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Tony O'Kane | Sep 9, 2009

PHOTOGRAPHS OF MERCEDES-BENZ'S highly-anticipated SLS AMG have surfaced online, roughly a week ahead of its official unveiling at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.

The spiritual descendant of the classic 1950s-era 300SL and the successor to the McLaren-Mercedes SLR, the SLS combines the best technology available from Mercedes-Benz's in-house tuner AMG with a healthy dose of retro-style glamour.

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The car's long-bonneted proportions and distinctive roof-hinged gullwing doors are an obvious tip of the hat to the 300SL of yore, as are the straked bonnet vents, shark-like gills on the fenders and that gaping, wide-mouthed grille.

The SLS's rump, on the other hand, is more conventional, and boasts a cleaner, sleeker and more modern shape.

Interior styling elements are also a homage to the 300SL, with key features being an upright dashboard and gimball-mount air vents.

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Power will be provided by a front-mid mounted 6.2 litre AMG-tuned V8 engine, which will churn out 420 kilowatts of power and 650 Newton-metres of torque.

The V8's output will be channeled through a seven-speed twin-clutch transaxle, mounted in the back to help bring weight distribution to 48-52 front to rear.

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An aluminium spaceframe chassis and the extensive use of lightweight components reins kerb weight in to just over 1600kg - around 140kg less than the SLR.

Performance is expected to be supercar-quick, and the 0-100km/h sprint is claimed to be done away with in just 3.8 seconds. Top speed? In excess of 310km/h.

Motorsport-style carbon-ceramic brakes are to be standard, and will feature six-piston calipers clamping 390mm rotors up front and 360mm rotors paired with four-piston calipers at the rear.

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A range of performance-enhancing options will be offered as well, options like a carbon-fibre bonnet, sports bucket seats, forged 10-spoke wheels and a track-oriented suspension package.

European pricing is believed to start at around €177,310 (AU$298,900) when it arrives in German showrooms early next year.

More details will be released at the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG's official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show on September 15.

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