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Mercedes SLS Electric Drive (2013) sets new Nürburgring lap record

By Ollie Kew

Motor Industry

07 June 2013 10:30

The Mercedes SLS AMG Electric Drive has smashed the Nürburgring lap record for electric cars, posting a 7min 56.234sec time. The previous record holder was the Audi R8 E-tron, which lapped the Nordschleife in 8min 9.099sec in July 2012.

Electric Mercedes beats Audi? Bet that's a shock...

AMG already had bragging rights over Audi for seeing its electric supercar project through to production. You can snap up your very own SLS Electric Drive for a cool £350,000 right now, whereas Audi isn't selling any of the 10 R8 E-tron prototypes it's built (each costing £855,000). CAR has driven the 375bhp R8 e-tron: click here for our full drive verdict.

To read CAR's full track test of the 730bhp Mercedes SLS Electric Drive, check out the latest issue of CAR magazine, on sale now.

How did the Mercedes SLS Electric Drive manage to beat the Audi R8 E-tron?

With a combination of clever chassis brains and outright electro-torque brawn. The SLS Electric Drive develops a total of 730bhp and 737lb ft from its four lithium-ion battery-fed motors, compared to 'just' 375bhp and 605lb ft in the Audi. However, the SLS is hampered by being a good deal heavier (despite extensive use of carbonfibre): 2110kg plays the R8's 1780kg. Both cars were limited to 155mph for their respective record attempts, but AMG has the edge for accelerative punch: it'll hit 62mph in 3.9sec, versus the Audi's 4.6sec

AMG's trump card is the SLS Electric Drive's torque vectoring on all four wheels, which can use 'negative torque' to slow inside wheels when cornering to tighten the car's line, and meter out extra torque left-to-right or front-to-rear to improve the car's balance. That makes for super-tidy high-speed driving, which the R8 (rear-drive only to save weight) can't quite match.

Hang on – how fast is a petrol Mercedes SLS around the 'Green Hell'?

Ah yes, the 6.2-litre V8-powered elephant in the room. The 390kg lighter, 167bhp-weaker SLS AMG has a 'Ring personal best of 7min 44.42sec – almost 12 seconds faster than the 'leccy SLS, which costs over twice as much. And don't forget that £230k now buys you the lighter, more powerful and higher-downforce SLS AMG Black Series – click here to read the CAR review.

>> Is winning the Nurburgring lap record enough to make you want the SLS Electric Drive more than a V8 SLS? Click 'Add your comment' to speak up