Car of the Month – May, 2023

2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren

25_Mercedes McLaren (2) silver[82]

2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren

Engine – hand-built all aluminum 5.4 liter supercharged V8
Horsepower – 617 horsepower with 575 ft-lbs of torque
Transmission – 5-speed AMG automatic, featuring three manual modes
Curb weight – 3,950 lbs
0-60 time – 3.4 seconds
¼ mile time – 11.2 seconds
Top speed – 207 mph
Number built – 106 (for 2008)
MSRP price – $515,000.00

The Mercedes-Benz SLR (Sport, Leight, Rennsport: translated Sport, Light, Racing) McLaren was inspired by the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR of 1950s racing fame and is considered one of the finest cars in the world. With Formula1 technology provided by a collaboration between F1’s legendary Team McLaren and Mercedes-Benz’ performance arm AMG, this extraordinary machine exhibits every automobile advancement available to the date of its introduction in 2003.

The SLR McLaren’s body is made entirely of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) materials except for the two aluminum engine frames. Aside from the performance benefit from the use of lightweight carbon fiber, safety is also improved due to its torsional stiffness and energy absorption. Mercedes built the engines in Germany then shipped them to McLaren’s race shop in England where they were fitted to special bodies made of three-layer carbon fiber reinforced plastic. This material is five times stronger than steel and half the weight.

The SLR McLaren is a front-mid-engine sports car with the engine placed behind the front axle. The suspension was developed with technology provided by McLaren Formula 1 engineers, with the result being an extraordinary road-holding supercar.

Mercedes-Benz introduced the SLR in 2003 as a coupe only, and in 2008 it became available only in a convertible model. Production was planned for 500 SLRs annually, but that total was only reached in 2005. Only 106 units of the SLR were built in 2008.

This 21st Century supercar echoes the glory days of Mercedes-Benz Racing and is clearly a work of modern automotive art.