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Benz begins building SLS AMG

Hands on: Production of the fleet-footed Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG has started at Sindelfingen, Germany.

First Australian deliveries draw closer as SLS AMG supercar production commences

29 Jan 2010

PRODUCTION of the gullwinged SLS AMG super-coupe has started at Sindelfingen in Germany, Mercedes-Benz’s largest assembly plant.

The European luxury car-maker marked the occasion, just four months after the supercar’s world debut at the Frankfurt motor show last September.

Final Australian production numbers are yet to be locked in, but will number between 50 and 70 this year, with first local deliveries expected to commence in July or August. European customers will take delivery from March 27.

Mercedes-Benz so far has received more than 30 paid-up orders for the ‘hand-built’ model, despite an indicative manufacturer’s list price of around $500,000 (plus on-road costs), but says it has “many more” expressions of interest.

The SLS will be Mercedes’ biggest launch for 2010, following the release of the new 212-series E-class Estate this month, an EU5 emissions-compliant Sprinter van late next month and the CLK-replacing E-class Cabriolet in May.

“The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG has been extremely well received by our customers,” said Mercedes-Benz Cars head of sales and marketing Dr Joachim Schmidt.

4 center imageLeft: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. Below: AMG V8 production.

“Even in advance of the actual market launch, orders have considerably exceeded our expectations. This shows that the exciting design and extraordinary concept of our gullwing model precisely meet the taste and aspirations of potential customers.”

Mercedes used the opportunity to highlight the new gullwing model’s high-quality production process at Sindelfingen, which was deemed in 2008 to have the best vehicle delivery quality of any automotive production plant worldwide by respected US market research institute JD Power and Associates.

“Made in Sindelfingen also stands for the very highest production and product quality where the SLS AMG is concerned,” said Daimler chairman and Mercedes-Benz Cars CEO, Dr Dieter Zetsche.

“From the end of March, our customers will be able to verify this for themselves.”

As the first model to be developed fully in-house by Mercedes-AMG in its 40-year history, the SLS’s 420kW/650Nm dry-sump 6.2-litre V8 is assembled by hand at the AMG engine workshops in Affalterbach, under the “one man, one engine” principle.

Matched with a seven-speed double-clutch automated manual transmission in a transaxle configuration, it will be front/mid-mounted in an aluminium spaceframe body with gullwing doors, which weighs just 241kg.

The chassis and aluminium bodyshell are produced by Austrian company Magna Steyr in Graz, where the Mercedes-Benz G-class has been in production since 1979.

Mercedes says the assembly lines and production facilities at Sindelfingen were upgraded to latest standards specifically for final assembly of the SLS, which is put together by specially selected and trained technicians.

As we’ve reported, Mercedes-Benz’s answer to Ferrari has a kerb weight of 1620kg, front/rear weight distribution of 47/53 per cent and aluminium double wishbone suspension at both ends.

Putting the SLS right in the ballpark of its direct supercar rivals, Benz claims 0-100km/h acceleration in 3.8 seconds, on its way to an electronically limited top speed of 317km/h, with combined average fuel consumption of 13.2L/100km.

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