Children of Divorce: Mercedes and McLaren launch their respective new super cars
Tell me if I’m wrong. But has there been a more disappointing $500,000 super car in the past decade than the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren?
The offspring of an ill begotten marriage between the vedy British McLaren Automotive (they of F1 fame) and totally Teutonic Mercedes (they of stoic sedan fame), the overwrought and vulgarly styled SLR never really garnered the passion of driving enthusiasts since its debut in 2003.
Sure. As a piece of phallic form, even our esteemed Wheels Editor fell under the SLR’s charms.
But with McLaren resident genius Gordon Murray on board, expectations were sky high. Yet the not-as-nimble SLR was never able to get out under the shadow of McLaren’s last road car, the 1992-1998 F1—my pick as the Greatest Road Car of All Time (trademark pending.)
So like many celebrity hookups, Mercedes and its Formula One racing partner McLaren decided to part their production car ways. Both convinced they could do a better job than the SLR on their own. Hence, yesterday’s simultaneously leakage of both McLaren MP4-12C and the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG pics and details.
Surprisingly (or not), the two cars are very similar in spec.
The MP4-12C gets a 3.8-litre McLaren-made twin-turbo V8 mounted amidships and produces “around 600 hp and 443 lb-ft.” Power goes to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox (no stick is available). Zero-sixty is claimed in "the three-point-something-second" range.
Pricing? Not sure yet. My guess is somewhere between Gallardo and Murcielago money. Say $375,00. If it even comes to Canada.
The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG follows the SLR's path, kind of.
Its still front/mid-mounted design, like the SLR. But instead of a supercharged V8, there’s AMG’s ubiquitous nat-aspirated 6.3-litre V8 under the hood, mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox producing 563 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels.
Performance is SLR-like as well: 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds. Yet it looks like a bargain compared to the ol' SLR: about $275,000 Cdn. in Germany.
So, over to you: which of these two children of divorce do you prefer?
Has Mercedes done enough to distance itself from the forlorn SLR?
Has McLaren done enough to make you forget about its thundering F1?
[Sources: CarPoint, Car]