mercedes sls amg comprehensive technical guide
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DESCRIPTIONThe Comprehenisve Mercedes SLS AMG Technology guide.
2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
Comprehensive Product Information
For News Media
MBUSA Product PR Department
Table of Contents
The first-ever car designed and developed from the ground up by Mercedes-AMG, the all-
new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG brings astonishing technology into the sports car spotlight –
an aluminum space-frame body with gullwing doors; a 563-horsepower AMG V8 engine
with dry sump lubrication; a carbon-fiber driveshaft; a dual-clutch, seven-speed transmission
and a double-wishbone suspension at all four corners. With a front-mid engine and rear-
mounted transaxle, the compelling SLS AMG boasts ideal weight distribution (47-53 percent,
front-to-rear) and, in combination with its extremely low center of gravity, provides race-
The new SLS AMG joins the elite few high-performance cars that can break the four-second
barrier for 0-60 mph acceleration. 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.
While a long front hood, short body overhangs, low greenhouse and a short tail section
define its silhouette, the stylistic highlight of the new SLS AMG is unquestionably its
gullwing doors. A wide front grille with a large Mercedes-Benz star and a wing-like lamella
help provide an aircraft look to the new sports car.
“In the SLS AMG, our customers benefit first-hand from the expertise gleaned by Mercedes-
AMG in more than 40 years of motorsports experience. This unparalleled technology
package provides extraordinary handling dynamics with moderate fuel consumption –
another hallmark of AMG today,” said Volker Mornhinweg, Chairman of Mercedes-AMG.
“It is more than just the exclusive gullwing doors that make the design of the new Mercedes-
Benz SLS AMG so special. Our aim with this interpretation is to create the classic car of the
future and put the most beautiful sports car of the 21st century on the road. Another of our
goals is to create a new design icon that, like other Mercedes models such as the CLS and the
SL, will help shape the incomparable story of our brand. At the same time, the new SLS is a
harbinger of the design philosophy of future Mercedes-Benz sports cars.”
For the first time in its 40-plus years of experience, Mercedes-AMG has developed a car from
start to finish. To fulfill their ambitious goal, AMG specialists in Affalterbach, Germany used
development tools ranging from cutting-edge simulation programs to extensive endurance
test drives on every continent.
A Complete Virtual Car
After initial approval of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG project in late 2006, the new
Gullwing was first brought to life on a high-speed computer as a digital prototype. High-tech
simulation programs enabled all characteristics of the vehicle to be modeled realistically,
whether its engine position, weight distribution, center of gravity, suspension design, driving
dynamics, aerodynamics, crash performance, ergonomics or the production process.
Digital prototypes helped in the development of the first ready-to-drive SLS AMG
prototypes, which were ready for testing in spring 2007. Developed primarily for testing
engine, transmission, brakes and suspension, these unfinished “mules” were, from an
engineering standpoint, relatively mature. Complex measurement equipment helped speed
up the refinement of sub-systems such as brakes, springs and shock absorbers. AMG
engineers also focused on SLS lap times around the north loop – the Nordschleife -- of the
legendary Nürburgring race track.
The first camouflaged examples of a real SLS AMG began testing in the summer of 2008 and
more than 40 vehicles were kept in service. The key testing stages are listed below:
Engine, transmission, drivetrain, air conditioning systemAltitude testing in Denver, Colorado; Lesotho, South Africa; Mont Ventoux, France and
Granada, SpainHigh-temperature testing in Death Valley, California; Upington, South Africa; Idiada, Spain and Phoenix, Arizona
Test drives in Los Angeles, CaliforniaLow-temperature testing in Arctic Falls and Arjeplog, SwedenTesting in the climate tunnel in Stuttgart
Cooling and fuel systemHigh-speed tracks in Nardo, Italy; Laredo, Texas and Papenburg, Germany Testing in Upington, South Africa and Death Valley, CaliforniaTesting in the wind tunnel in Stuttgart
Brakes and control systemsTesting of the brake system on the high-speed circuit in Nardo, Italy and the Großglockner Pass in AustriaTesting of dynamic handling control systems at the Idiada test facility in Spain,
Arjeplog, Sweden and Boxberg proving ground
At the same time, separate dynamometer and test cell programs were subjecting engines,
transmissions, body, suspension and brakes to punishing endurance tests.
Accelerated Endurance Tests
Endurance testing is the “final exam” that compresses an entire vehicle lifetime into a much
shorter time period, with the goal of ensuring a totally ready-to-go vehicle when production
begins. About 30 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG test vehicles will clock more than 750,000
miles before development is totally completed in January 2010:
Endurance testing on public roads: Testing the interaction of all components and systems in everyday use. This phase calls for the vehicles to be loaded to the maximum gross vehicle weight and to follow a precisely defined test program of country roads, highways and city streets.
'Heide' testing (named after the poor roads over the 'Lüneburger Heide'): Developers focus on durability of the suspension, the body and the subframe that holds the front axle, steering and engine. The test vehicles are loaded up to the maximum gross vehicle weight.
Accelerated endurance test: Vehicle testing focuses on drivetrain and suspension. Special feature of the AMG program: 6,000 miles on the North Loop of the Nürburgring and another 6,000 miles on city streets.
Full-throttle endurance test: Extreme acceleration and deceleration sequences with extensive full-throttle operation; places high stress on cooling, fuel supply and braking systems.
Global endurance test:
Whole vehicle testing focused on drivetrain, suspension and body Corrosion endurance test:
Corrosion testing simulates the toughest dynamic and climatic conditionsFinal board approval:
Overall review of development and production maturity
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Engine
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. As a result, the
SLS engine produces 563 SAE net horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque for 0 to 60
mph acceleration of less than four seconds. In fact, the engine is the world’s most powerful
naturally aspirated V8 engine in production.
One Man, One Engine –Individual Hand Craftsmanship
Each new AMG engine is hand-assembled one at a time by an expert craftsman at Mercedes-
AMG in Affalterbach, Germany. Mercedes-AMG follows a philosophy of “one man, one
engine,” which means that 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 started and bench-tested to ensure consistent quality and maximum performance.
Dry Sump Lubrication for Lower Center of Gravity
One of the many differences in the new SLS engine (in comparison to AMG’s earlier M156
V8) is dry-sump lubrication. 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. This contributes to impressive
vehicle handling, along with a front-mid-engine location behind the front wheels and a rear-
mounted transaxle, which provide the new SLS with a front-rear weight distribution of 47-53
In total, 14.27 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 at a rate of up to 740 quarts a minute. 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 – a pendulum-slide vane type -- draws oil out of the tank and
pressure-feeds it throughout the engine to lubricate the bearings. When oil sloshes 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 corning.
While both oil pumps are driven mechanically by the engine, the pressure pump can vary its
flow electronically to increase fuel efficiency, based on load and temperature maps built into
the engine management control unit. Two oil coolers with integrated blower fans are housed
in the front fenders to cool the engine oil.
Lightweight Forged Pistons
Forged aluminum pistons are another new 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 piston crowns.
TWAS Twin-Wire-Arc-Sprayed Cylinder Bores
The engine block and cylinder heads are made of cast aluminum-silicon alloys (AlSi7 and
AlSi17, respectively), which represent the state of the art in terms of strength, light weight and
thermal benefits. In the block, the cylinder bores feature a twin-wire-arc-sprayed (TWAS)
coating, an innovative process that results in impressively low friction and running surfaces
that are twice as hard as conventional cast-iron cylinders. First, a high-pressure water jet
roughens the cylinder bores. Then two electrode wires and an atomizing gas form plasma
under high voltage. In essence, the atomizing gas sprays molten metal from the wires onto the
cylinder walls, where it solidifies, forming an extremely hard coating. A honing process
finishes the cylinder bores, exposing micro-pores in the hard coating that will retain oil and
ensure good lubrication of the pistons and piston rings.
Crankcase Bedplate Instead of Main Bearing Caps
For strength and reliability, the engine uses a rigid one-piece bedplate at the bottom of the
engine block. Instead of conventional separate main bearing caps that can distort or loosen at
high RPM, the aluminum bedplate essentially sandwiches the crankshaft between two sections
of the sturdy engine block.
The SLS block weighs 8.8 pounds less than the earlier M156 engine, and extensive use of
aluminum bolts saves another 1.3 pounds. The fully assembled V8 weighs only 453 pounds
– an extraordinary feat for a 563-horsepower engine.
A Racing Crankshaft
Made of high-quality forged steel alloy, a finely balanced crankshaft with six counterweights
spins in five main crankshaft bearings. The crankshaft counterweights feature heavy metal
plugs – a detail usually found only in racing engines – which means the counterweights can be
much smaller, increasing power by reducing rotational inertia.
Each forged connecting rod is precisely “cracked” with the help of a laser beam, so the
irregular fracture contributes to its strength when the two halves are clamped around the
crankshaft. The connecting rods and lightweight forged pistons are matched for extremely
close weight tolerances that contribute to smooth running at high speeds.
Velocity Stacks Feed Vertical Intake and Exhaust Ports
Engine intake air flows through dual air cleaners and two electronically operated three-inch
throttle flaps. Twin hot film air mass sensors provide the Bosch 9.7 ME engine electronics with
information about the density and temperature of incoming air.
Intake air then flows into a magnesium intake manifold that houses eight racing-type velocity
stacks – each 11.4 inches long and two inches in diameter. Adapted from motorsports designs,
air passing through the engine follows a relatively straight line down through the velocity
stacks into its hemispherical combustion chambers and out the exhaust passages.
The SLS exhaust system features racing-type “headers” – four equal-length tubes that feed into
a large collector pipe on each side of the engine. The dual exhaust system includes a ceramic
catalytic converter mounted on each collector, with small mufflers and metal catalysts on the
underbody and a large, transverse muffler at the rear.
“Bucket” Followers Instead of Rocker Arms
The AMG-designed engine also features a sophisticated valve train, also adapted from AMG
racing engines. Each intake valve is 40 millimeters in diameter, while exhaust valves measure
34 mm. Twin overhead camshafts in each cylinder bank open the 32 valves via bucket-type
followers. In other words, instead of rocker arms, the cam lobes sweep across the flat tops of
the buckets, which sit directly on top of the valve stems.
This space-saving design provides a very stiff valve train that allows for large valve openings
and dependable high-speed operation for maximum horsepower and torque. However, in
contrast to racing engines, each bucket incorporates a hydraulic lifter that automatically
maintains valve clearance, which allows for long maintenance intervals and low operating cost.
Variable Valve Timing
The AMG V8 makes use of variable intake and exhaust valve timing to maximize efficiency
and torque over a wide RPM range. Valve timing on the SLS can be automatically adjusted
within a range of 42 degrees using electro-hydraulic vane-type adjusters on each camshaft.
At part throttle, the valve timing adjuster keeps the exhaust valves open as the intake valves
are already opening, using this valve overlap to create internal exhaust gas recirculation,
reducing exhaust emissions and improving fuel economy. However, approaching full
throttle, the camshaft adjustment reduces overlap, optimizing valve timing for maximum
power. The intake cams are driven by a double chain from the crankshaft, and small gears
on the intake cams drive the exhaust camshafts.
Mounted behind the front grille, an integrated radiator includes separate cooling circuits for
air conditioning refrigerant, power steering oil and engine coolant. In comparison to more
conventional systems with separate components, the SLS design saves around nine pounds.
At low speeds, a large thermostatically controlled fan directly behind the radiator draws
cooling air through the assembly.
Managing the Alternator for Better Fuel Economy
Whenever the battery is at least 80 percent charged, the engine management system dials
back alternator charging, reducing load on the engine to help minimize fuel consumption.
The system can keep the battery charged on the road just during coasting and braking. In
this way, vehicle momentum or inertia energy is recovered and converted into electrical
energy that’s stored in the battery.
AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT Transmission
The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is fitted with an all-new AMG SPEEDSHIFT dual-clutch
seven-speed transaxle, essentially a manual gearbox with computer-controlled automatic
shifting and two clutches that control the odd and even gears. Designed for full-power
shifting, the new transaxle is mounted at the back of the SLS and incorporates the rear final
drive, differential and a mechanical differential lock.
The multi-clutch limited-slip differential provides 30 percent locking on acceleration and 60
percent on deceleration. The car’s low center of gravity, ideal weight distribution and
minimal wheel load transfer allows for relatively low locking ratios.
Dual-Clutch Seven-Speed Gearbox
Two clutches are located just in front of the differential assembly, and they drive the shafts
that hold seven pairs of drive gears at the back of the transaxle. One clutch drives all the
odd-numbered gears, and the other clutch drives 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. Generally, DCT transmissions shift even quicker
than most single-clutch AMTs (automated-manual transmissions) used on Formula One race
cars, and they can shift more smoothly, making DCTs better for street driving.
Instant Shifts, Computer-Enhanced
Mounted on the center console, a small T-handle serves as an electronic shift lever for the
AMG DRIVE UNIT, which also includes a shift mode knob and buttons for choosing ESP
modes, starting the engine, raising the rear wing and accessing the AMG menu. 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.
Shifting through the seven gears is automatic, but can also be done manually with AMG shift
paddles on the steering wheel. The rotary knob on the AMG DRIVE UNIT can select the
RACE START feature and four drive modes:
“C” (Controlled Efficiency) -- Car starts off in second gear; relatively low-speed shifts for best fuel economy
“S” (Sport) – Car starts in first gear; shifts take place at higher engine speed and with less throttle; shifting is 20 percent faster than in “C”
“S+” (Sport Plus) – Shifts are another 20 percent faster
“M” (Manual) – Manual shifting, and another 10 percent faster (less than 100 milliseconds, 50 percent faster than “C” mode)
RACE START helps maintain full-throttle acceleration and optimal traction during
motorsports competition. After selecting the RACE START mode, the driver steps on the
brake with the left foot and pushes the ESP Sport switch. When confirmation appears in the
central display on the dash, the driver reconfirms RACE START by pulling the upshift
paddle once, flooring the accelerator and releasing the brake. Engine speed is set
automatically, and the car launches with full acceleration.
An automatic rev-matching feature makes downshifting the SLS AMG smooth, yet even
more satisfying. Active in all modes except “C,” rev-matching automatically meters engine
speed so that downshifts are load-free – no lunging or jerking, even in power-on turns or
The 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 entire
aluminum transaxle weighs only 300 pounds and is solidly connected to the engine by an
aluminum torque tube that’s 5.4 feet in length. Inside the tube, a carbon-fiber driveshaft
rotates at engine speed. Already proven in AMG race cars, the carbon-fiber driveshaft and
torque tube together weigh only 64 pounds. A special torsion damper on the engine
flywheel connects the driveshaft while reducing powertrain noise and vibration.
Double Wishbone Suspension
The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG body is suspended on four steel coil springs, with body and
wheel motion damped by aluminum shock absorbers. 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.
The key benefit of a double-wishbone suspension is that wheel location and shock absorber
damping are totally separate. Unlike strut-type suspensions, the shock absorber in double-
wishbone suspension 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
Forged Aluminum Wishbones
All eight wishbones and the four steering knuckles are made of forged aluminum,
minimizing unsprung weight, which improves suspension and steering response. The
dynamic behavior of the SLS AMG suspension is largely determined by the geometry of the
wishbones – their pivot points on the chassis and their differing lengths – as well as the
layout of the steering knuckles that connect the wishbones to the wheels and to the steering
For strength, rubber-metal pivot bushings on the wishbones are widely separated, and, in
front, the lower wishbones channel wheel forces to a steel subframe. At the rear, the
wishbones are attached to cast aluminum nodes on the frame.
The front suspension is designed to reduce the car’s tendency to dive during braking, while
the rear suspension minimizes squat on acceleration. The car’s long 105.5-inch wheelbase
also reduces dive and squat while providing good straight-line stability.
Its broad wheel track (66.2 inches in front, 65.0 inches at the rear) minimizes load shifts
from the inner to the outer wheel, allowing the wheels to retain more grip during cornering.
A relatively large caster angle (front-to-rear inclination of the steering axis) of 11.5 degrees
increases negative camber during cornering, which improves tire grip and aids stability when
braking in turns. The scrub radius (side-to-side steering axis angle) is slightly negative, so
that braking forces have a negligible effect on steering.
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 stabilizer bar.
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, with none of their disadvantages
in the wet and cold.
A standard tire pressure monitoring system allows the pressure in all four tires to be displayed
on the dash. A sensor inside each wheel transmits data about temperature and pressure to a
control unit near the rear suspension. Tire pressure can be shown in the central dash display,
and a warning message appears if pressure is low.
Power Rack-and-Pinion Steering
Mounted in an aluminum housing, the steel rack and pinion gears provide a constant ratio of
13.1 to 1 for a consistently direct steering feel, with speed-sensitive power assist. The
steering box is mounted on the subframe in front of the engine.
Two-Piece AMG Disc Brakes
The SLS AMG comes with four-wheel two-piece (compound) disc brakes that are vented,
grooved and perforated all around. The front discs are 15.35 inches in diameter and 1.4
inches thick, while the rear rotors are 14.1 x 1.0 inches. Proven on AMG race cars, the iron
brake discs “float” on stainless-steel pins connected to aluminum hubs. This two-piece disc
design reduces weight and transfers less of the intense braking heat that otherwise finds its
way to the wheel bearings.
Fixed brake calipers -- six-piston up front and four-piston at the rear – grab the discs for a
braking force of 1,109 horsepower under full braking from 155 mph to zero.
Optional Ceramic Discs
An SLS AMG can be ordered with optional ceramic disc brakes, which are identified by their
gold calipers with “AMG Carbon Ceramic” logos. Featuring a carbon-fiber-reinforced
ceramic material that is formed in a vacuum at 3,100 degrees Fahrenheit, 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 larger -- 15.8 x 1.5 inches in front and 14.1 x 1.3 inches at the rear.
Their total braking force is also higher – 1,120 hp from 155 mph to zero under full braking.
In addition, the ceramic discs are 40 percent lighter than conventional brakes, further
reducing unsprung weight and enhancing suspension and steering response.
ABS Anti-Lock and Three-Stage ESP Stability Control
Standard equipment on the SLS AMG includes an ABS anti-lock brake system with dynamic
brake force distribution. When braking in turns, the ABS networks with the ESP system to
minimize vehicle yaw and maintain stability.
A three-stage ESP stability control system has been tuned for high-performance driving
dynamics. An “ESP” button on the center console offers three different settings:
“ESP ON” – any oversteer or understeer condition triggers corrective braking on one or more wheels, followed by a reduction in engine power
“ESP SPORT” – braking and throttle intervention is triggered at a higher dynamic threshold, allowing for more spirited driving, including drifting.
“ESP OFF” – no brake or throttle intervention, although applying the brake pedal restores normal ESP operation
The system’s traction control operates in all three ESP modes. If one of the rear wheels starts
to spin, the brake on that wheel is applied to transfer engine power to the other wheel.
In general terms, a spaceframe is any structure made in rigid triangular sections. The
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG makes use of an advanced automotive spaceframe to provide a
strong, relatively lightweight chassis for the new supercar.
For the first time, a Mercedes-Benz body has been developed almost entirely of aluminum –
not only the spaceframe, but the outer skin as well. A strong and extremely rigid structure,
the entire SLS AMG body weighs only 530 pounds.
The SLS AMG spaceframe is comprised of 76 percent contoured aluminum sheets, 20
percent cast aluminum parts and four percent steel. Only the engine subframe and front roof
pillars or “A” pillars are made of ultra high-strength, heat-formed steel. Since it hides
antennae for the radio, GPS navigation, telematics and cellular telephone, the trunk lid is
made of a plastic composite.
In most other places where high forces are involved or large parts such as the gullwing doors
or dash assembly are attached, cast aluminum is used. Cast parts can be contoured exactly as
needed – with reinforcing ribs in some areas and minimized wall thickness in others. In
particular, a cast aluminum roof member anchors the highly stressed hinges for the gullwing
doors and, at the same time, connects the front and rear roof frames.
Gullwing Doors Help Provide Rigid Sill Structure
The aluminum inner and outer panels of the gullwing doors are bonded together with SPF
superplastic forming, and an ultra-high-strength, cold-formed steel brace inside each door
sits against the door pillars to protect occupants in side collisions.
The gullwing doors allow for a thick, extremely rigid door sill structure that strengthens the
occupant safety cell and helps channel crash energy around the occupant area, along with
continuous side members that run from the front cross-member to the door sill sections.
Located low in the vehicle to keep the center of gravity as low as possible, longitudinal frame
members connect the front and rear body sections. Transverse reinforcing struts in the front
and rear body sections connect the left and right suspension, providing high transverse
rigidity that’s needed during cornering and eliminating the need for secondary reinforcing
Front-Mid Engine Helps Crash Safety
In addition to providing outstanding weight distribution, the front-mid-engine location
creates a large crash deformation zone in front of the engine, allowing a relatively light front
bulkhead to be used. Even the driveshaft torque tube improves front and rear crash safety
by helping to absorb collision energy and transfer it to the other end of the vehicle.
With the goal of achieving outstanding crash protection with low weight, more than 1,000
computer-simulated vehicle crash tests were conducted. Load paths were identified, and the
best alloys were selected in terms of stiffness, energy absorption and overall strength. At the
same time, optimal wall thicknesses were established, and the best bonding technologies were
chosen. Depending on the forces at each location, some body parts are welded together; in
other areas, bonding compounds, rivets or bolts are used.
During the later stages of the development process, the super sports car also underwent 35
real-world crash tests to confirm its performance in front, side and rear collisions as well as in
rollovers. Not only were all global government standards addressed, but the SLS AMG was
also subjected to a number of demanding in-house tests that go far beyond any legal
Although aluminum does not rust, it is subject to several types of corrosion. As a result,
corrosion-resistant aluminum alloys were chosen, and the few steel parts on the car are fully
zinc-galvanized. Because corrosion sometimes forms where steel contacts aluminum, special
electrochemical insulators were used at those points.
Even from a distance, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG says “aggressive sports car.” Its long
front hood, low-slung bumpers, short body overhangs, low roof line and short tail section
define its basic shape and give it a bold stance.
Walking toward the car, more details emerge. The headlights are positioned at the outer edge
of the front fenders, drawing attention to a wide front grille with a large Mercedes-Benz star
accented by horizontal wing-like fins and, behind the front wheels, familiar engine air gills –
all reminiscent of the legendary Mercedes-Benz 300SL of the 1950s.
Visually Spectacular Doors with a Practical Twist
Getting closer, the body seams of the SLS AMG reveal its stylistic highlight – gullwing
doors. Hinged at the roof, they open upwards, allowing easy access, even in tight parking
spaces. While the open gullwing doors make a spectacular visual statement, they also serve a
practical purpose – the high door sills help provide an especially rigid frame, which enhances
the car’s responsive steering and handling.
Xenon and LED Lighting
Up close, it’s apparent that xenon lights sit under polycarbonate headlight covers in tubular
projection housings that resemble telephoto camera lenses. Telescopic headlight washers are
discreetly integrated into the light housing, and water pressure pops up the headlight washers
whenever the windshield washers are operated.
All ancillary lights such as turn signals and daytime running lights feature eye-catching LED
technology. Located above each headlight, thirteen LEDS behind a special lens serve as turn
signals, and daytime running lights are formed by two rows of five white LEDs below the
Complementary Accent Lines
Muscular shoulder lines emerge from the headlights and draw the eye along the front fenders
and across the entire side of the car. Complementary accent lines run from the gill openings
behind the front wheels to the rear wheels. Two design creases on the front hood are
answered by a pair of lines in the roof that taper into the center-mounted brake light.
Active Rear Spoiler
A convex rear window and tapered rear roof pillars blend into a sloping trunk lid, which
hides an active aerodynamic spoiler that provides extra downforce at high speeds. A four-
link electric drive operates the downforce wing, which automatically rises to a 20-degree
angle at 74 mph and retracts again at 50 mph. The rear bumper houses LED fog lights and
back-up lights as well as an air diffuser and dual outlets for the AMG exhaust.
The side-view mirrors are attached directly to the window sills, and their body-color
housings are contoured to reduce wind noise and keep the side windows relatively clean.
Both outside mirrors are heated, auto-dimming and electrically adjustable.
The windshield wipers on the new SLS AMG make use of two reversible motors – one for
each wiper. The motors are direct-drive, with no linkage between the two wipers to connect
them. As a result, the two motors actually network electronically with each other to keep the
wiper arms synchronized.
A rain sensor determines the frequency of the intermittent wipe function. Three windshield
washer nozzles are hidden along the trailing edge of the front hood and are fed by a two-
gallon washer fluid reservoir.
Echoing the swing-wing doors, an aviation theme is carried into the interior, expressed 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 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.
Hand-Stitched designo Leather
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.
When the car is unlocked with the SmartKey remote, flush-mounted body-color handles pop
out from the outside of the gullwing doors. Two hidden gas-pressure struts allow the doors
to be opened and closed easily, and to be stopped at any point in their 70 degrees of travel.
The fully open doors are 60 inches above the road surface, and the step-over height of the
door sill is only 18 inches. Three door seals keep the interior quiet and the wide sill clean by
sealing out wind, water and dirt.
A grip molded into the bottom of each inner door panel makes closing the gullwing doors
easy, even for small occupants. Controls for the power windows, central locking and outside
mirrors are also located in the door panels.
Standard KEYLESS GO
A standard KEYLESS GO system allows the car to be started with the remote unit still in a
pocket or handbag, whenever the driver’s foot is on the brake pedal. A “summer opening”
and “closing convenience” feature can open or close the windows remotely, simply by
holding down the unlock or lock button on the SmartKey remote unit.
High-Tech Steering Wheel
Lending an authentic racing flair to the cockpit, a three-spoke contoured steering wheel is
wrapped in perforated nappa leather with a metal vertical twin 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.
A steel and magnesium skeleton that forms the steering wheel rim, spokes and airbag module
is designed to deform during a frontal collision and help protect the driver. The steering
wheel features multi-function rocker buttons that allow drivers to operate many systems with
their hands on the steering wheel. Audio, phone, voice control and navigation can be
operated from the steering wheel as well as a versatile main menu in the dash display. To the
left of the steering wheel is a pull-twist knob for the lights and buttons for the electric
parking brake and trunk lid opener
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.
The multi-function buttons on the steering wheel can be used to display the odometer
reading, trip mileage, fuel economy, range, driving time and average speed on the central
screen as well as navigation instructions, audio and phone information, vehicle settings and
the next service interval. An AMG menu can also show tire pressure at each wheel and three
other key modes:
“Warm Up” – shows coolant and transmission oil temperature
“Set Up” -- current ESP mode
“RACE” – activates a RACETIMER, which can measure racetrack lap times
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. For fast, accurate route calculation and navigation, maps for all of North
America are stored on a 40-gigabyte hard drive.
The 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 ready for HD and satellite radio
subscriptions. 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 optional features allow the navigation system to display Sirius real-time
traffic information and Zagat restaurant ratings.
Below the COMAND screen are controls for a state-of-the-art automatic climate control
system that even includes a sensor for CO and nitrogen oxide. High levels of either pollutant
will automatically begin the air recirculation mode.
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.” The
Bang&Olufsen 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, the high-bolstered SLS AMG seats are
upholstered in premium designo leather with integral head restraints and power adjustments,
including an adjustable lumbar feature. Power seat controls are mounted on the bottom
cushion. Standard equipment includes three-stage heat heating and memory buttons that can
store seat, steering wheel and outside mirror positions for three different people.
Structurally, the seats use magnesium frames and foam cushions that are bonded directly to
fiberglass panels. The prominent side bolsters use relatively hard foam for good support,
while the inner areas of the seatback and bottom cushions use much softer foam for
exceptional comfort on long trips.
Sports Car Seating Position
A low seat height of only 14.5 inches above the road surface helps underscore the sports car
feeling of the SLS AMG, while the steep angle of the windshield ensures good all-around
visibility. At the same time, spacious comfort is due to its 39-inch headroom, elbow room of
63.2 inches and effective driver legroom of 41.7 inches.
The SLS AMG comes with three-point seat belts and belt tensioners, which tighten the belts
and pull the occupants against the seats as a crash begins. The seat belts are also fitted with
belt force limiters that relax the belts slightly as forces on the chest build a split second later.
The two-seater is also equipped 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 air bags that deploy upward
from the door sill.
Four ultrasound sensors in each bumper serve as transmitters and receivers for a standard
Parktronic system that helps drivers deal with tight spaces. At speeds less than 12 mph, the
distance to any nearby obstacle is displayed on the dash, and a warning tone sounds as the
SLS AMG gets close.
Storage for Two
In addition to a large glove box, the SLS AMG has a storage compartment with two
cupholders under the COMAND controller on the center console. There’s also room behind
the seats, where two fixed clothes hooks are attached to the seatbacks, and other hooks pull
down from the headliner. The trunk has a capacity of 6.2 cubic feet.
While it has been said that every Mercedes-Benz becomes collectible, there’s no question that
the new SLS AMG is an instant collector car. One of the most beautiful sports cars of the
21st century, the swing-wing SLS AMG is a classic car of the future that can be owned and
driven today. It’s also clear that the new SLS AMG is a harbinger of the design philosophy
for an entire generation of Mercedes-Benz sports cars to come.
While the SLS AMG reaches far forward in terms of innovative automotive technology and
social responsibility, its design also harkens back to Mercedes-Benz automotive history – a
heritage that is longer and richer than any other automotive brand. The 300SL gullwing
coupe of the 1950s was the best-performing and most technologically advanced car of its
time, and the 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG boldly re-asserts the brand’s ownership of
these impressive claims.
The 2011 SLS AMG represents a synthesis of Mercedes-Benz and AMG – the ultimate
expression of the strengths of both companies. From a marketing standpoint, the new SLS
AMG features segment-leading style, prodigious performance and class-leading comfort.
Positioned as the new flagship of the Mercedes-Benz sports car line, The SLS AMG makes
the very idea of a supercar more accessible to a much larger group of discerning influencers
and automotive enthusiasts.
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2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG – Page PAGE 3