First Drive 2007 MercedesBenz SLR McLaren Roadster

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Mercedes-Benz Vision SLR

2007 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren

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(5.4L V8 Supercharger Automatic)

2007 Mercedes-Benz SLR Picture

Published: 07/23/2007 by Alistair Weaver. European

What do Paris Hilton and 1 World Champion Fernando have in common? Both owned a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. Hilton handed hers after a couple of incidents.

joint patronage of the Mercedes strikes at the paradox at the heart of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster. For all talk of F1-derived technology, know-how and outrageous performance, the SLR has been a different type of than the Ferrari Enzo or Carrera GT. With its automatic and all-around civility, the SLR has been as a car for poseurs, not pole-sitters.

The new SLR Roadster further comparison to celebrity but there’s talk of subtle beneath the new canvas convertible An uprated carbon-fiber monocoque open-air speed without the shakes, and different dampers are to improve the car’s occasionally handling.

Could it be that in its (and perhaps final) the 2007 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren finally delivers a drive of the McLaren badge?

Always a Vision of Top-Down

The idea for an SLR Roadster is nothing When Mercedes first the Vision SLR concept in 1999, it both a coupe and a roadster. The appeared as a production car in 2003, the 722 model followed last and now the SLR Roadster goes on sale fall. We wanted to do the coupe because we wanted to draw a association with the world of GT says Klaus Nesser, the man in of the SLR and Maybach vehicle programs.

the coupe, the Roadster remains to the original concept. This is a of pride, but also a clue to the early problems. The McLaren freely admit that the car’s aerodynamics were In order to create a car capable of 200 they had to engineer a flat culminating in a dramatic rear air and then add an active rear Even then, the rear end of the car disturbingly light at very speed.

For many SLR owners, imperfections have been a price to pay for a shape that is theater. The SLR has a sense of occasion no modern Ferrari other the Enzo can match. The SLR Roadster the glamour with its sleek, shape, as the electrically powered top stows neatly behind the seats, leaving intact the trademark scissor doors.

Once More With

The cabin is shared with the which is a mixed blessing. some nice detailing the look terrific and Mercedes use supermodel cows for the leather but too of the plastics feel low-rent. The SLR that hides the stereo is and the CD-based satellite navigation feels like a 1990s After all, you expect for a half million dollars.

space is also tight. The seats can be specified in several sizes, but even if you find one to fit derriere, anyone taller 6 feet will want for

At least your luggage be well catered to. Even the convertible top folded down, a useful 7.1 cubic feet of space enough for a weekend

It’s Got the Power

The protocol for the SLR’s engine is straight out of a Bond movie. You flick the cover on top of the shift lever. the starter button beneath and it red as 5.5 liters of supercharged V8 spring to Developed by AMG, this is one of the great engines.

A huge volume of air more 2 tons per hour, Mercedes us is sucked through the three-pointed on the front grille, compressed by the supercharger and stuffed into the V8. The is mounted on an aluminum brace the heat it produces would a carbon-fiber piece.

The V8’s figures are otherworldly. The 617 horsepower at rpm makes headlines, but let’s not the 575 pound-feet of torque available between 3,250 rpm and 5,000 rpm really determines this character. This real-world is what distinguishes the SLR from such as the Ferrari 599 (448 and Lamborghini LP640 (486

The mighty torque is also why the SLR so well with an automatic Shared with the Maybach, automatic requires just widely spaced ratios to this car from zero to 206 mph a top just 1 mph less than of the SLR coupe. The transmission has Sport and modes, and the shift paddles on the wheel do the work.

Power and

In some ways, the SLR is a throwback to a age. The rich, melodic from the quartet of side recalls an old Can-Am racecar. You yourself playing the throttle a musical instrument, thrilled as the revs melodically rise and

Mercedes-Benz Vision SLR

Of course, the SLR Roadster is brutally Mercedes claims 0-62 mph kph) in 3.8 seconds and 124 mph (200 in just 10.9 seconds, and you can them just by extending right boot and hanging on. On an but busy autobahn, we briefly saw 186 and the Roadster accelerated above 100 mph like a Porsche 911 does 50 and 100.

With the top down, the is also remarkably civilized. A screen between the seats minimize the buffeting and the cockpit is not even at three-figure speeds. To for the structural rigidity lost the roof, Mercedes added layer of carbon (it’s now to the tub. The result is a car with no scuttle shake, even on surfaces.

Driving the Blitzen

Yet for a true driving enthusiast, the SLR is something of a disappointment. There is wrong with the stopping of the brake system’s ceramic but there’s little pedal and it seems as if you are pushing against an weighted brake booster. As a it’s difficult to modulate effort a key concern in a car this

There’s plenty of mechanical through the steering, but it tells you about what the front are up to. It is also too reactive. Instead of single, measured inputs, you yourself instinctively making of little corrections throughout a We’ve driven almost miles in various SLRs, and the still undermines our confidence.

the SLR’s introduction in 2003, has replaced the original Bilstein with Koni units in a bid to the car’s high-speed stability, and is an improvement. But although the SLR has a surprisingly ride for such a sharply performance car, the balance comfort and command still right, perhaps because capability compromises feel and

Poseurs, Not Pole-Sitters?

It’s no that the relationship between and Mercedes was strained during the of the SLR. McLaren’s desire for performance didn’t prove compatible with Mercedes’ on civility, safety and practicality. no member of the McLaren team was at the introduction of the 2007 Mercedes-Benz SLR

For a car that’s likely to cost the SLR Roadster is too compromised. A Porsche 911 is a more satisfying drive, and a 599 is in a different league. But we suspect for the 1,100 or so people who’ve bought an SLR, the subtleties of and braking feel don’t a jot.


For drivers like the Roadster will simply the SLR’s appeal as one of the most theatrical cars of this or any generation.

Edmunds attended a event, to which selected of the press were invited, to this report.

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Mercedes-Benz Vision SLR
Mercedes-Benz Vision SLR
Mercedes-Benz Vision SLR
Mercedes-Benz Vision SLR

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