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Three 'affordable' exotics battle it out
This week’s installment of AutoGuide’s interactive weekly feature ‘Commute, Toy or Destroy’ pits three true exotic machines head-to-head.
As the official F1 safety car, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT has been seeing quite a bit of track time in this year’s FIA Formula One World Championship. With a good chance that it’ll make an appearance at the upcoming Singapore Grand Prix, the German automaker has outfitted it with several changes.
No surprises here, as FAB Design has released photos of its custom Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster and it’s pretty much everything we expected: hideous.
The Swiss-based tuner has never been known for subtle enhancements. Its McLaren MP4-12C at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show was overkill, and the Gullstream tuning package for the standard SLS AMG Coupe foreshadowed the atrocity that would result from the roadster variant.
The gaudy widebody is further ruined by the accompanying body kit. The rear end isn’t necessarily bad, but we just can’t forgive the front-end styling. About the only thing we can give credit to FAB Design for doing is the candy red paint that sports a matte finish. We would take a factory SLS AMG Roadster in that shade.
For performance, FAB Design tweaked the Roadster to 615-hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, a change of 52-hp and 111 lb-ft of torque from factory figures.
Thankfully the interior is done more tastefully, with an abundant use of carbon fiber. We would prefer to pass on the custom steering wheel with the FAB Design logo, or the FAB logo grille.
GALLERY: FAB Design SLS AMG Roadster
AMG, the high-performance subsidiary for German luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz, is poised to establish itself as a real player in the sports car industry by unveiling 17 new models and variants over the next four years.
Most noticeable of the upcoming models by AMG will be their SLC model which is slated to hit showrooms by 2014 with a roadster variant to come 18 months later. It is believed the SLC is a “baby SLS” but will still be powered by a twin-turbo V8 engine with 550 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque with an estimated price of $150,000 to $200,000.
In addition to the new models, AMG and Mercedes are working together for lightweight aluminum chassis and a new generation of powerplants for their models. The German automaker hopes to reduce the total number of platforms by sharing them across all segments. Their end goal is to have one platform for rear-wheel drive vehicles, one for compact front-wheel drive cars, and one for SUVs.
As for engines, AMG is currently working on a 2.0L, four-cylinder for the A-, CLC-, and GLC-Class models. They are hoping to squeeze out an impressive 340-hp out of the small powerplant. It is also rumored that AMG is working on a more powerful 4.0L V8, and a possible inline-six engine.
There are also rumors of an SLS successor floating around. A car that will pack plenty more carbon fiber than the current SLS AMG and will be powered by a 6.2L V8 with 650-hp. With the aid of plenty more carbon throughout the car and a new lightweight aluminum chassis, this successor could weight almost 600 lbs lighter than the current generation model. Now that would be a supercar.
And we are already well aware that AMG is working on a lightweight and Black Series variant of the SLS AMG. And upcoming is the new SL 63 AMG with a 571-hp V8, while the SL 65 AMG will see a 625-hp V12. Upcoming in the near future are AMG variants of the new S-Class and a V12-powered G-Class.
[Source: GT Spirit]
Last year rumors spread that AMG was working on a new compact sports car, and now reports are coming in that it may debut at an auto show later this year. And similar to the SLS AMG, this new two-seater coupe will be branded as an AMG vehicle rather than a Mercedes-Benz, similar to what Dodge is doing with their SRT Viper.
There aren’t many details on the new AMG model, which at one time used the codename of SLV – where V stood for variable body styles. It’s now believed that the smaller two-seater coupe will be positioned against the recently-announced Porsche Boxster and even the Cayman. Compared to the SLS AMG, a smaller vehicle will conceivably handle better and when paired up with a smaller engine, will offer better gas mileage than what the SLS AMG offers at 14-mpg city, 20-mpg highway.
Clearly one of the main reasons AMG is exploring new models is to help absorb the research and development costs they just poured into the SLS AMG’s aluminum spaceframe architecture. It’ll also be interesting to see if AMG has more in the works – perhaps a performance-themed sedan that could slide in under the CLS?
[Source: Motor Trend]
Brabus has announced a Roadster variant of their custom Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG and it looks to be based on the tuning package for the 700 Biturbo SLS AMG Coupe. Its official debut will be at the upcoming Essen Motor Show on November 26th, 2011.
No official specifications were announced, but based on the Biturbo 700, we can safely assume the Brabus SLS AMG Roadster sports 700-hp with 626 lb-ft of torque thanks to the B63 bi-turbo system. Plenty of carbon fiber components adorn the exterior of the vehicle, though we’re sure there’s slight differences between the Roadster and the Coupe’s styling accessories due to aerodynamics.
Along with the turbo upgrade and styling accessories, Brabus also offers interior customization for the SLS AMG Roadster, as they do with various other Mercedes models.
GALLERY: Brabus Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster
We’ve already known that former Formula 1 double world champion Mika Häkkinen will be piloting an SLS AMG GT3, and now we have our first preview of him preparing to get back behind the wheel in a competitive fashion.
It’s been four long years since Mika has raced competitively, so it’s interesting to see how Mercedes-Benz is hyping it up. Really for us, the video is all about staring at the amazingly beautiful SLS AMG GT3 taking laps around a real race track in its full glory. There is seriously very few race cars that rivals the SLS AMG GT3 in the aesthetics department.
Check out the video after the break.
Former Formula 1 double world champion Mika Häkkinen will return to motor racing, piloting a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 at the 6-hours of Zhuhai on November 13. Representing Customer AMG Sports Team China, Hakkinen will share racing duties with co-drivers, CongFu Cheng and Lance David Arnold.
This is the first time Mika Hakkinen has raced competitively in the last four years, his last one being 2007 DTM season finale at Hockenheim. His return to racing is his way of giving a vote of support, as his superstar appeal and his role as Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador will give the SLS AMG GT3 a huge boost of publicity in its first appearance in China.
Says Mika, “It’s a great honor for me to be able to contest the first SLS AMG GT4 race in China. Although I’ve visited China many times, I’ve never raced there, which is why I’m really looking forward to Zhuhai. It will be a tough race in a competitive field, but I’ll do my best for Customer Sports team AMG. Of course, being a guest driver in such a line-up should be a lot of fun, especially in the SLS AMG GT3. It’s a great customer motorsport vehicle which is both fast and extremely good-looking.”
GALLERY: Mika Hakkinen Mercedes SLS GT3
After gaining significant public awareness when Polyphony, developer of the Gran Turismo video game franchise, created a multifunction display model exclusively for the GTR, little can better convey a vehicle’s sporting intentions and technological prowess quite like an on-board G-meter.
Mercedes-Benz AMG recognized this and revealed its new AMG Performance Media System. Able to record lap times, display track layout, lateral and longitudinal g-force, and throttle and brake positions, the AMG Performance Media System is one of the most complete multifunction displays on the market.
To see the digital gauges in action, check out the official Mercedes AMG video of a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG pacing around Germany’s Hockenheim racing circuit after the jump. Continue Reading…
It’s time to buckle up as Mercedes-Benz‘s tuner AMG confirms that they are working on three halo projects for their halo SLS AMG.
No greater truth has been spoken than when Head of Vehicle Development at AMG, Tobias Moers, says, “We absolutely have to do a Black Series.” Yet to be officially confirmed, chances are likely that the SLS Black Series will make it to the U.S. market.
Unfortunately, this is not the case for the other two projects. In order to fulfill regulatory homologation requirements, AMG has confirmed a street-going version of the SLS AMG GT3 race car. As its motorsport efforts are focused in Europe, AMG has no plans to bring this hardcore version to other markets.
AMG’s third project, and perhaps its most ambitious of all, is to bring the SLS E-Cell electric sports car to market by 2012 as a 2013 model.What makes the project so ambitious is that it will not have the handbuilt V8 that AMG is famous for. Instead, the SLS E-Cell will take on electric motors and a battery cell that will add another thousand pounds to the car’s curb weight. In order to manage the issue, weight saving measures were taken to lighten the SLS elsewhere in order to bring the weight difference from the standard model down to a more manageable 200 odd pounds. Tobias Moer assures us that the lower center of gravity benefited from the battery will alleviate the handling shortcomings caused by the extra heft. Power is taken just as seriously, as the electric motors produce an estimated 525 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque.
Unfortunately, chances are slim for the SLS E-Cell to make it into the American market as well. Mercedes-Benz is concerned that the cost to certify the car for the United States wouldn’t make financial sense given the SLS E-cell’s production volume will be extremely low.
Tobias Moers adds, “AMG does not do money losing projects. We can’t afford to.”
GALLERY: Mercedes SLS AMG GT3