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Mercedes SLS AMG (2009): official photos and sketches

Published: 08 April 2009

These are the first interior photos and exterior design sketches of Mercedes’ SLS AMG, the 563bhp gullwing-door successor to the SLR that will be unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show in September 2009. 

The official sketch reveals a bold grille with – you guessed it – the three-pointed star hogging centre stage, sweptback headlamps (Nissan GTR, anyone?), deeply scalloped side gills and a low, pillarbox-style glasshouse. Not forgetting, of course, the gullwing doors that ape the 1950s original.

What should I know about the cabin of the Mercedes SLS AMG?

That it’s a mixture of unique fixtures and fittings, plus a couple of disappointing parts lifted from lesser Mercs. The special parts are quite impressive though – the driver sits behind a three-spoke steering wheel equipped with paddle shifts that control the new rear-mounted seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox.

And if the big rev counter that reads to 9000rpm isn’t enough to warn the driver when they’re homing in on the redline, there are seven shift lights alongside. Below this is a digital display with temperature readouts for the oil, water and transmission.

The new SLS has a seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox?

Yes, and it’s located at the rear in the transaxle position, while the 6.2-litre V8 is front-mid mounted to help the SLS achieve a 48:52 front-rear weight distribution. Drivers can choose between four modes for the gearbox: controlled efficiency, sport, sports-plus and manual mode, using a dial on the hefty transmission tunnel. The rotary electronic switch is part of the AMG Drive Unit, a similar system to that on the new E63 AMG.

The other controls in the Drive Unit include a Start button for the engine, another that allows manual control for the rear spoiler, and a third ESP. There’s also an ‘AMG’ button, thought to be similar in set-up to BMW’s M button that allows the driver to preset his favourite settings and select them all at once.

There are also four circular air vents, the rotary dial for the Comand multi-media system, and the whole cabin looks fairly solid. But we’re not too impressed by the five blank buttons below the entertainment system – not what you expect when the car is expected to cost €150,000 (£135k).

Anything else I should know?

The SLS is largely aluminium with aluminium double wishbone suspension, while Mercedes claims the SLS will hit 62mph in 3.8 seconds and have a top speed of 196mph.

We’ll see the coupe at the Frankfurt show in September, while a soft-top roadster is tipped to launch in 2012.

>> Want an SLS AMG? CLick 'Add your comment' below and let us know whether you'd pick one over an Audi R8

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy

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