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PERFORMANCE | 10 out of 10
Race-ready street car
Capable of insane speeds
Exaggerated dimensions make for cumbersome maneuvering
Individually, both the Mercedes-Benz and McLaren nameplates are invariably associated with some of the highest-performance cars on the planet. When the two joined forces to produce the original Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, it seemed inevitable that it would immediately vault to the front of the pack in terms of high-performance production cars, and the 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren didn't disappoint. Despite adding a few pounds in roadster trim to the Mercedes-Benz, 2008’s version of the SLR McLaren continues the performance tradition established by its predecessors.
When it comes to performance, most cars seem to favor either speed or handling, but only a small number manage to excel in both aspects. The 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren is one of those select few, combining "eyeball flattening" acceleration, "abundant" grip, and "mongoose quick" responses into one stylish package, according to Car and Driver. In road tests, Popular Mechanics reviewers "were quite frankly blown away by the neck-snapping acceleration," while ForbesAutos finds the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren features "blazing acceleration," thanks to its "AMG-supplied supercharged 5.5-liter V8 that generates more than 600 horsepower." Other reviews read by TheCarConnection.com similarly lauded the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren's big, supercharged V-8 engine and the supercar performance it allows. Edmunds says the standard automatic transmission features "steering-wheel-mounted buttons" for manual shifts, should the driver choose to take over from the car's computers. That transmission on the Mercedes-Benz 2008 SLR features "three programs (Comfort, Sport and Manual) with different shift characteristics," according to reviewers at Cars.com.
While those who are willing to part with upward of $400,000 for a car rarely worry about such trivial things as fuel economy, the 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren is not for the environmentally conscious. On the road, the car burns through fuel at a rapid pace, and Edmunds says that EPA estimates for the SLR McLaren, "should one worry about such things, are 12 mpg city and 16 mpg highway."
On twisting and turning roads, the 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren is just as much at home as it is on the wide-open Autobahn. Popular Mechanics feels that "the steering is very quick and nicely weighted" on the 2008 SLR McLaren, and the stiff carbon body provides excellent stability. However, reviewers at Edmunds disagree, writing that the "exaggerated dimensions make for cumbersome maneuvering." One performance feature that unanimously receives high marks from reviewers is the stopping ability of the SLR McLaren. Edmunds writes that the 2008 SLR McLaren features "carbon ceramic brakes" that "are capable of stopping the car from 62 mph in 114 feet." Adding to the stopping power of the big SLR is an airbrake on the rear that Popular Mechanics says "pops up at an angle of 65 degrees to put pressure on the rear tires in emergency braking."
The 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren is blazingly fast, has sharp handling, and boasts virtually unmatched stopping ability.