Mercedes-Benz is a step closer to delivering an electric version of its beautiful new SLS AMG supercar -- block-faced former F1 driver David Coulthard has had a go in a prototype, which bears the name SLS AMG E-Cell, and the company has released the footage.

The prototype has a slightly different design to the production petrol model. Its front vents have a set of horizontal bars across them, it has a new front splitter and its rear exhausts have been removed (for obvious reasons). It's also been painted a rather subtle shade of 'AMG lumilectric magno', which we like to call 'yellow'.

The speed of the E-Cell surprised Coulthard, which is no mean feat. Its four motors (one in each wheel) deliver a peak output of 525hp and a ludicrously high torque figure of 880Nm, which allow a 0-60mph sprint time of 4 seconds.

On paper, that would make the E-Cell slightly slower than a Tesla Roadster Sport, but Mercedes hasn't yet confirmed the E-Cell's maximum range or top speed, so there's every chance this German offering could trump its US rival in other departments.

Inside, the E-Cell looks much more futuristic than its petrol cousin. At the centre of the dashboard, you get a 25cm touchscreen, which driver and passenger can use to operate the audio, climate and navigation functions. The screen also gives vital feedback concerning the state of the car's batteries and the vehicle's remaining range.

Mercedes hasn't confirmed what the E-Cell will cost, but it's currently slated for a 2013 release date. Check out Coulthard's drop-jawed reaction in the video below, then take a look at some of the pictures in our gallery above.

Mercedes has done some tweaking of the standard SLS AMG to produce the E-Cell, but it's stuck to its guns with the gullwing doors.
The exhausts have been removed, but it still sports a spoiler, which deploys at high speed to improve downforce.
We're not huge fans of the yellow paintwork, but we assume Mercedes/AMG will offer it in something less... painful to look at.
That 25cm touchscreen lets users adjust the entertainment and navigation functions and tells you how much juice you have left.
The interior is as lush as we've seen in any electric car.
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