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First look: Mercedes-Benz's slinky SLR supercar

Supercar: Benz says its new SLR McLaren will be a "bridge between the past and the future".

Mercedes-Benz releases first pictures of its new SLR supercar, due in September

2 Jun 2003

THE wait is over: Mercedes-Benz has released the first official pictures of its new SLR McLaren supercar, a virtual racecar for the street to rival Ferrari's ferocious Enzo.

Due to make its world premiere at its home-turf motor show in Frankfurt this September, the SLR is said to "mark the reawakening of Mercedes-Benz's passion for super sports cars".

By reviving the tradition of the original 1955 SLR Coupe, which never made it into series production after the Stuttgart car-maker pulled out of motorsport the same year, the SLR is claimed to be a "bridge between the past and the future".

Representing stylistic elements from both the original SLR and the company's 2003 Formula One "Silver Arrow", the 2003 SLR is the product of Mercedes-Benz and its F1 partner, McLaren - a marriage of the former's racing history and the latter's F1 success, if you like.

The companies' collective experience in the development, construction and production of high-performance sports cars is claimed not only to result in pioneering developments and ground-breaking performance figures, but also unprecedented levels of safety and practicality.

Examples of the SLR's employment of motorsport technology for the road include the use of carbon-fibre composite materials in the chassis and body - which is said to boast a level of rigidity and strength never before achieved in road-going vehicles - and the braking system's use of fibre-reinforced ceramics, delivering extreme heat resistance, outstanding structural strength and long service life.

At the heart of SLR lies an even more powerful version of the supercharged V8 found in the blistering SL55 AMG used as an F1 pace car. In that guise, the engine produces 368kW and some 700Nm of torque.

Hand-built at Mercedes-AMG's custom engine manufacturing facility, the hottest V8 ever seen from Mercedes is expected to push the two-seater SLR McLaren coupe from standstill to 100km/h in three seconds, and on to a top speed of 320km/h.

It is believed most of the limited number of SLRs to be built are already spoken for, with a number of Australian buyers on the order book despite the expected $1 million pricetag.

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