Gull­wing high flier

It’s yours for $500,000-plus, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

TWOwealthy Aus­tralians have raced to the front of the queue for one of the world’s most an­tic­i­pated new su­per cars.

They have joined the Gull­wing club, putting down a sub­stan­tial de­posit to en­sure they get the first 315km/h Mercedes-Benz SLS coupes to land in Aus­tralia.

The $500,000-plus su­per car is in fi­nal de­vel­op­ment at AMG Mercedes-Benz in Ger­many and is ex­pected to be re­vealed at the Frankfurt Mo­tor Show in Septem­ber, with lo­cal de­liv­er­ies from the mid­dle of next year.

It will zap to 100km/h in 3.8 sec­onds and the top speed puts it into the exclusive 300-plus class.

The SLS pays homage to Benz’s clas­sic 1950s 300 SL, which was nick­named the ‘‘gull­wing’’ for its lift-up doors.

Sev­eral orig­i­nal gull­wings are in Aus­tralia, most with cashed-up col­lec­tors led by truck­ing mag­nate Lind­say Fox.

The SLS will not be as ex­pen­sive as the $1.2 mil­lion McLaren-Mercedes SLR, which was never built in right-hand drive and never sold of­fi­cially in Aus­tralia.

Even so, the new-age gull­wing’s $500,000-plus price— even more costly than cur­rent bench­mark the $492,331 SL65 AMG— will en­sure it re­mains a rare sight on Aus­tralian roads.

The SLS makes ex­ten­sive use of al­loy for its body and chas­sis to keep its weight down to about 1600kg and the Amer­i­can dealer guide shows it has a mid-front mounted 6.3-litre hand-built V8 AMG en­gine de­vel­op­ing 420kW and 650Nm.

The en­gine, which is mid-front-mounted to de­liver a 48/52 front-to-rear weight bal­ance, is mated to a stan­dard AMG seven-speed dual-clutch trans­mis­sion and lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial.

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