The heart of any car is its engine, and that of the SLR McLaren is truly outstanding. Produced at Mercedes-Benz’s AMG performance division, it is a 5.5-litre, 24-valve, supercharged V8 producing 617bhp, making it one of the most powerful engines ever found in a series-produced road-going sports car. Impressive though this peak horsepower figure is, it is the torque produced by this state-of-the-art ‘blown’ motor that is its most remarkable feature.
The torque curve is almost flat: there is already 440lb/ft by 1,500 rpm and well over 500lb/ft between 3,000 and 5,000 revs. As Car & Driver magazine observed: ‘This lends mind-boggling elasticity to the SLR, with passing performance that has to be felt to be appreciated.’
In the interests of maximum fuel efficiency, the screw-type compressor is controlled by the engine management system and only activated when the driver floors the accelerator. Needless to say, the SLR McLaren delivers performance figures that are still among the best in its class; taking just 3.8 seconds to sprint from 0 to 100km/h (62mph), it passes the 200km/h (125mph) mark after 10.6 seconds and from a standing start takes just 28.8 seconds to reach 300km/h (186mph). The two-seater has a top speed of 334km/h (207 mph).
A front-engined layout was chosen in the interests of optimum weight distribution, handling dynamics and braking stability, the motor’s dry-sump lubrication system enabling it to be mounted lower in the chassis. The five-speed automatic transmission was specially optimised for very high torque and also offers the driver the option of choosing between different shift characteristics using the Speedshift system.
Reflecting the long-term technological collaboration that Mercedes-Benz and McLaren enjoyed in Formula 1, the SLR’s carbon fibre composite monocoque body/chassis structure was produced in the latter’s then all-new facility in Woking, England. Clearly showing its Formula 1 parentage, the suspension is by means of double wishbones all round.
The power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering is speed sensitive, while the SLR’s Sensotronic Brake Control (SBC) and Electronic Stability Program (ESP) enable its sporting nature to shine through while maintaining the usual safety standards. The pioneering use of composite technology has also been extended to the brake discs, which are manufactured from a fibre-reinforced ceramic material capable of withstanding extremely high temperatures and offering a level of fade resistance hitherto unattainable in series-produced road cars. Topping off this technological tour de force is the electronically controlled rear spoiler, which rises to an angle of 65 degrees when the driver brakes heavily, boosting the braking effect by increasing aerodynamic drag and lending the SLR outstanding stability when braking from high speeds.
Finished in its striking colour combination of Basalt black with a red leather interior, this UK-delivered example has covered a modest 26,000 miles from new, supported by a total of seven services at the SLR Centre in Brooklands, the last being at c. 23,000 miles. The SLR is offered with a complete book pack encased in the correct SLR wallet containing the stamped service book, and additionally two sets of key fobs.
Mercedes intended to produce 500 SLRs per annum over the course of a seven-year production run but fell well short of that figure virtually every year. These historically important supercars will remain one of the most iconic, powerful and luxurious cars made in the early 21st century. Here is an excellent opportunity to own an exclusive, usable, low mileage and iconic supercar that will undoubtedly be a future classic.