Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Is the Mercedes SLS AMG a True Star?

One of the highlighted announcements at this year's international automobile exhibition (IAA) in Frankfurt is the so called Mercedes SLS AMG.
There have been talks about this car for quite a while and it certainly makes a presence with its gullwing doors and the fat open mouth.
But how modern and competitive is it really? Is this the car we expect from the company that brought us the mighty 300 SL Gullwing almost 50 years ago? I think it isn't. Yes, it's quite pretty (at least from the angle pictured here), it has those gorgeous butterfly doors. And yes, it's fast (enough) and shows probably all the virtues expected from a Mercedes. But don't they miss the point? How can mount an 6.3 (actually 6.2) liter engine into such a car? How can you end up with more than 1'600 kg? Wouldn't it have been much better to plant a 3 liter engine with some turbo charger and roughly 400-450 HP combined with a small supercaps based hybrid unit (KERS) to boost torque and lower fuel consumption. With this the car could have been named Mercedes 300 SLS, a name that would have been so much better for marketing purposes. And with some effort and the money safed on the enigine the weight probably could have been lowered to 1'400 kg and it certainly should be possible to end up with less than 10 liters gasoline per 100 km (comparable to a 997 Carrera). With all of this maybe even the price could be brought down to less than 120k Euro and the car could become a bestseller and directly compete with the R8. But maybe that's not what Mercedes wanted anyway. I am happy they had the guts to do such a car and maybe the version I have described above is still to come.

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