Mercedes SLS AMG: first photos of Gullwing supercar

Published: 12 March 2009

Mercedes today released the first teaser info on its new SLS AMG supercar – and our first glimpse inside the new Gullwing. These first official photos reveal the two-seater SLS’s cockpit and a flurry of technical details for the 2010 Gullwing and its aluminium spaceframe skeleton.

It infamously resurrects the spirit of the classic 300SL Gullwing and thrusts AMG back into the sports car spotlight. The SLR has been a sales success, argues Merc, outselling other top-end hypercars such as the Porsche Carrera GT – but it’s never quite met with the critical acclaim its makers desired. Stuttgart has been beavering away to make sure the same can’t be said of the new Merc SLS Gullwing.

Tech overview of the Mercedes-Benz SLS

The main news announced today is the aluminium construction methods employed on the new SLS. The floorpan is made almost entirely from aluminium extrusions and castings, with only minor use of heavier steel.

The exact weight hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s tipped to come in at around 1600kg, placing it a touch lighter than the similarly aluminium Jaguar XK. And AMG has put a lot of work into the balance of the car – its long silhouette gives away its classic front-engine, rear-drive layout.

We've also had confirmation that the SLS gets Merc’s new twin-clutch seven-speed box, located at the rear in transaxle position to keep the weight distribution at 48:52 front-rear. It'll harness the 563bhp punch of the 6.3-litre AMG V8.

Mercedes SLS: the performance claims

The Gullwing will be blisteringly fast. Initial claims peg performance at 196mph flat out and 0-62mph in 3.8sec. And it should be pretty nifty through the corners, too: aluminium double wishbones are employed at each corner.

We’ll see the SLS in undisguised form over the summer, ahead of its motor show debut at Frankfurt in September 2009. As previously scooped by CAR, a soft-top roadster is also in the product cycle, tipped for launch in 2012.

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By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet