- Space Shuttle-style thrust
- Roadster version
- Utter exclusivity
- Somewhat jittery handling
- Leftover cockpit switches and gauges
- Do you have $400,000 to spare?
The 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren rips off racetrack runs like a Ferrari -- at a similar pricetag.
The 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren is an utterly outrageous, unbelievably fast supercar with a huge price tag to match--this year, it's also a convertible.
The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren gets its interstellar power from a big V-8 displacing 5.4 liters. Horsepower peaks at 617, as does the sound and fury that comes when it's pushed. Coupled to AMG's Speedshift R five-speed automatic transmission, the roadster hits 62 mph from a standing start in 3.8 seconds. Top speed is a claimed 207 mph, and fuel economy is suitably dismal at 12/16 mpg.
The shape is something like a wasp-waisted Mercedes version of the Corvette, and that's no backhand compliment. It's beautifully executed in person, though the interior is a bit of a letdown. There's the cool Start button hidden under a perforated cover--but the SLR's gauges could have come out of the much cheaper Benz SLK. If you're spending $400,000, you want more than just the basic tach, speedo, water temp, and fuel gauges.
The newly added roadster version has a fully retractable roof, designed to blend with the SLR's smooth body. To open the roof, you must unlock it from the windshield frame, after which it folds away automatically. The semi-automatic roof will open or close in 10 seconds.
The 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR handles with the extreme precision required from a car that can shoot past 200 mph. On smooth surfaces, the SLR is almost glued to the road, tracking absolutely on-center with precise steering. Above 140 mph, it feels lighter and lighter, requiring more attention and correction.
Standard equipment includes leather-upholstered carbon-fiber bucket seats, dual-zone air conditioning, and a Bose premium sound system with integrated navigation system. There are also front, side, and knee airbags, as well as seatbelt tensioners and a tire-pressure monitoring system.