Mercedes-Benz's partnership with McLaren has yielded many technological benefits for the Stuttgart manufacturer and produced one of the outstanding vehicles of the last decade, the SLR.
However, the British company has been excluded from Mercedes' latest planned venture, the AMG SLS supercar, a successor to the SLR.
The SLS is a year away from being launched to the general public, but Mercedes has released publicity sketches and interior shots ahead of the New York Auto Show, one of the most hyped events on this year's motoring calendar.
While the SLR was essentially a Mercedes project, the company has decided to officially go solo this time around, calling upon in-house performance experts AMG to provide support as it seeks to surpass its previous effort.
In recent times, it has appeared that Mercedes has simply ignored its glorious racing heritage, choosing to instead focus on its recent achievements. The new SLS, however, will be a throwback to the 'Silver Bullets' of the 1950's, potentially heralding a new era for the manufacturer.
The front grille in particular appears to pay considerable homage to Mercedes' past, although at first glance, its general shape is simply an evolution of its predecessor as opposed to a complete overhaul.
The gullwing doors do make a return though, although Mercedes prefers to call them 'swing-wing' doors. Whatever. The top-hinged doors are a classy touch, not to mention a tip of the hat to the iconic 300SL of yore.
With the driving position well back, Mercedes has sought to emphasise the sporty nature of its new beast, claiming the central design theme is ?aviation engineering?.
Mercedes says this concept ?is reflected in the wing-shaped dashboard, the center console in the style of a jet's operating console and the four striking air vents reminiscent of aircraft engines".
The PR department at Mercedes-Benz does seem to have a way with words, though the complete lack of acknowledgement of McLaren's existence must be concerning in the wake of revelations the manufacturer won't guarantee its F1 future.
For more information on the SLS's interior, check out the press release below. For an overview of the 420kW v8-powered brute mechanical innards, have a read of this.
Lightweight construction, dynamism and emotion: swing-wing design
with a puristic super-sports car interior
Lightweight construction, dynamism and
emotion: swing-wing design with a puristic
super-sports car interior
New York/Affalterbach ? For the new SLS, Mercedes-Benz and AMG have developed a puristic sports car interior that combines lightweight construction with dynamism and high emotional appeal. Opening the unique swing-wing doors reveals an interior of a decidedly sporty nature ? and immediately brings an aircraft cockpit to mind. The central design theme of "aviation
engineering" is reflected in the wing-shaped dashboard, the center console in the style of a jet's operating console and the four striking air vents reminiscent of aircraft engines.
The interior of this new swing-wing car offers authentic motor sports practicality, the safety typical of a Mercedes and outstanding ergonomics. Fine materials such as nappa leather, solid metal and (optionally) genuine carbon-fiber facings underline the pronounced "custom-built" nature of the SLS interior, and show enormous attention to detail.
"The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is not only very special because of the exclusive swing-wing doors. The visible influence of aviation engineering, the high-grade materials and the practicality typical of a sports car will make the hearts of sports car enthusiasts beat faster. At the same time the new interior
styling indicates the design philosophy for coming generations of Mercedes sports cars", says Gordon Wagener, Head of Design at Mercedes-Benz.
Sport, purism, reduction and authenticity are the design emphases for the interior of the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. Above all, the design is influenced by the world of aviation ? which is clearly demonstrated by the new swing-wing. The
characteristic styling feature is the dashboard, whose powerful and dramatic wing-
shape makes for an impression of width. The four air vents with their adjustable, cruciform nozzles are reminiscent of a jet's engines. An aircraft cockpit is also the visual and practical design inspiration for the long "Silver Shadow" center console in solid metal, in which all the central controls including the AMG DRIVE UNIT, which is inclined towards the driver, are consolidated. On request the center
console and other features are also available in carbon fiber. As a new feature, the E-SELECT shift lever controls the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission on the drive-by-wire principle. Its shape immediately calls the thrust control
of a jet aircraft to mind, and the same applies to the concave inner panels of the swing-wing doors. The high waistline reinforces the cockpit-like impression, while imparting a feeling of safety and security at the same time.
All the controls are ergonomically grouped around the driver, easy to reach and intuitive to operate. In this respect too, the interior of the SLS is reminiscent of an aircraft cockpit. The logically conceived control and display concept follows well-proven Mercedes principles, easy identification of the major functions and rapid access to frequently used functions being the major attributes.
Interior with an authentic "custom-built" character
Electrically adjustable sports seats with integrated head restraints ensure
excellent lateral support and a high level of comfort on long journeys. The AMG Performance leather steering wheel in a three-spoke design has a 365-millimeter (14.4 inches) rim with a flattened lower section, shift paddles and a metal insert, underlining the authentic custom-built look in the same way as the attractive instrument
cluster. As standard equipment the SLS features hand-stitched designo leather with a contrasting seam on the dashboard, sports seats, interior door panels and armrests. Comfort and convenience features include THERMOTRONIC, cruise control with SPEEDTRONIC, PARKTRONIC, a rain sensor, Headlamp Assist and KEYLESS-GO. Even more onboard comfort is ensured by optional extras such as the newly developed Bang&Olufsen sound system, designo Exclusive leather, a DVD changer, the Media Interface and the Interior Carbon package.
The striking design of the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG immediately raises the pulse level: the SLS makes an unmistakable statement with its long
hood, low greenhouse positioned well to the rear, short rear end with an extendable aerofoil, large wheels, wide track and long wheelbase. Opening the unique swing-doors attracts the eye to an equally sporty interior,
creating immediate associations with the dominhant design theme, namely "aircraft engineering". The visionary interior style also represents a new
design philosophy for future Mercedes sports cars.
When the swing-wing doors of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG gently pivot upwards, the eye is drawn to a wide, wing-shaped dashboard ? a clear reference to the aviation-based design. The four prominent air vents resemble the engines of a jet aircraft, while the center console is in the style of a jet's operating console and the shape if the E-SELECT shift lever recalls the thrust control of a jet. These are perfectly complemented by the concave interior panels of the swing-wing doors, whose high waistlines make for an authentic cockpit feeling. Together with the roof-integrated doors, the high sills and the wide center console extending well to the rear, they impart a feeling of safety and security. At the same time the interior of the new super-sports car from Mercedes-Benz and AMG impresses with its
puristic functionality and design idiom.
The convex, muscular shape of the dashboard is reminiscent of an aircraft wing. Contrasting decorative seams and fine designo leather provide a high-class look and reinforce the "custom-built" impression. All surfaces such as the interior
door panels and armrests are softly padded, with a pleasant feel. These contrast dramatically with the air vents, which have a metal bezel and an adjustable,
cruciform nozzle, and also with the metal center console. All the major function controls are grouped on this, and the AMG DRIVE UNIT inclined towards the driver with the dynamically designed E-SELECT lever for the AMG SPEEDSHIFT double-declutch transmission makes for perfect ergonomics. On request the
center console and other interior components are also available in genuine
Finished in galvanised Silver Shadow, the instrument cluster has two dial instruments with white backlighting and an upshift indicator using seven LEDs. The silver dials have red needles and a 360 km/h (220 mph) speedometer scale. As a central feature of the cockpit, the multimedia system COMAND APS with its 7-inch screen is integrated between the two center air vents. The modern short-stroke control keys require an operating force of only four newtons. All keys and switches are coated in Softtouch paint, which creates a silky sheen and a pleasant feel. Homogeneous illumination of the switch symbols with amber light ensures instant recognition and emphasises the exclusive appearance of the interior when driving at night.
Dynamic steering wheel design and leather in five different colors
An authentic racing car touch is provided by the Performance steering wheel, which has a diameter of only 365 millimeters (14.4 inches). The rim has a flattened lower section and an oval cross-section for outstanding vehicle control. The shift paddles and lower insert are of metal. The unmistakable attention to detail for which Mercedes designers are known is very evident in the tasteful colour combinations of the SLS interior. Five different designo leather colors are available to meet individual preferences: black, classic red, sand, porcelain and light brown. The sports seats with integrated head restraints and sporty transverse fluting are upholstered in designo leather ? and two-tone seats are also available in classic red, sand and porcelain. If light brown is chosen as an interior colour, the sports seats are upholstered in natural leather with particularly high-quality woven leather on the center seat panels. Depending on the colour combination, fluorescent or black piping provides another sporty touch.
The A-pillars, roof lining and parcel shelf are lined in anthracite Alcantara,
heightening the functional and puristic motor sports atmosphere. These surfaces are complemented with the sporty carpeting and cord floor mats with the AMG logo.
Technical details and appointments
Perfectly tailored for two
The low seating position typical of a sports car, perfect ergonomics and great functionality were the very demanding parameters when developing the interior of the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.
A seating height of only 369 millimeters (14.5 inches) above the road surface guarantees that typical sports car feeling. At the same time the intentionally steep angle of the windscreen ensures good all-round visibility. The feeling of comfortable
spaciousness is in large measure due to the generous shoulder-room of 1483 millimeters (58.4 inches) and elbow room of no less than 1606 millimeters (63.2 inches). In conjunction with the generous maximum headroom of 990 millimeters (39 inches) and effective legroom for the driver of 1058 millimeters (41.7 inches), the result is a low but extremely relaxed seating position.
Wide-opening swing-wing doors for easy entry even in garages
One important criterion for customer satisfaction is ease of access and egress through the exclusive swing-wing doors. At the design stage great attention was paid to the widest possible opening angle ? it is a full 70 degrees. Equally importantly, the distance between the open doors and the road surface is a generous 1.50 metres (59 inches), while the entry aperture between the open doors and the upper edge of the door sills measures no less than 1.08 meters (43 inches). The entrance height, i.e. the distance between the road surface and the door sills is a very low 45 centimetres (18 inches). As another important criterion for dignified access and egress, two gas-pressure struts positioned next to the door hinges require only very little pressure when opening and closing the doors ? even at very low ambient temperatures.
The swing-wing doors require less opening space than conventional coup? doors, and can be fully opened in a normal garage. The door is opened from inside by a handle finished in Silver Shadow. The grip section of the armrest moulded into the interior door panel ensures problem-free door closing even for small passengers. The operating keys for the power windows, central locking system and
exterior mirror adjustment are also located in the interior door panels for easy access.
Electrically adjustable sports seats with magnesium backrests
The sports seats with integrated head restraints feature so-called two-zone seat cushions. Prominent side bolsters with a harder foam filling provide optimal lateral support, while the inner areas of the seat cushion and backrest are softer for a high level of comfort on long journeys. The backrests are made from magnesium, a high-tech material that combines light weight with high strength. This leads to significant advantages where weight distribution and a low center of gravity are concerned.
The fore-and-aft position, seat height, backrest angle, seat depth, squab angle
and steering column are electrically adjustable, and the side bolsters and lumbar support can also be adjusted. The Memory package allows three individual
configurations to be stored. Three-stage seat heating and seat occupany/child
seat recognition in the passenger seat are also standard equipment.
The adjustment range of the Performance steering wheel is 60 millimeters (2.4 inches) axially and 2.3 degrees upwards or downwards ? this applies to both manual and electrical adjustment. The 365-millimeter (14.4 inches), leather-covered steering wheel features a high-quality full metal insert and a flattened lower rim section whose specially formed cross-section ensures the best possible vehicle control. Metal shift paddles are used to shift the seven gears of the double-declutch transmission. A brief pull on the left (?) or right (+) shift paddle is enough to engage the next gear. Multifunction keys in the left and right steering wheel spoke allow rapid access to the audio, telephone and navigation functions, as well as the LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system. The main manu in the instrument cluster can also be accessed using the ergonomically designed steering wheel keys. The rotary light switch and the keys for the electric parking brake and remote boot lid opening function are located to the left of the Performance sports steering wheel.
AMG DRIVE UNIT with new E-SELECT lever
One of the visual and functional highlights in the interior of the SLS is the solid center console, which immediately calls an aircraft cockpit to mind. All the central control functions including the AMG DRIVE UNIT, which is inclined towards the driver, are grouped on this striking, solid-metal feature also optionally available in genuine carbon fiber. The new E-SELECT shift lever for the 7-speed sports transmission also has a jet aircraft look: the one-touch drive-by-wire system enables the driver to shift between P, R, N and D extremely rapidly. When the car is stationary, simply pressing the P-key activates the parking position ? this also happens automatically when the engine is switched off. To the left are the rotary controls for
the transmission's driving modes, including RACE START, as well as the keys for engine starting, the ESP? functions, the AMG memory function and the extendable rear aerofoil.
The instrument cluster provides a wealth of information
The instrument cluster is ideally located in the driver's field of vision. The two dial instruments provide information about the vehicle speed and engine speed, and have two small, integrated displays showing the fuel level and the engine oil temperature. When the ignition is switched on, the needles of the rev counter and speedometer simultaneously spin around to their maximum position, then instantly return to zero. Between the dial instruments there is a 4.5-inch central display for information such as the odometer reading, range, fuel consumption, trip mileage, driving time and average speed.
The AMG main menu not only shows the tire pressure for each wheel, but also has three modes providing comprehensive driver information: "Warm Up", "Set Up" and "RACE". Warm Up shows the coolant and transmission oil temperature, Set Up shows the currently selected ESP? mode. Race activates the RACETIMER, which enables the driver to measure lap times on the racetrack. All the functions of the central display can be conveniently operated via the multifunction keys in the steering wheel. Permanently active displays not only include the current gear and the driving mode "C" (Controlled Efficiency), "S" (Sport), "S+" (Sport plus) or "M" (Manual) of the SPEEDSHIFT double-declutch transmission, but also the clock, ambient temperature or digital speed. The information from the navigation system, audio functions and telephone, individual vehicle settings and the
ASSYST PLUS service interval display can also be accessed in the central display.
Bang&Olufsen sound system available on request
The center console is also designed with the best possible ergonomics in mind. The upper section has an array of keys for the COMAND APS multimedia system. All the functions of the radio, DVD player, telephone and navigation system can be controlled from here. When switched on, the 7-inch color display in the dashboard shows the unmistakable AMG logo for ten seconds ? and depending on the function, a high-resolution map or other information such as the radio station, music track or telephone keypad. The Europe-wide navigation system has a 30-gigabyte hard disc on which the navigation data are stored, which means
that route calculation is extremely rapid.
The car radio with integrated CD/DVD player features an FM/MW/SW and LW twin tuner with automatic station search, RDS, a 4 x 25 watt amplifier and a total of 6 loudspeakers. In addition, COMAND APS includes a music server with a
memory capacity of 6 gigabytes, which enables the driver to store up to 1000
music files. A DVD player for video and audio is also on board, and an integrated 6-disc DVD changer is available on request. Below the DVD aperture the unit has an adapter that enables various PC memory cards for the reproduction of music files to be used. External audio devices such as an "iPod" can be connected to COMAND APS via the optional Media Interface.
The new sound system realised by Mercedes-Benz and AMG together with the famous Danish audio specialist Bang&Olufsen was developed specifically for the SLS. The surround-sound system with Dolby Digital 5.1 provides an exclusive listening experience at the highest level. This is not only thanks to the amplifier with a total output of 1000 watts and 11 loudspeakers, but also to the sound processor's precise distribution of the music signals to selectable driver, passenger or central positions. The digital sound processor (DSP) also makes it possible to choose between a high-end studio sound ("Reference") and surround-sound. All the functions are controlled via a special Bang&Olufsen menu in COMAND APS. Particular highlights
are provided by the two 250-watt subwoofers integrated into the parcel shelf and the illuminated 50-watt tweeters on the dashboard.
The Controller directly integrated into the center console operates the mutimedia system COMAND APS. This turn/push control can be moved in seven directions: turning the controller selects the main menu and submenus on the display, while pushing it activates or confirms the displayed function or setting. The buttons next to the Controller marked with "R" and "C" symbols are used to quit submenus quickly or delete entries.
THERMOTRONIC comfort automatic climate control as standard
Where climatic comfort is concerned, the new swing-wing sports car likewise meets the high expectations that await a super-sports car from Mercedes-Benz and AMG. The sophisticated THERMOTRONIC two-zone comfort automatic
climate control system is included as standard. A powerful air conditioning compressor ensures rapid cooling of the interior; the cooled air flows from the four multi-adjustable vents in the dashboard, two apertures in the A-pillars, three on the windscreen and one in each footwell. Sensors constantly monitor the interior temperature, the temperature of the air flowing from the air vents, the air moisture content and the intensity and angle of the sun. A pollutant sensor recognises excessive carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide concentrations in the outside air, and automatically closes the air recirculation flap if levels of these pollutants
The interior of the SLS also impresses with the practical stowage space that makes for the day-to-day suitability typical of a Mercedes. The 3.7-liter glove compartment with a spectacles compartment is integrated into the dashboard on the passenger side. To the right of the E-SELECT shift lever there is a small stowage compartment with a 12 V socket, or an ashtray with cigar lighter. The armrest behind the center console not only serves for Controller operation: at the touch of a button, the armrest can be moved in two stages to reveal a stowage compartment underneath. This has two cupholders and the telephone cradle (optional), and a holder for the
ignition key in the rear section. Other items can be stowed on the rear wall between the seats and in the parcel net in the passenger footwell. Two fixed clothes hooks are attached to the seat backrests, while those in the roof lining fold down and are silicon-insulated.
Eight airbags meet the highest standards in passive safety
The very latest restraint systems meet the traiditionally high standards of
Mercedes-Benz where passive safety is concerned. Three-point seat belts with
belt tensioners and belt force limiters are provided as standard for occupants of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. These are complemented with eight airbags: two adaptive airbags for the driver and passenger, a kneebag for each, two seat-integrated sidebags and two separate windowbags deploying from the waistlines of the swing-wing doors.
Overview of the comprehensive standard equipment (selection):
* AMG entry sills painted in the vehicle color
* Cord floor mats with AMG logo
* Burglary and theft warning system
* Electric parking brake
* Headlamp Assist
* designo leather upholstery
* Rain sensor
* Heated seats
* Sports pedals in brushed stainless steel with black rubber studs
* Cruise control with SPEEDTRONIC
Optional extras include the following:
* Bang&Olufsen sound system
* DVD changer
* Anti-theft warning system
* Electric seat adjustment with Memory package
* Interior Carbon package
* designo Exclusive leather
* Media Interface
* Seats in natural leather/woven leather
The best possible passive safety for the occupants is ensured by three-point seat belts, belt tensioners, belt force limiters and eight airbags: two adaptive airbags and a kneebag each for the driver and passenger, plus two sidebags integrated
into the seats for maximum occupant protection and two separate windowbags that deploy from the door waistline.
The new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG will celebrate its market launch in