Undoubtedly one of the most famous racing supercars, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren symbolized tradition, innovative excellence, safety, and speed all rolled into one. A joint effort between the famously reliable and comfortable Mercedes-Benz and innovative design dynamics of Formula One specialist McLaren, this supercar has a dedicated fan following in the racing circuit.
The Anglo-German partnership engineered the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren in a state-of-the-art facility at the McLaren Technology Center. Modeled on the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe & Racecar, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren debuted in 2003 at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany. It boasted of a 5.5-liter V8 engine that was hand-built, with a 5-speed automatic gearbox that would make the supercar sprint from 0 to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds.
The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren had several sophistications built into its aerodynamic design and extraordinary specifications. In addition to automatic air brakes, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren was equipped with carbon-ceramic antilock brake discs for powerful braking and better fade resistance of up to 1200 degrees centigrade. However, some reviewers criticized the brakes as being highly unsuitable in traffic conditions requiring frequent braking and slowing down. But then, who would want to spend half a million dollars on a racing car and take it to the center of peak traffic!
In 2005, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren was launched in a coupe design with the capacity to seat only two. The design was a hit and the super-luxurious car had been yet again the talk of the town. The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722 Edition was introduced in 2006.
In 1955, Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson piloted a 300 SLR at the Mille Miglia race with the starting number 722 and went on to win. True to its racing heritage, the 722 was a winner as experienced by the lucky few who were able to lay hands on it. Several more limited editions of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren were launched until 2009 including the SLR Stirling Moss in honor of its most famous loyalist.
End of the Road
In 2009, Mercedes-Benz and partner McLaren decided to go their separate paths due to several reasons including sales figures that were not exactly what they had hoped for when they started off. The goal of selling 500 units annually was never realized after a dream run in 2005. In 2009, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722 S Roadster marked the end of the unbelievable and illustrious SLR age. Only 150 roadsters were made as a fitting final tribute to the SLR legend.
In the world of the super-rich, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren cars spelled superlative comfort, luxury, and sophistication in motion. However, it failed to catch the fancy of those who were not exactly looking for an aircraft carrier experience in an expensive car. Although the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren had a dedicated fan following, there were far too many competitors in the Ferraris and the others to justify the oceanfront price of a fuel-guzzling limited-edition supercar.