2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG - Pictures, Features, Specs, Pricing

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The all-new 2011 SLS AMG supercar is now the flagship of the auto industry's broadest product lineup. The Mercedes-Benz design and performance standard-bearer, the limited-production gullwing coupe is the first-ever car designed and developed from the ground up by Mercedes-AMG, the company's high-performance division.

Photo: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGPhoto: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGView more 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG pictures in our 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG photo gallery

The new SLS AMG features a lightweight aluminum space-frame body with gullwing doors and a 563-horsepower dry-sump V8 engine. With its front-mid engine and rear-mounted, dual-clutch, seven-speed transaxle, the compelling SLS AMG boasts ideal weight distribution of 47-53. Combined with double-wishbone sport suspension, its weight distribution and low center of gravity ensure race-car-like handling.

Photo: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGPhoto: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

SLS AMG Features Gullwing Doors and Aluminum Space Frame

While its silhouette is defined by a long front hood, short body overhangs, low greenhouse and a short tail section, the stylistic highlight of the SLS AMG is unquestionably its gullwing doors. Along with a wide front grille with a large Mercedes-Benz star and a wing-like lamella, the new SLS AMG is reminiscent of the Mercedes-Benz 300SL gullwing coupe of the 1950s.

Photo: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGPhoto: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

0-to-60 MPH in Less Than Four Seconds

Weighing in at a lean 3,573 pounds, the SLS AMG can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in only 3.7 seconds, with an electronically limited top speed of 197 mph. Designed from the ground up by AMG, the 6.3-liter V8 powerplant in the new Mercedes-Benz SLS represents an entirely new engine family, identified internally by the designation M159. Based on valuable insight from 40-plus years of motor racing, more than 120 components were redesigned in the development of the SLS AMG engine. With 563 hp and 479 pound-feet of torque, the engine is one of the world's most powerful naturally aspirated V8s in production.

Photo: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGPhoto: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

Dry Sump Lubrication for Lower Center of Gravity

A dry-sump engine lubrication system - rare in the auto industry - along with a front-mid engine located well behind the front wheels, coupled with a rear-mounted transaxle, all contribute to impressive vehicle handling. Two oil pumps make it possible to store engine oil in a separate tank, eliminating a conventional oil pan or sump and allowing the engine to be positioned lower in the body for an extremely low center of gravity. More than 14 quarts of oil circulate through the SLS engine. A suction pump constantly scavenges oil from the bottom of the crankshaft chamber and the cylinder heads, pumping it into the oil tank in front of the engine. With no reservoir of oil at crankshaft level, this design actually adds horsepower by significantly reducing oil drag on the spinning crankshaft.

A second engine oil pump draws oil out of the tank and pressure-feeds it throughout the engine to lubricate the bearings. When oil travels to one side during hard cornering, conventional lubrication systems can lose oil pressure and damage the engine, but the SLS two-pump system with its remote reservoir ensures a reliable supply of oil even under extreme lateral loads.

Photo: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGPhoto: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

Lightweight Forged Pistons

Forged aluminum pistons are another special feature of the SLS engine. Stronger than conventional cast pistons, forged pistons are also 1.1 pounds lighter. Metered nozzles in the crankcase spray cooling oil on the underside of the pistons.

One Man, One Engine - Individual Hand Craftsmanship

Each new AMG engine is hand-assembled by an expert craftsman at Mercedes-AMG in Affalterbach, Germany. Mercedes-AMG follows a philosophy of "one man, one engine," which means a single technician - identified by the signature plate affixed to the engine - is responsible for the complete assembly of an AMG high-performance engine from start to finish. With the utmost care, the craftsman installs each and every part - from the crankshaft, connecting rods and pistons to the intake system, wiring harness and oil fill-up. Each new engine is test-run to ensure consistent quality and maximum performance.

Photo: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGPhoto: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

Rear-Mounted AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT Transmission

The new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG features an all-new AMG SPEEDSHIFT dual-clutch seven-speed transaxle, essentially a manual gearbox with computer-controlled automatic shifting and two clutches that control odd and even gears. Designed for full-power shifting, the new transaxle is incorporates a rear final drive, differential and a mechanical differential lock.

Its rear-mounted transmission and final drive help provide ideal 47-53 front-rear weight distribution - a key factor contributing to the car's outstanding handling. The aluminum transaxle is solidly connected to the engine by a torque tube in which a carbon-fiber driveshaft rotates at engine speed.

Photo: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGPhoto: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

Dual-Clutch Seven-Speed Gearbox

The two clutches control power to shafts that hold seven pairs of drive gears. One shaft holds all the odd-numbered gears, and the other shaft has the even-numbered gears. As a result of this design, shifts can be made without interrupting power by electronically applying one clutch exactly when the other is being disengaged. The next gear is always pre-selected electronically while its clutch is disengaged, making it ready for an instant, full-power shift as soon as its clutch is engaged.

Instant Shifts, Computer-Enhanced

Mounted on the center console, a small T-handle serves as an electronic shift lever for the AMG E-DRIVE unit, which also includes a shift mode knob and buttons for choosing ESP and AMG driving modes, starting the engine and raising the rear wing. One touch back on the T-handle engages drive, while a touch forward engages reverse. When the car is stopped, pushing the "P" button engages the park lock, which also happens automatically whenever the engine is turned off.

The rotary knob on the AMG E-DRIVE unit can select the RACE START feature and four drive modes - Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and Manual. AMG shift paddles on the back of the steering wheel control manual shifting. An automatic rev-matching feature makes downshifting the SLS AMG smooth, yet even more satisfying. Rev-matching automatically meters engine speed so that downshifts are load-free - no lunging or jerking, even in power-on turns or heavy braking.

Photo: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGPhoto: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

Forged Aluminum Double Wishbone Suspension

Complementing its prodigious power, the SLS AMG suspension features double wishbones and track rods at all four wheels - an uncompromising technology that has proven itself in racing, right up to Formula One competition.

Unlike strut-type suspensions, the shock absorber in a double-wishbone arrangement does not perform double duty to help locate the wheel, making the suspension stronger and allowing the shock absorber to work independent of any wheel deflection. All eight wishbones and the four steering knuckles are made of forged aluminum, minimizing unsprung weight, which improves suspension and steering response. To minimize body roll during hard cornering, a thick but lightweight tubular stabilizer bar is fitted up front, while the rear suspension comes with a solid, two-piece bar.

Photo: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGPhoto: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

Two-Piece AMG Disc Brakes

To balance its high-speed capability, the SLS AMG comes with vented disc brakes that are grooved and perforated all around. Proven on AMG race cars, two-piece (compound) front brake discs "float" on stainless-steel pins connected to aluminum hubs. This two-piece design reduces weight and transfers less of the intense braking heat that other-wise finds its way to wheel bearings. Fixed brake calipers (six-piston up front and four-piston at the rear) grab the discs for a force of 1,109 horsepower under full braking from 155 mph to zero.

An SLS AMG can be ordered with optional ceramic disc brakes, which are identified by their gold calipers with "AMG Carbon Ceramic" logos. Made of a carbon-fiber-reinforced ceramic material, the ceramic discs are much harder than conventional ones. This not only increases service life, but also enhances durability under high heat and extreme loads, for even shorter stopping distances and higher fade resistance under extreme conditions. While they utilize the same two-piece floating layout as the standard SLS AMG disc brakes, the ceramic discs are even larger, and their total braking force is also higher. In addition, the ceramic discs are 40 percent lighter than conventional brakes, further reducing unsprung weight and enhancing suspension and steering response.

Photo: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGPhoto: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

Flow-Formed Light-Alloy AMG Wheels

The alloy wheels on the SLS AMG use an innovative flow-forming process that compresses and strengthens the area around the rim, allowing for thinner contours and reduced weight. As a result, each SLS wheel is about 2.4 pounds lighter than a conventional alloy wheel, further reducing unsprung weight and, in turn, enhancing suspension and steering response.

In front, the SLS AMG wheels are 9.5 inches wide, 19 inches in diameter, and are shod with 265 / 35 R 19 tires. The rear wheels measure 11.0 x 20 inches, with 295 / 30 R 20 tires that are nearly a foot wide. The SLS AMG tires use an exclusive rubber compound with grip on dry surfaces that's comparable to today's road racing tires, but with none of their disadvantages in the wet and cold.

Photo: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGPhoto: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

Hand-Stitched designo Leather Interior

Echoing the gullwing doors, an aviation theme is carried into the interior by a wing-like dash, four turbine-look dash air vents, concave door panels, aviation cockpit gauges and center console. Angled toward the driver, the AMG E-DRIVE unit on the console holds the electronic shift lever -- a "T" handle that recalls a jet's thrust control - and knobs and buttons for operating key drive systems. The dash, seats, door panels and arm rests are upholstered in hand-stitched designo leather. The headliner, roof pillars and rear shelf are finished in Alcantara, while the floor and lower part of the rear wall are covered in short-pile carpeting.

Lending an authentic racing flair to the cockpit, a three-spoke contoured steering wheel is wrapped in perforated nappa leather with a vertical metal double spoke. The 14.4-inch wheel includes metal paddles for manual shifting and a flattened section at the bottom for more knee and leg room. The steering wheel features multi-function rocker buttons that allow drivers to operate audio, phone, voice control and navigation from the steering wheel as well as a versatile main menu in the dash display.

Photo: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGPhoto: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

Versatile Dash Displays

Two silver gauges with red needles indicate engine speed and vehicle speed, with smaller displays within the gauges for fuel level and engine oil temperature. Between the gauges, a 4.5-inch screen displays gear selection, driving mode, outside temperature and clock. Above the display is a racing-type shift prompter - a group of LEDs showing ideal shift points that are visible in the driver's peripheral vision.

A User-Friendly COMAND system

A controller on the center console works like a computer mouse to operate a seven-inch color COMAND display at the top of the dash that controls the audio, telephone and navigation systems. A standard six-speaker audio system includes a 100-watt amplifier; a six-disc, in-dash CD / DVD player; and an AM, FM and weatherband tuner that's satellite-radio-ready.

A standard Bluetooth interface allows a phone still in a pocket or handbag to be operated through the audio system, and a six-gigabyte music server enables up to 1,000 music files to be stored in the car. The COMAND system is also equipped with a standard iPod/MP3 interface and an advanced voice control. Other features allow the navigation system to display SIRIUS real-time traffic information and Zagat restaurant ratings.

Optional Bang&Olufsen Audio

An optional surround-sound audio system from the Danish specialist Bang&Olufsen was developed specifically for the SLS AMG. An amplifier with a total of 1,000 watts drives 11 speakers, and its digital sound processor (DSP) provides a choice of surround-sound or high-end studio sound, as well as sound focus positions for the driver, passenger or "central." This system includes two 250-watt subwoofers in the parcel shelf and illuminated 50-watt tweeters in the dash.

Luxurious Racing Seats

Designed to hug occupants but not be overly tight, high-bolstered SLS AMG seats are upholstered in premium designo leather with integral head restraints, an adjustable lumbar feature and power adjustments that are mounted on the bottom cushion. Standard equipment includes three-stage seat heating and memory buttons that can store seat, steering wheel and outside mirror positions for three different people.

The SLS AMG comes with eight airbags - two-stage adaptive front air bags and knee air bags for the driver and passenger, as well as side air bags in the outer seat cushions to protect the chest and arms and, for head protection, window bags that deploy upward from the door sill.

The New Flagship of Mercedes-Benz Sports Cars

The gullwing SLS AMG is the new flagship of the Mercedes-Benz sports car line, making supercars more accessible to a larger group of discerning influencers and automotive enthusiasts. Representing the strengths of both Mercedes-Benz and AMG, it's clear that the new SLS AMG is a harbinger of the design philosophy for an entire generation of Mercedes-Benz sports cars to come.

View more 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG pictures in our 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG photo gallery:

2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG specifications, overview, information and imagery courtesy of: Mercedes-Benz

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