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Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: Ready for take off

The Frankfurt floodgates have opened and we find ourselves in the midst of a deluge of supercars. This time we've received a batch of photos of Mercedes-Benz's revival of the 300SL Gullwing, the SLS AMG.

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Derek Fung, Antuan Goodwin
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On a wing and a prayer, part I

The Frankfurt floodgates have opened and we find ourselves in the midst of a deluge of supercars. This time we've received a batch of photos of Mercedes-Benz's revival of the 300SL Gullwing, the SLS AMG.

The SLS's real draw is its design homage to the 300SL Gullwing.

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On a wing and a prayer, part II

The door hinge is upward from the roof, giving the car the profile of a seagull in flight.

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Instant classic?

The SLS also features the classic long-hood, short overhang design of the sports cars of old, with a small passenger compartment mounted just ahead of the rear axle.

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A lot of brrrm, part I

Under the SLS AMG's long hood is a version of the V8 that we've seen powering every Merc of this generation with an AMG badge. Despite the "6.3" badge, this engine actually displaces 6.2 litres.

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A lot of brrrm, part II

Output has been tuned to 420kW of power and 650Nm of torque. The extra power comes partially from all-new intake and exhaust systems and a re-jiggered valve train.

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Easy does it

Mercedes-Benz claims that opening and closing the gullwing doors is a cinch thanks to the gas struts on the doors.

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Fast and comfy

As far as the SLS is concerned, going fast doesn't mean going without creature comforts. The Comand APS entertainment, navigation and telephone system fitted to the SLS should be instantly familiar to anyone who's driven an C- or E-Class.

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A conscience quickly

Although the first batch of SLSes will all be petrol powered, if you want to mix high speed, luxury and gullwings with a tinge of Peter Garrett, Mercedes-Benz is working an electric SLS.

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Swift and Shift, part I

Power flows through a SpeedShift seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and down an exotic carbon fibre driveshaft before meeting the road at the rear wheels.

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Swift and Shift, part II

The gearbox features three driving modes for Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus, as well as an automated manual mode. 100km/h happens in a blistering 3.8 seconds, while top speed is electronically limited to 317km/h.

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Wait for it

The SLS goes on sale in the northern spring (Q2) of 2010.

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Save those pennies

In Europe, the SLS will retail for €177,310 (AU$300,000). Thanks to our luxury car tax and small market, you can expect the price to rise considerably when it goes on sale here in the middle of next year.

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Float like a (carbon fibre) feather

An aluminium space frame body keeps the weight to a not unreasonable 1620kg.

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Would sir like fries with that?

Options include six-disc DVD stacker, Bang & Olufsen sound system and carbon fibre interior trim.

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1954 300SL, part I

As we've mentioned already, the SLS AMG is inspired by the 300SL. The original car's reputation lay not just with its distinctive gullwing doors, but also its performance in racing, as well as its advanced technology, like its aluminium construction and direct injection engine.

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1954 300SL, part II

While the doors on the modern day SLS are partially a stylistic and marketing ploy, the gullwing design on the original was required because the 300SL's tubular chassis precluded the use of normal swing-out doors.

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