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Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG prototype  (Source: Edmunds)

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG interior  (Source: Autoblog)
SLS Gullwing to get electric companion

The 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing is classic beauty that garners attention wherever it goes. The vehicle not only had great looks, but it’s brought a lot of forward-looking technology including mechanical direct fuel injection and the iconic "gull wings" which were necessitated by the stout tubular chassis.

Although there have been many SLs that have followed over the years, arguably none have had the impact of the original. Mercedes is looking to change that with the new 2010 SLS AMG Gullwing which will hit American streets next year. The vehicle takes its styling direction from the 1955 original, but includes all of the latest in powertrain, suspension, and aerodynamic design.

The standard SLS AMG will be powered by AMG's 6.2-liter "M159" V8 engine. The engine develops an amazing 571 HP and a stump pulling 479 lb-ft of torque (402 lb-ft are available at just 2,500 RPM). The power is routed through a 7-speed dual clutch transaxle turning the rear wheels. The powerful engine is enough to propel the 3,550-lb vehicle to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds and to a top speed of 196 mph according to Road and Track magazine.

But that's not the most interesting part; Mercedes today announced that it is also working on a fully electric version of the SLS. The electric version will be powered by a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack and four power electric "hub motors" mounted at each wheel. The system will provide 526 HP and 649 lb-ft of torque (nearly 200 more lb-ft than the gasoline engine).

Mercedes says that the electric SLS will be able to reach 60 mph in just four seconds, not too far off the pace of the standard vehicle.

"With the SLS AMG with electric drive, we wanted to redefine the super sports car. For us, it is not just about responsibility. We attach just as much importance to excitement and classic AMG performance," remarked Volker Mornhinweg, Chief Executive Officer of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

Today's announcement also makes sense considering Daimler's recent investment into Tesla Motors. Thomas Weber, the head of research and development for Mercedes-Benz, noted at the time of the 10% investment, “Our strategic partnership is an important step to accelerate the commercialization of electric drives globally. As a young and dynamic company, Tesla stands for visionary power and pioneering spirit. Together with Daimler's 120 years of experience in the automotive sector this collaboration is a unique combination of two companies' strengths. This marks another important milestone in Daimler's strategy for sustainable mobility."

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Lookout Tesla
By Smilin on 7/16/2009 2:42:11 PM , Rating: 5
Tesla better look out. They now have a competitor that is able to actually execute a business plan.

RE: Lookout Tesla
By Chudilo on 7/16/2009 3:27:47 PM , Rating: 2
Mercedes now owns 10% of Tesla motors.
Tesla motors is probably the one designing this power train, Did you read the whole article ?

RE: Lookout Tesla
By Smilin on 7/16/09, Rating: -1
RE: Lookout Tesla
By Jansen on 7/16/2009 10:23:35 PM , Rating: 2
I think you are a little confused. Mercedes-Benz is a brand of the Daimler Group. They own 10% of Tesla.

Tesla recently received a large loan from the US government, it was not a bailout.

RE: Lookout Tesla
By Tsuwamono on 7/17/2009 1:47:05 AM , Rating: 3
finally someone who knows the difference between a loan and a hand out.

RE: Lookout Tesla
By Spuke on 7/17/2009 12:27:29 PM , Rating: 3
finally someone who knows the difference between a loan and a hand out.
Even though the only difference is what people choose to call it.

RE: Lookout Tesla
By onelittleindian on 7/17/2009 1:11:21 PM , Rating: 5
A government "loan" that you couldn't qualify for from a regular bank is a handout, period.

RE: Lookout Tesla
By Samus on 7/18/2009 5:53:26 AM , Rating: 1
In case you've been under a rock for the past year, almost NOBODY qualifies for a regular loan anymore.

RE: Lookout Tesla
By onelittleindian on 7/18/2009 9:50:46 PM , Rating: 3
Bzzt, sorry. Corporate bond financing is down nearly 50% true, but there's still several hundred billion in loans being passed out every *month*. Home mortgage volume is down also, but there's still millions of people a year qualifying for new mortgages.

This is hardly "almost nobody".

RE: Lookout Tesla
By Smilin on 7/19/2009 6:55:47 PM , Rating: 2
If you loan money to a business who is bankrupt it isn't much of a loan is it?

Why didn't Tesla get a loan from a bank? That's right, they coudn't get one for that amount because they didn't deserve it based on their credit.

RE: Lookout Tesla
By fteoath64 on 7/18/2009 11:43:39 PM , Rating: 3
Not likely on the powertrain. The Mercedes engineers are mechanical experts in their field, and their "motor in hub" is different to Tesla using a Borg-Wargner transmission which I assume is connected to a single electric motor with flywheel, gears to leverage constant transmission of power.

The Mercedes boys are likely getting battery technology and its computerized management system. That is one area that the Europeans are behind on research. They are #1 in mechanical tech, including electric motor technology.

0-60 in 4 seconds...then park and recharge??
By AEvangel on 7/16/2009 2:17:48 PM , Rating: 4
I notice they don't mention range or recharge time on this??

RE: 0-60 in 4 seconds...then park and recharge??
By Spivonious on 7/16/2009 2:24:50 PM , Rating: 2
I was looking for that too.

The Tesla Roadster is all electric and gets 243 miles per charge (Wikipedia), 0-60mph is <3.7s. I imagine this Mercedes won't be too different.

By Keeir on 7/16/2009 2:36:06 PM , Rating: 2

Unforuntely, looks like they went with higher power cells rather than higher energy density. Lower over kWh compared to Telsa, significantly greater wieght, and larger aerodynamic cross section and I come to the same conclusion. Less than 200 miles, even in the "best" conditions.

RE: 0-60 in 4 seconds...then park and recharge??
By omnicronx on 7/16/2009 3:28:03 PM , Rating: 2
Testing was 0-100kmh which is around 62MPH ;) So its pretty much the same (around 3.8s 0-60).

RE: 0-60 in 4 seconds...then park and recharge??
By Souka on 7/16/2009 4:47:43 PM , Rating: 2
How about handling? 4 electric motors in the hubs sure does add a lot of sprung weight compared to a typical setup. about overall vehicle weight and braking. With the electric setup there isn't as much room for large brakes, but they could use the electric motors to brake also...

By UlricT on 7/16/2009 6:09:08 PM , Rating: 2
Unsprung weight... and yeah, the weight has to be significant.

About the braking though, I think every hybrid/electric car is going to use regenerative braking. It’s a waste of energy otherwise.

RE: 0-60 in 4 seconds...then park and recharge??
By Samus on 7/17/2009 7:19:14 AM , Rating: 3
Top Gear reviewed the Tesla Roadster on their track last Fall, noting they killed the battery pack in 55 miles.

They only had a day to test the vehicle, so instead of wait 4 hours for it to charge so they could drive it another hour, they were loaned ANOTHER one that they managed to overheat in 15 minutes.

Also noteworthy is how poorly it handled compared to the Lotus Elise, its gas-guzzling counterpart.

Now not all of us are going to take these electric cars to the track and beat the shit out of them for an hour, but we might want to go fast for an extended period of time. I don't want to know the vehicles range when traveling at 65mph, I want to know its range traveling at 95mph, a more realistic scenerio for a driver of these sports cars.

By PlasmaBomb on 7/17/2009 8:55:36 AM , Rating: 1
I don't think they ran out of juice, they "simulated" what it would have been like if they had...

RE: 0-60 in 4 seconds...then park and recharge??
By Smilin on 7/17/2009 9:47:49 AM , Rating: 4
Now not all of us are going to take these electric cars to the track and beat the shit out of them for an hour, but we might want to go fast for an extended period of time.

If I spend six figures on a sports car you're damn right I will want to go fast for an extended period.

By Samus on 7/18/2009 5:51:16 AM , Rating: 3
lol, precisely

There is no replacment for displacment
By the goat on 7/16/2009 2:48:34 PM , Rating: 2
With stats like those, I'll take the standard dino-juice burning version thank you.

RE: There is no replacment for displacment
By Smilin on 7/16/2009 5:55:44 PM , Rating: 1
Stats like those?

Was it the 649 lb-ft of torque the electric puts out that turned you off??

RE: There is no replacment for displacment
By Gul Westfale on 7/16/2009 11:32:50 PM , Rating: 2
the good ol' gasoline V12 in the S65 is electronically limited to 'only' 738 lb-ft because at full power it would destroy the (already reinforced by AMG) gearbox. :)

By Spuke on 7/17/2009 12:28:49 PM , Rating: 2
the good ol' gasoline V12 in the S65 is electronically limited to 'only' 738 lb-ft because at full power it would destroy the (already reinforced by AMG) gearbox. :)
That's such an awesome car! I wish they would put the DCT in there, not that I could afford it either way.

RE: There is no replacment for displacment
By corduroygt on 7/17/2009 2:47:46 AM , Rating: 2
More like not being able to go on long trips without the overnight charging time.
Show me an energy source that's affordable, replenishable in 5 minutes and lasts 300 miles.
As soon as that's invented, I'd leave gas/diesel, but not a moment before then.

RE: There is no replacment for displacment
By Triple Omega on 7/19/2009 11:38:05 AM , Rating: 2
That doesn't need to be invented, it's already here. Both hydrogen and compressed air can provide what you are requesting. It's just that the infrastructure and the vehicles are missing in most cases(some countries already have significant hydrogen projects going). Also affordable is relative. With current low oil prices it's more expensive, but with previous high prices(where we are headed again) there wasn't much difference.

By corduroygt on 7/20/2009 10:54:31 AM , Rating: 2
Both have poor energy density compared to good ol' gasoline.

By bhieb on 7/17/2009 1:28:17 PM , Rating: 2
A roadster with that much HP running running 3.6 (OEM numbers and they are always lower), I find quite unimpressive.

I'm gonna jump back up on my CTS-V soap box for a second (partly because I own one 04 version though). No doubt the styling here is nice and all, but this car imho is unimpressive. In live testing with the V Car and Driver got 4.0 in a 4 door sedan!!! costing only ~$65K, and GM did it with ~20 less HP. Note that GM quoted 3.6 as well.

I know it is popular to knock GM these days (not that u did), but they did a great job on the new V and cost/performance is very nice. I'm somewhat in the market, and try as I might nothing else seems to compare in the <4.0 range. Sure there are lots in that range, but under $65K and a sedan. It quite frankly amazes me.

It'd be nice
By Zingam on 7/16/2009 4:53:35 PM , Rating: 2
It would be nice if they stop making sport crapstars and produce affordable, good quality, practical, electric vehicle for daily use that the average Joe could afford and buy. That would make sense!

RE: It'd be nice
By JediJeb on 7/16/2009 5:11:03 PM , Rating: 2
One good thing about making the exotics first, is they get to charge a lot more for them and help recoupe the money invested in Research and Development of the technology, which can then be put into less expensive everyday driver versions. If you look at some of the first cars ever to hit the road, they were very high end sports cars, it wasn't until Ford introduced the Model T that the average person could afford a car, same thing is happening with the electric vehicles now.

RE: It'd be nice
By Spuke on 7/17/2009 12:30:11 PM , Rating: 2
It would be nice if they stop making sport crapstars and produce affordable
Yeah, like Mercedes has always been doing. Oh, that's right, they're a LUXURY car manufacturer.

The gullwing thing ...
By rvd2008 on 7/16/09, Rating: 0
RE: The gullwing thing ...
By Hare on 7/16/2009 3:26:54 PM , Rating: 2
Looks really nice (even with all the masking tape / paint).

RE: The gullwing thing ...
By smilingcrow on 7/17/2009 3:20:13 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sure they'll sell you a body kit to match if you are prepared to stump up another $10k. :)

Jizz in my pants.
By therealnickdanger on 7/16/2009 2:19:35 PM , Rating: 2
The original Gullwing was always my favorite car as a boy. While I'm not overly excited about it being electric specifically, I'm just really stoked that it's making a return!

I <3 MB

Well done Mercedes
By SleepyGreg on 7/17/2009 6:34:44 AM , Rating: 2
It's great to see such a conventional company going for a radically new concept. I thought Mercedes would be one of the last to make the switch. Their leading the way will make other manufacturers less apprehensive about releasing petrol alternatives.

My 2 cents
By suryad on 7/19/2009 11:35:13 AM , Rating: 2
I think this is going to be interesting that they are doing this. I would also like to point out that I cant believe people still only talk about 0-60 times. Its all about in gear acceleration and performance at any speed/gear and you really think a Caddy will be able to keep up with that car?

no MPG?
By mattclary on 7/16/09, Rating: 0
Just a novelty
By Beenthere on 7/16/09, Rating: -1
RE: Just a novelty
By kkwst2 on 7/16/2009 10:46:15 PM , Rating: 2
You mean well-heeled.

But what is life without a little novelty.

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