By Nauman Farooq
Ask any auto enthusiast as to what is in their mind the first ever production supercar, and they will likely tell you about the Mercedes-Benz 300SL (a.k.a. Gullwing) from 1953.
While the original Gullwing’s performance might not be anything special compared to modern supercars, but in its day, it was the fastest road car in the world, capable of speeds upto 245 km/h.
Now for 2010, there is a new Gullwing. It is called the SLS, and it is properly fast, with a top speed of 315 km/h (it can go faster still if you remove the electronic speed limiter).
More relevant is its acceleration figures. It can go from a standstill to our Ontario highway speed limit (0-100 km/h) in just 3.8 seconds, so it will indeed take you very little time to get a big ticket if you’re not being careful.
Some car enthusiasts might point out that the recently discontinued Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722S was even faster still (top speed 340 km/h, 0-100km/h in 3.6 seconds), but that was a limited run hyper-car, while Mercedes-Benz hopes to produce the SLS in much larger quantity.
Plus the SLS will be quite a lot cheaper than the SLR 722S. Canadian pricing for the SLS has just been announced, and it starts at $198,000 (the SLR 722S was worth nearly $550,000).
So what do you get for your money when you buy an SLS. First of all, you get those gorgeous gullwing doors, which will no doubt be one of the biggest reasons it will attract customers. Once inside they will be greeted by all the gadgets they would expect from a high-end Mercedes-Benz product. So things like satellite navigation, high-end stereo and automatic climate control are a given. However, SLS customers will be able to upgrade and customize seats and trimmings to their liking. So you can have an SLS in any color you want, inside and out, for a fee ofcourse.
Two things you can’t ask the factory to tweak just yet is its powertrain. Not that you’d want to anyway, because it already has an incredible engine. It’s a 6.2-liter, normally-aspirated, V8 with four-valves per cylinder, which produces 563hp and 479 lb/ft of torque.
All this power goes to only the rear-wheels via a new seven-speed, Getrag dual-clutch gearbox with paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel. This transmission has four modes of operation, “C” (Controlled Efficiency), “S” (Sport), “S+” (Sport Plus) and “M” (Manual).
Just to be sure you don’t get too carried away, the SLS will come fitted with all the latest safety and security features (Airbags, ABS brakes, Traction and Stability control systems, etc.) that one expects from a Mercedes-Benz product these days.
Deliveries for the SLS starts later this year.