Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren

Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren specs
Top Speed: 207 mph / 334 km/h
0-60 mph: 3.6 seconds
0-100 mph: 7.6 seconds
0 - 1/4 Mile: 11.6 sec.
Engine: V8 5.5 liter 626 bhp @ 6500 rpm
A blast from the past and a taste of the future, this might just be a good description of the latest sports car that came out from a collaboration of Mercedes-Benz and McLaren, two big giants in the car manufacturing industry. We're talking about the 2004 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. This sports car combines the old yet astounding SLR race cars of the 50s and the latest and meanest technology of high-performance supercars. With the power of race cars and the sleek, curves and designs of a luxury car, the combination from the two car manufacturers is hard to beat.

This supercar is definitely fast. SLR McLaren sports a 626-horsepower supercharged 5.5-liter V8. Also, it has a full carbon-fiber monocoque, features crash structures and body panels. And with the supercharge V8 engine, you can see the 2004 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren go from naught to 60 miles per hour in less than 3.6 seconds. Top speed has been measured to exceed 200 mph, a feat that can only be achieved by very few even among the high performance sports cars. It was the high-performance division of Mercedes-Benz which created the V8s. The AMG were the ones who hand-build the supercharged V8 engines with top notched precision and quality. It is not at a big surprise to see the supercharged 5.5 (5439 cc) liter dry sumped 90 degree V8 engine to produce around 466.8 kW at 6500 rpm (626 hp) and 780 N·m (575 ft·lbf) torque at 3250 - 5000 rpm. The numbers maybe daunting but the sound of the engine will appease the minds of those who long for the perfect high performance cars.

Mounting that V8 engine into the body of SLR exotic car is also not as traditional as one would like to expect. The engine in SLR sports car is placed in a front mid-engine position just behind the front wheels. Instead of using the traditional oil-pan, dry-sump lubricants are used. With this innovation, it is highly possible to mount the engine to a level that used to be unachievable. Because of the low position of the engine in the supercar's body, the results are more than one hoped. The new Mercedez-Benz SLR McLaren race car has better aerodynamics and better handling due to the lower center of gravity.

Not only does the mean features of the sports car that attracts attention but how the two car companies were able to fuse their own traditions and expertise into a single exotic car. For one, McLaren's expertise in Formula 1 has been imbibed wholly by the SLR's design. The composition of carbon fiber material that was used in the body of the new SLR sports car is so Formula 1. Because of this body, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren has become more rigid and surprisingly strong.

But not to be outdone, counterpart Mercedes-Benz has also put a few tricks of its own. The German car maker added features that are deemed essential to the most important part of the vehicle: the passengers. Due to backgrounds in mostly luxury cars, Mercedes-Benz has ensured maximum occupant protection and safety. To my knowledge, the SLR is the only car so far that utilizes front crash structure made entirely of carbon fiber. The importance of this carbon fiber design can only be appreciated in actual crash test simulations. What the front carbon fiber crash structure does is it absorbs crash energy, four - five times more energy than ordinary steel structures actually, during a severe frontal collision. This protects the passengers during such accidents four times more than traditional steel structures found in other sports cars and supercars.

The SLR also has a five speed automatic transmission. There are modes, the Sport, Comfort and Manual which basically covers every known driving style. Sport is for everyday use, Comfort for bumpy or slippery roads, and Manual gives you control over the gears either through the touchpad or the levers on the steering wheel. When you use Manual, you open up three more modes, namely Sport, Supersport and Race. Speed increased significantly as you go up shifts.

Other notable features in this sports car include the high-performance technologies of ceramic brakes. The SLR uses ceramic reinforced with fiber on its brake pads. This technology allows this exotic car to have astonishing stopping power, and extraordinary high resistance to heat, exceptionally strong structure and long service life for the brakes.

With all these features it is not surprising that the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren is classified as a sports car and a supercar. Remember to get this right, though, the "SLR" does not stand for "Sportlich, Leicht, Rennsport" which is German for "Sport; Light; Racing" as most people think. Its real meaning is "super-leicht, Rennsport" which means "super-light, racing." The sports car is being sold with a base price of €443,066 £300,000 or $450,000.

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