The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren was inspired by the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe Racecar of 1955 which was a modified Mercedes-Benz W196 F1 race car. It was introduced in November 2003 and the last of the coupes rolled off the production line at the end of 2007. The car we have for sale is a late model registered in 2007 and originally purchased in the middle east. It has had a cossetted life, most of which has been in climate controlled storage and has been driven on so few occasions that the odometer indicates a meagre 1000 miles.
Using carbon fibre reinforced plastics construction in order to keep the weight low it features active aerodynamics utilising a spoiler mounted on the rear integral air brake flap. The SLR sports a hand-built front mid-mounted 5,439 cc, supercharged, all-aluminium, SOHC, V8 engine with cylinders angled at 90 degrees and three valves per cylinder, all of which is lubricated via a dry sump system. The engine generates a maximum power of 626 PS (460 kW; 617 hp) at 6,500 rpm and maximum torque of 780 Nm (580 lb/ft) at 3,250 to 5,000 rpm. McLaren took the original concept car designed by Mercedes and moved the engine 1 metre behind the front bumper and around 50 centimetres behind the front axle. The transmission is an extremely durable AMG Speedshift R five-speed automatic with three manual modes.
When tested by ‘Car and Driver’ the SLR achieved a 0 to 60 mph time of 3.4 seconds, and a quarter-mile time of 11.2 seconds at 130 mph. They achieved top gear acceleration 30-50 mph and 50-70 mph 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 1.13 g on the skidpan. It was suggested the times may be even lower if temperatures were lower.
The Press Review. ………………it’s difficult to forget that I’m just about to get into a £313,540 car and mix it with the busy inner city traffic. The gill-like slashes in the front wings make a referential nod back to its famous racing ancestors. But of all the historical styling cues, it’s those ‘gullwing’ doors are the most famous and dramatic. Hinged from the top and bottom of the A-pillar opening the doors to get in they move upwards and away from you in a neat arc. The McLaren badged speedometer reads all the way to 360kph (224mph) and the neat speaker covers in the door ape the cooling vents on the front wing. There are also other controls not present in other Mercedes models, like the one for adjusting the rear spoiler, but really, if it weren’t for the big SLR badge rather unsubtly emblazoned on the centre console you could easily forget that this is a bespoke, 200mph, £313,540 missile. Proof of the SLR’s exotic build is more apparent from the outside. Look at the base of the windscreen at the air vents and the carbon fibre that makes up the SLR’s structure is revealed. It’s one of the few tantalising glimpses of the SLR’s complex construction, but for those wanting a real carbon fest you can always open the bonnet. Do so and you’ll see the SLR’s 5.5-litre supercharged engine nestling well behind the front axle, cradled in a nest of exquisitely constructed carbon-fibre and aluminium; if precise engineering is your thing, then you really should look under an SLR’s bonnet. It’s a shame then that given the amount of attention, sheer effort and the innovation that’s been required to build a car boasting 95% of its structure being made up of carbon fibre, that they’ve not been more proud of their achievement. Surely here, Mercedes, and McLaren have some bragging rights?
An interior featuring some of the McLaren’s impressive ability with carbon fibre would add so much more to the car, and unlike so many cars with carbon inside – be relevant. The carbon-fibre bucket seats prove it. Thinly padded in leather you can see the carbon weave between the cushions, resulting in a seat that’s not only beautiful to sit in, but also to look at. To start the engine you flip up a cover on top of the gear stick and push a button. It’s a bit of a convoluted process, but it proves more than worth it when the SLR’s AMG developed 5.5-litre, supercharged V8 engine turns over for the first time. Leaving the door open when starting that monstrous engine allows you to get the full effect. With its exhaust venting out just behind the front wheels the SLR’s deep purposeful rumble from those short pipes lets you know that under that huge bonnet lies something very special indeed. It’s surprisingly docile threading the SLR though traffic. The five-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly in ‘comfort’ mode, and the steering feels nicely assisted on the move around town. Out of the city’s confines the roads are rather too busy and far from straight enough for driving the SLR at over three miles a minute. So instead I settle into the easy 100mph cruise with the traffic. It’s exactly this sort of driving that the SLR is intended for. Mercedes themselves describe their flagship as a “grand turismo for the 21st century”, deliberately distancing it from surprising amount of other hyper-performance cars costing £300,000+ that are currently available. On the road its pace proves truly extraordinary. The way it gathers speed being utterly relentless, it reaching 62mph from standstill in just 3.8 seconds, and managing double that in a staggering 10.8 seconds. That’s ferocious pace, and its fairground ride intense in the way you feel its energy. Even the smallest of flexes of the right pedal results in massive bursts of acceleration. There are parts of the driving experience that are utterly beguiling. Chiefly, the glorious noise emitted by its 5.5-litre supercharged V8 engine, it’s note sounds like you’d imagine the spawn of a weird mating of a piston engined warplane and a Can-Am racecar might. It’s a noise that you not only hear, but you feel too. Standing at the side of the road when the SLR goes past under power is a physical occurrence, the pulsing shockwave it produces working right through you. Inside the cockpit you get the rousing aural effect, without the physicality of the sound experienced by those outside, either way it’s spectacular. The car.