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CATEGORIES (articles) > Cars we emulate > McLaren > Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Overview

Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Overview

Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren
Manufacturer: DaimlerChrysler AG
McLaren Cars

The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren is a sports car and supercar automobile co-developed by DaimlerChrysler and McLaren Cars. It is assembled at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, England. Most people presume "SLR" to stand for "Sportlich, Leicht, Rennsport" (German for "Sport; Light; Racing"), while it actually means "super-leicht, Rennsport" (super-light, racing).The car's base price is £300,000 or $455,500 (including $2500 freight and $3000 gas-guzzler tax).

A new version was introduced in 2006 called the "2007 Mercedes-Benz SLR 722 Edition". The "722" refers to the victory by Stirling Moss and his co-driver Denis Jenkinson in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR with the starting number 722 (indicating a start time of 7.22 a.m.) at the Mille Miglia in 1955. The "722 Edition" creates 650BHP, with a top speed of 334 km/h (3 more than the previous) and 0 to 62 in 3.6 seconds. Countering the problems from the previous, a new suspension is used with 19-inch light-alloy wheels, a stiffer damper configuration and 0.4 inches lower body.


The Mercedes McLaren SLR is inspired by the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR of 1955. This sports car racer was actually based on the W196 F1 car, yet named after the road-going Mercedes 300SL Gullwing.


The SLR has a supercharged 5.5 (5439cc) litre dry sumped 90 degree V8. It produces 466.8 kW at 6500rpm (626 hp) and 780 N·m (575 ft·lbf) torque at 3250 - 5000 rpm. AMG technicians took the original SL-55 AMG engine and optimized its capacities by enlarging the fuel pump, the cylinders, and put a larger cooling system that absorbs air to cool down the engine. It has 3 valves per cylinder with SOHC. This is very unusual as most supercars, indeed most modern cars, have DOHC and 4 valves per cylinder. The Twin-screw type supercharger and the 2 aluminium rotors have a maximum speed of 23,000 rpm. It is mounted between the two engine banks and uses 120bhp at maximum capacity.

Unlike most of its contemporaries, its engine is front-mid mounted. McLaren took the original concept car designed by Mercedes and moved the engine fully 1metre behind the front bumper, and around 50cm behind the front axle. They also optimised the design of the centre firewall.


The brake discs are carbon-ceramic which provide better stopping power and fade resistance than steel discs. Mercedes-Benz claim these disks are fade resistant to 1000 °C. The front disks are internally vented and 370mm in diameter. 8 piston calipers are used. The result of these massive rotors is a maximum braking power of 1500kw. When it is wet the calipers automatically skim the surface of the disks to keep them dry.

The SLR also has a spoiler mounted on the rear which pops up when braking from high speeds. The spoiler greatly increases drag at high speeds. See ([1] 1/) for a picture of the spoiler down and ([2] 1/) up (in use). This additional braking power on the order of 0.25g of deceleration helps the car to stop quicker than any other car of its category.

The SLR has been criticised for its braking performance. While all agree that the brakes are extremely powerful, some critics argue they are either "on or off". Such critics include Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond. In addition to this when the SLR is under braking extra fuel is pumped in to cool the engine. Since the exhausts are mounted in front of the driver's position the smell of unburnt fuel is noticed in the cabin.

Clarkson commented that "[The brakes] glow when you use them, and catch fire when you use them a lot".


The SLR comes with a five speed automatic transmission with three separate modes: Sport, Comfort and Manual. Sport used for everyday use, Comfort starts in second gear for bumpy roads. Manual allows the driver to shift gears with the touchpad or the simple levers on the steering wheel. When in Manual, three additional modes (Sport, Supersport, Race) on the second dial can be used, each significantly making quicker shift times. This is the same transmission as used in other performance models such as the SL65 AMG. The Mercedes-Benz seven speed automatic transmission as used on the SLK 55 AMG cannot handle power and torque output of the SLR; hence it is fitted with only a five speed transmission.

The gear ratios are as follows: 3.56:1, 2.19:1, 1.41:1, 1.00:1, 0.831:1.


Mercedes-Benz claims that the car accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds, 200 in 10.6 seconds, and 300 km/h in 28.8 seconds, and has a top speed of 334 km/h (208 mph) which made it the fastest automatic car in the world until 2005, when the Bugatti Veyron arrived. The car uses carbon fibre for its body construction which makes it lighter. The car is, however still quite heavy at 1768kg due to the numerous luxury items included in it.

Car and Driver got a 0-60 time of 3.6 seconds, and a quarter-mile time of 11.6 seconds at 125 mph. These are during a test session that took place in the late afternoon, when October temperatures were on the decline. C&D suggests the times may be even lower if temperatures were higher. Car and Driver got top gear acceleration 30-50mph and 50-70mph times of 1.7 and 2.4 seconds, which are the fastest ever recorded by the magazine in a production car. The SLR also pulled 0.97g on the skidpad.

The German magazine Auto Motor und Sport, in 2004, tested the SLR at the Nardo test track in southern Italy. They reported that the SLR accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds, 200 km/h in 10.7 seconds, and 300 km in 30.6 seconds. The car's 400-meter time and 1-km time were found to be 11.5 seconds at 207 km/h, and 20.5 seconds at 269 km/h, respectively.

(Note: 1 km = 0.62 mi, 1 mi = 1.61 km)


Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren
Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren

The SLR has been praised for many of its features. It is extremely fast, yet is comfortable enough that the car has been categorized as more of a "grand touring" car than a "supercar" (e.g. Porsche Carrera GT, Ferrari Enzo). Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear has noted that it's very easy to drive and simply puts "cruise control, electric seats, air conditioner, CD auto changer, and it does 208 miles an hour". It also seems to create a new category of "Super GT", as Jeremy successfully took it from London to Oslo (1320 miles) before a 25000BHP cruise liner. With a carbon fibre body that faired excellently in crash tests, it doesn't skip on safety either. No doubt its trademark feature is its scissor doors, a homage to the gullwing doors of the original 300 SLR.


The most criticised part of the car are the brakes "Its not that they don't work they do, but its the way they do it, they are either on or off" (Richard Hammond, on Top Gear). Although extremely powerful, they are described as binary, as if they were made for panic stops in 200mph. The car has also been described as being very firm and "boring" due to its automatic transmission. Adding insult to injury, 3 out of the 5 SLRs used in the 2006 edition of Gumball 3000 broke down due to the same alternator problem, giving it the title as the most unreliable car in the race. The preceding year brake failure forced one of the SLRs to leave the race.

Some car critics who have driven it do not like it and believe it to be a waste of money, as it costs 400,000 USD with all features. The problem is that it is a compromise between racing-car and grand-tourer, and apparently fulfills neither aim as a result. It is heavy – 1768kg – and is not a relaxing drive. One driver said his 15 year-old Porsche felt safer at high speed than this flawed racehorse. Many critics suggest the better buy is a Mercedes SL55 AMG - almost the same engine, and about £250,000 less


Mercedez-Benz has stated that they will build 3500 SLRs in a span of over 7 years, with an annual production of only 500 cars. The 1000th car was produced in February 2006, in black for a Japanese customer

Notable owners

  • Ted Bell - owner of the upscale steakhouse Ted's of Beverly Hills. Is president of the Beverly Hills Automobile Association (Note: Ted Bell is a fictitious character on the Phil Hendrie Radio Show and the steak house is a spin-off of the radio show, similar to the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. of Forest Gump fame)
  • Alex Chitty (Pearl White) at his house in Brighton, UK.
  • Paul Hawley (Orange) - Paul is the only person who has had Mercedes custom paint an SLR Orange, and had Gucci seats installed. Paul is from Edmonds, WA
  • Stefan Eriksson (black) — notable for his Enzo Ferrari crash and formerly of Gizmondo. His car was impounded by the City of Beverly Hills while being driven by his wife in March 2006. Also alleged to have wrecked another SLR in England.Full Coverage: Ferrari Enzo Crash in Malibu Accessed 6 April, 2006 (notation of it being impounded and him crashing another SLR near bottom of page) He is accused by authorities of stealing both of the above mentioned cars, plus a black Enzo and an additional two Mercedes - a total of $3.8million - from a UK finance company
  • Carl Freer — formerly of Gizmondo
  • Vikram Chatwal - Hotelier - silver 2005
  • Prince Naseem Hamed (silver)— former boxer, wrote it off in what was described by the judge as a "suicidal" head on smash. Jailed for 15 months,,2-2006220185,00.html
  • Thierry Henry - silver, in June 2005. Henry gave in to temptation and signed on the dotted line at a motor show in France. He is also known to own the SLR’s arch-rival from Porsche, the £300,000 Carrera GT, and an Aston Martin Vanquish, a positive bargain in comparison at just £170,000
  • Hamed Salem Al-Sabah (pearl white) - Member of the Kuwaiti Royal Family, Grandson of the late Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Al Sabah. Student at AUK (American University of Kuwait). Also owns the Enzo Ferrari (red).
  • Paris Hilton (black) - changed to an SLR after her boyfriend wrote-off her Bentley Continental GT
  • Jay Leno - added one to his huge car and motorcycle collection
  • Daniel Sadek — real estate investor turned film producer will feature his SLR McLarens in the upcoming Eddie Griffin film, Redline
  • Donald J. Trump (silver) - As seen in episode 8 of The Apprentice 5
  • Robbie Williams (black) - at his house in Los Angeles
  • Benjamin Corcoran black - at his house in Port Orchard , although he doesn't have a driving licence
  • Damon Jones (black) - plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers. MTV cribs shows his car.
  • Ja Rule (silver) - Co-CEO/Owner Of The Inc. Records, Multi-Platinum selling rapper.
  • Phil Ivey (silver) - Professional poker player, arguably the best tournament poker player in the world.

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