The new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG - PART III


Laguna Seca, USA, Nov 02, 2009

Design: Breathtaking contours, visionary style

- Purist design for passionate sportiness
- Gullwing doors as a unique highlight
- Powerful, muscular side aspect
- Exclusive "AMG alubeam silver" and two matt finishes
- Interior reminiscent of an aircraft cockpit

The distinctive styling of the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG enthrals with its passionate sportiness and reinterprets the breathtaking lines of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL – one of the outstanding design icons of the Mercedes-Benz brand. With its purist design the new SLS AMG reflects the philosophy of contemporary sports car engineering: the bonnet which measures just under two metres, the low greenhouse positioned well to the rear and the short rear end with an extendable aerofoil are just as powerful a reminder of the superlative dynamism as the long wheelbase, the wide track and the large wheels. The short overhangs feed through into the proportions, just as does the design of the super sports car with its low-slung front-mid-engine set well back and dual-clutch transmission in transaxle configuration. An undoubted styling highlight comes courtesy of the gullwing doors, which lend the SLS AMG its incomparable charisma – making a unique statement in this vehicle segment.

The gullwing doors are not alone in rekindling memories of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL; the hallmark wide radiator grille with the large Mercedes star and the wing-shaped cross fins are a throwback to the front-end of the sports car legend. The three-dimensional, sculptured front-end with its low-set, swept-back front apron set well into the sides lends the SLS its powerful stance on the road. Six large cooling air intakes and the vertically arranged headlamps set well to the outside with their alluring inner ambience provide a dominant aura: the central bi-xenon low-beam headlamp with its metallic wing section is framed at the top by two LED indicators and by the LED daytime driving lights at the bottom.

Influences from aircraft engineering

Allusions to aircraft construction come courtesy of the prominent Mercedes star, whose tubular section is reminiscent of the air intake on a jet engine when viewed from the side, as well as the long bonnet: as the eye is drawn forward, so the observer becomes more aware of the curve. The design of the four fins with their Silver Shadow finish that adorn the two air outlet grilles on the end of the bonnet create the same visual impression. These aircraft-style lines also visually accelerate the air that flows past – and make the SLS AMG appear extremely dynamic even while stationary.

The fins on the bonnet are taken up on the vehicle flanks: the connoisseur also discovers here a hallmark styling feature of the 300 SL. The "6.3" lettering placed between the fins provides a clear reference to the high-displacement, naturally aspirated V8 engine. The side air outlet feeds through into a stylistically prominent feature line, which together with the convex flanks and the exhilarating surface treatment, combines aesthetics with power. The compact passenger compartment proves as alluring as it is unmistakable. With its high beltline, low side windows and steeply angled windscreen it comes across as a kind of visor. The forward-angled B-pillar with its stylish flowing sweep to the rear window exudes pure dynamism.

Side view dominated by muscle and shoulder

Viewing the SLS from the side, the eye is drawn to the prominent vehicle shoulder, which stretches from the front to the rear like a taut muscle. Distinctive 19-inch (front) and 20-inch (rear) light-alloy wheels fill the wheel arches, which stand out prominently from the sidewall. Three different wheel variants all provide a good view of the large high-performance composite brakes. Seen from above, a prominent, uninterrupted line runs from the muscle to the rear. This styling feature is also picked up on the bonnet where the eye follows a distinctive contour which flows over the roof between the gullwing doors, right through to the third brake light. On the right, a sporty filler cap of solid metal provides another visual highlight.

Rear view that emphasises width

The rear view of the SLS also exudes dynamism and power: the gently sloping boot lid emphasises a sense of width, an impression reinforced by the prominent vehicle shoulder and the sleek tail lights: fitted with LED technology, the horizontally structured lighting units provide a scintillating view. Wing-shaped LED lighting elements ensure a distinctive, enthralling night design. The Formula-1-style LED fog lamp/reversing light is set down low in the centre. Similarly inspired by motor racing are the black diffuser insert and the two chromed tailpipes of the sports exhaust system. The strikingly tapered rear apron provides an unimpeded view of the wide rear wheels, lending the SLS its self-assured stance on the road. The spoiler integrated in the boot lid is automatically deployed from a speed of 120 km/h to ensure optimum stability at high speeds. As the aerials for radio, navigation and telephone reception are invisibly integrated into the boot lid, they do not disrupt the car's silhouette.

New colours: "AMG alubeam silver" and two matt finishes

The colour charts for the SLS include nine exclusive paint finishes. The highlight comes in the shape of the unique "AMG alubeam silver" paintwork: the new, unique process makes the paint shine like liquid metal. The paint covers the body panels like a metallic skin, emphasises the scintillating design lines of the SLS more strongly than any previous paint job and makes them even livelier by means of targeted light reflections. This effect is made possible by tiny pigment particles measuring between 30 and 50 nanometres.

The two matt finishes "designo magno allanite grey" and "AMG monza magno grey" are just as eye-catching: with their matt-silk surface they reinforce the sporty character of the two-seater through specific contouring of the crease lines.

Interior with allusions to aircraft engineering and motor sports practicality

You only need to open the gullwing doors on the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG and ease into the sports seats to experience a whole new level of interior. The Mercedes-Benz designers took their inspiration from aircraft engineering when styling the interior – immediately bringing an aircraft cockpit to mind. The characteristic styling feature is the dashboard, whose powerful and dramatic wing shape makes for an impression of width. Strikingly integrated into the dashboard are the galvanised air vents with their adjustable, cruciform nozzles and Silver Shadow finish – their shape reminiscent of a jet's engines. The instrument cluster with its LED upshift indicator and two white backlit dial instruments add another decidedly sporty touch with their metallic Silver Shadow finish. The silver dials have red needles and a 360 km/h speedometer scale. As a central feature of the cockpit, the COMAND APS multimedia system with its 7-inch screen is integrated between the two centre air vents.

The elongated centre console in matt metal similarly picks up the design theme of an aircraft cockpit. It is home to the AMG DRIVE UNIT, which is inclined towards the SLS driver and allows him to choose his personal vehicle setup. The E‑SELECT shift lever, whose styling recalls the thrust control of a jet, controls the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission. All the controls are made from solid metal, with a high-sheen Silver Shadow surface. On request the centre console and other interior features such as the door sill panels, the trim on the interior door panels and the seat back trim are available in carbon-fibre.

Authentic cockpit atmosphere in the interior of the SLS AMG

The concave interior panels of the gullwing doors and the high beltline provide an authentic cockpit atmosphere. Together with the roof-integrated gullwing doors, the high sideskirts and the wide centre tunnel extending well to the rear, they reinforce the feeling of safety and security. Decorative and contrasting stitching, as well as fine designo leather on the sports seats, create a luxurious visual impression and accentuate the "hand-built" look. All surfaces such as the interior door panels and armrests are softly padded for a pleasant feel. All keys and switches are surfaced with Softtouch paint for a silky sheen and soft contact surface. The homogeneous, amber-coloured illumination of the switch symbols ensures clear recognition and enhances the high-quality appearance of the
interior when driving at night.

Dynamic steering wheel design and leather in five different colours

An authentic racing car touch is provided by the AMG Performance steering wheel, which has a diameter of only 365 millimetres. The rim has a flattened lower section and an oval cross-section, plus perforated leather in the ergonomically formed grip area, 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 AMG interior. Five different designo leather colours 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 designo leather 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 centre 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 motor sports atmosphere. These surfaces are complemented with the sporty carpeting and floor mats bearing the AMG logo.

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