Racecars are designed to run long distances at very high speeds, but automakers know that high-speed races mean high-speed crashes. To protect their valuable drivers, racecar manufacturers incorporate some of the most advanced safety features in their designs, and many of these have found their way into the 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have not performed crash tests on the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, reviewers expect that, in the event of a crash in this Mercedes-Benz, 2008’s SLR will perform well.
Unlike most cars, the 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren's body is made almost completely of carbon fiber. Popular Mechanics notes that this is "the same kind of lightweight, high-strength, carbon-fiber technology as the Formula One race cars" that McLaren builds. Edmunds feels that this construction on the Mercedes-Benz 2008 "promises a very high level of occupant protection," and ForbesAutos thinks the carbon fiber body will "afford exceptional energy absorption in a collision." In a further testament to the 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren's safety credentials, when AMG executive Wolf Zimmermann claimed that "the SLR is the safest roadster in the world," Automobile finds "no reason to doubt his assertion."
For the 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster, Mercedes has built steel bars into the vehicle's A-pillars, along with a pair of fixed rollover bars. Edmunds finds that "other standard safety features include side and side curtain airbags, knee-protecting airbags, TeleAid, stability control, traction control and carbon ceramic antilock brakes." Hurting overall safety and drivability on the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren is the "limited" rear visibility, thanks to the "high rear deck," which becomes "nearly nonexistent when braking at higher speeds when the spoiler deploys upward," according to reviewers at the San Francisco Chronicle. Motor Trend also complains that "Apexes are obscured by the hefty A-pillars."