Mercedes-Benz At The 2009 IAA: The Mercedes SLS AMG Gullwing

The 63rd International Motor Show kicked off in Frankfurt, Germany today, and with it came the debut of the Mercedes SLS AMG

Words Thomas Philips
April 17, 2014
The 63rd International Motor Show kicked off in Frankfurt, Germany today, and with it came the debut of the Mercedes SLS AMG
Words Thomas Philips April 17, 2014

Automotive fascination and high tech of the highest order – these are the characteristics embodied by the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. The super sports car boasts a purist design, consistent lightweight design, superior driving dynamics and exemplary safety.

The new super sports car from Mercedes-Benz and AMG dazzles with its unparalleled technology package: an aluminium space-frame bodyshell with gullwing doors; an AMG 6.3-litre, front-mid V8 engine with 420 kW/571 hp peak output, 650 Nm of torque, and dry sump lubrication; seven-speed dual-clutch transmission in a transaxle configuration; and sports suspension with aluminium double-wishbones. It’s a unique combination that guarantees supreme driving dynamics. The car’s ideal weight distribution between the front and rear axles (47 to 53 percent respectively), its low centre of gravity and DIN kerb weight of 1,620 kilograms emphasize the outstanding sports car concept. The Gullwing model accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds and has a top speed of 317 km/h (electronically limited). The fuel consumption of 13.2 litres per 100 kilometres (combined) is best-in-class (all values provisional).

2010 Mercedes SLS AMG Gullwing super sports car

2010 Mercedes SLS AMG Gullwing super sports car

Design: Purist, distinctive, and passionate

The purist design of the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG dazzles with its passionate sportiness and reinterprets the breathtaking design of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. The stylistic highlight is without a doubt the gullwing doors, which impart the SLS AMG with incomparable charisma. The long bonnet, the low greenhouse positioned far back, and the short rear with the extendable rear spoiler symbolise dynamics, as do the long wheelbase, the wide track, and the large wheels. It is not just the gullwing doors that awaken reminiscences of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. The wide radiator grille with the large Mercedes star, the wing-like cross fin on the bonnet and the vehicle flanks are also reminiscent of the legendary sports car.

Aviation engineering provided the inspiration to the Mercedes-Benz designers for the interior. The characteristic styling feature is the dashboard, whose powerful and dramatic wing-shape makes for an impression of width. The four prominent dashboard air vents with their adjustable, cruciform nozzles are reminiscent of a jet’s engines. The elongated centre console made of solid matt metal also takes up the plane cockpit theme. Among other things, the centre console incorporates the AMG DRIVE UNIT, which enables SLS owners to customise their vehicle set-up. The AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission is operated by means of the E-SELECT lever, which resembles a jet’s thrust control. Despite the low seating position typical of a sports car, the wide opening gullwing doors ensure easy entry and exit. The gullwing doors require less room to open than do conventional coupe doors and can be completely opened in standard sized garages.

Aluminium space frame for light weight and highest strength

The SLS is taking a new approach in its body concept. For the first time ever, Mercedes-Benz and AMG are presenting an automobile, whose chassis and body are made of aluminium. This leads to significant weight savings compared to the traditional steel construction, as shown by the car’s DIN kerb weight of only 1,620 kilograms. The newly developed aluminium space-frame bodyshell combines intelligent, lightweight design with high strength – and thus benefits the excellent handling dynamics. The aluminium space frame is 45 per cent aluminium profiles, 31 per cent aluminium panelling, 20 per cent cast aluminium and four per cent steel. The use of ultra high-tensile, hot-rolled steel in the A-pillars provides a further increase in occupant safety. The shell weighs 241 kilograms – an absolute peak value in the super sports car segment. The highest possible degree of passive safety is guaranteed for the occupants by the vehicle’s standard equipment, which includes three-point seatbelts, seat-belt tensioners, belt force limiters, and eight airbags.

Further-developed AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine with an output of 420 kW/571 hp

The heart of the SLS is a powerful eight-cylinder engine with dry sump lubrication. The AMG 6.3-litre V8 produces 420 kW/571 hp at 6,800 rpm and develops a maximum torque of 650 Nm at 4,750 rpm. The SLS accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 317 km/h (all figures are preliminary). The SLS AMG consumes 13.2 litres per 100 kilometres (combined, preliminary figure). Efficiency-enhancement measures include not only the LDS cylinder bore linings but also a need-based fuel delivery and the recovery of braking energy.

The AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine delivers its power to the rear axle via a dual-clutch transmission permanently connected to the engine housing via a torque tube. A carbon shaft rotates at engine speed inside the torque tube. Power transfer is via the new AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT seven-speed sports transmission. This dual-clutch transmission boasts fast gear changes with no interruption of tractive force and offers four driving modes. The mechanical differential lock guarantees optimum traction.

Sophisticated chassis layout with double-wishbone suspension

All four wheels are guided on dual A-arms with track rod. The A-arms, the steering knuckles and hub carriers at the front and rear axles are made of aluminium. The Gullwing model comes with a 3-stage ESP® as standard. The AMG high-performance brake system with composite brake discs on the front axle ensures short braking distances. Even better braking performance is offered by the optional ceramic-composite brake system. Weight-optimised AMG light alloy wheels in accordance with the new, innovative flow-forming principle, 9.5 x 19 inches at the front, and 11.0 x 20 inch at the rear, are fitted with 265/35 R 19 tyres up front and 295/30 R 20 tyres at the rear.

The reinterpretation of the Gullwing model will celebrate its market launch in spring 2010. The price will be 177,310 euros (incl. 19% VAT).

New Gullwing model with purely electric high-tech drive system: The electric Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG concept car – the exciting future of the super sports car

Mercedes AMG is paving the way ahead. In the form of the new SLS AMG with electric drive, the performance brand within Mercedes-Benz Cars is developing an exciting super sports car with a zero-emission high-tech drive system. With this model, Mercedes-Benz and AMG are displaying their expertise in the development of alternative drive solutions for high-performance super sports cars, delivering further proof of their pioneering status in this market segment.

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG with electric drive transforms the vision of powerful and locally emission-free super sports cars into reality thanks to an innovative drive system. Powerful forward thrust is provided by four electric motors with a combined peak output of 392 kW and a maximum torque of 880 Nm. The four electric motors are positioned near the wheels, substantially reducing the unsprung masses compared to wheel-hub motors. One transmission per axle transmits the power. This intelligent all-wheel drive system allows dynamically optimised power transmission without any losses by means of torque vectoring – in other words the specific, targeted acceleration of individual wheels. In its first, pilot phase, the SLS AMG with electric drive incorporates a liquid-cooled, high-voltage lithium-ion battery of modular design with an energy content of 48 kWh and a capacity of 40 Ah. The 400-volt battery is charged by means of targeted regeneration during braking whilst the car is being driven.

Acceleration from zero to 100 km/h in around 4 seconds

When it comes to dynamics, the electrically driven SLS AMG delivers an unequivocal statement: The Gullwing model accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in around 4 seconds, putting it on the same high level as the SLS AMG with a 6.3-litre V8 engine developing 420 kW/571 hp.

“With the SLS AMG with electric drive, we wanted to redefine the super sports car. For us, it is not just an issue of responsibility. We attach just as much importance to fascination and classic AMG performance,” says Volker Mornhinweg, Chief Executive Officer of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

Optimal weight distribution and low centre of gravity

The purely electric drive system was factored into the equation as early as the concept phase when the new Gullwing model was being developed by Mercedes-Benz and AMG. It is ideally packaged for the integration of high-performance, zero-emission technology. By way of example, the four electric motors and the two transmissions can be positioned near the wheels and very low down in the vehicle. The same applies to the modular high-current battery, whose modules are located in front of the bulkhead, in the centre tunnel and behind the seats. Advantages of this solution include the vehicle’s low centre of gravity and the balanced weight distribution – ideal conditions for optimum handling, which the electrically powered SLS AMG shares with its petrol-driven sister model.

Key data at a glance:

Peak output: 392 kW

Torque: 880 Nm

0-100 km/h: Approx. 4 sec.

Rated capacity: 40 Ah (at 400 V)

Energy content: 3x 16 kWh = 48 kWh

The installation of the drive components required no changes whatsoever to the Gullwing model’s aluminium space-frame bodyshell. And there were just as few constraints when it came to maintaining the excellent level of passive safety and high degree of long-distance comfort that are hallmarks of Mercedes cars.

Strategic alliance for fast electrification of the car

With the electrically powered SLS AMG, Mercedes-Benz and AMG are continuing to pursue their aim of minimizing the amount of time it will take to bring about the electrification of the car. The strategic involvement in Deutsche Accumotive GmbH & Co. KG, a joint venture between Daimler AG and Evonik Industries AG, will provide the battery technology required in future. Daimler has the leading role in this joint venture, whose mission is to develop and produce batteries and battery systems for automotive applications.