-8 was once a transmission that won greater than its justifiable share of complaint from the car media. It was once “simply” a five-speed torque converter automated. Twin clutches were not slightly in a position for the arena but, and maximum mentioned this super-GT will have to have had a slick handbook like the only within the aforementioned Porsche Carrera GT. Taking a look again, alternatively, and the five-speed ideally fitted the long-legged, continent-crushing GT credentials of the SLR.

Small however splendidly nerdy main points abound. The brake lighting fixtures would glow at two times their standard depth beneath exhausting braking to warn the drivers in the back of. There was once a sensor that measured the attitude, luminosity, and depth of the solar’s rays simply to verify the HVAC gadget may just stay the cabin as at ease as conceivable. The one-piece carbon fiber seats had been positioned low within the automobile and set to precisely 28 levels to verify the ensuing riding place was once each sporty and at ease.

On the time its 208 mph best pace made it one of the most quickest automobiles on the planet. It was once a banquet for each stat nerds and artwork fans alike, and we even mentioned so in our preliminary critiques of the 2005 SLR McLaren. We additionally idea that, in spite of its unbelievable directly line efficiency and unbelievable seems, the trip was once a bit of at the harsh aspect. That is since the SLR was once suspended by way of standard springs and dampers—no adaptive shocks or air suspension to talk of. More practical and extra dependable than air suspension, and most likely lighter than adjustable dampers … most likely Mercedes and McLaren made the appropriate name. The adaptive damping generation we’ve got these days would have made an international of distinction, despite the fact that.

Over its six 12 months manufacturing run, a complete of two,157 automobiles had been constructed at McLaren’s Generation Heart in Woking, England. The coupe was once adopted by way of a roadster known as the 722 Version, its 722S convertible counterpart, and the roofless, windshield-less SLR Stirling Moss speedster constructed to honor Sir Stirling Moss and his 300 SLR from the 1995 Mille Miglia. It was once a technological excursion de pressure that controlled to be alluring, futuristic, and lovely all on the similar time. So why, within the annals of car historical past, is the SLR apparently misplaced?

Perhaps that is since the SLR has been misunderstood by way of many because the starting. Infighting between Mercedes and McLaren on what the SLR was once meant to be led to separate construction philosophies. Mercedes reportedly sought after one thing sumptuous and at ease and McLaren sought after a light-weight driving force’s automobile. The ones two in most cases do not combine, and the other approaches best intended the SLR’s unique goal worth of round $200,000 greater than doubled by the point construction was once over. Whilst that put it in the similar stratospheric worth class as the Enzo, Carrera GT, and Zonda, the SLR was once by no means meant to be a rival for the ones automobiles. From the outset, the SLR was once to be pitted towards the likes of the Ferrari F430, Bentley Continental GT, and Aston Martin DB9.

The end result was once a automobile whose efficiency was once leaps and boundaries past the Bentleys and Astons of the time, however one with a price ticket that left it in some a lot more hardcore corporate. So while you glance again at the SLR, take its unique promoting worth out of the equation and recall to mind it as a super-GT—one in all only a few from that point—and no longer some world-beating hypercar that was once meant to take down the Enzo. Then and best then will the SLR get the consideration it merits as one in all historical past’s nice supercars.

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