The new 'Gullwing' from Mercedes-Benz
Stuttgart/Affalterbach For the first time in the company's history
stretching back over 40 years, the Mercedes-Benz performance brand
is presenting a vehicle developed in-house, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.
The super sports car serves up an exciting proposition with its unique
technology package: aluminium spaceframe body with gullwing doors,
AMG 6.3-litre V8 front-mid engine developing 420 kW/571 hp peak output
and dry sump lubrication, seven-speed dual-clutch transmission in a
transaxle configuration and sports suspension with aluminium double
wishbones. The ideal front/rear weight distribution of 48 to 52 percent
and the vehicle's low centre of gravity are testimony to the uncompromising
sports car concept.
"Mercedes-Benz is presenting an exhilarating super sports car in the guise of the
new SLS AMG, which is bound to set the pulses of all car enthusiasts racing that
extra bit faster. The SLS AMG is emotion pure and simple for the Mercedes-Benz
brand and is set to become one of the most alluring sports cars of our era", says
Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and
Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
"Our customers will experience with the SLS AMG the expertise of our sports car
manufacturer Mercedes-AMG, built up over 40 years of motor racing, along with
the kind of scintillating design that only a top athlete from the Mercedes-Benz
stable can offer", says Volker Mornhinweg, Chairman of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.
The new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG offers purist, distinctive styling, superior
driving dynamics and hallmark Mercedes everyday practicality and safety. During
the development of the new 'Gullwing', the AMG developers placed their trust in
the valuable know-how of the specialists from the Mercedes Technology Center
(MTC) in Sindelfingen. The aim of this joint development was to turn the SLS AMG
'Gullwing' into the perfect synthesis of the strengths of the Mercedes-Benz and
Consistent lightweight design thanks to aluminium
The radical design as a highly talented dynamic super sports car with its lowslung
front-mid engine set well back also feeds through into the proportions as
well as the optimised lightweight body concept: for the first time, Mercedes-Benz
and AMG are presenting a car with an aluminium chassis and body. Compared with
the traditional steel design, this results in a significant weight saving, clearly
illustrated in the planned DIN kerb weight of 1620 kilograms excluding driver.
The newly developed bodyshell comprises an aluminium spaceframe. This
exclusive design combines intelligent lightweight design with outstanding
strength thus delivering superlative driving dynamics. Naturally, the
aluminium spaceframe meets all the requirements in terms of passive safety and
the hallmark Mercedes-Benz body quality that applies to any car sporting the
Mercedes-Benz star. Despite the low sitting position in typical sports car fashion,
the wide-opening gullwing doors make it easy to get in and out of the vehicle.
Fine-tuned AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine developing 420 kW/571 hp
The fine-tuned AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine achieves a peak output of 420 kW/571 hp
at 6800 rpm, thus turning the SLS AMG into one of the most powerful sports cars
in its segment. A power-to-weight ratio of 2.84 kg/hp comes courtesy of the low
vehicle weight. The eight-cylinder naturally-aspirated engine delivers maximum
torque of 650 Nm at 4750 rpm. The 'Gullwing' accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h
in 3.8 seconds, before going on to a top speed of 315 km/h (all figures are
provisional). Bearing the internal designation M159, the V8 high-revving engine
with its displacement of 6208 cubic centimetres has been thoroughly
reengineered compared with the M156 entry-level engine and boasts all the
hallmarks of powerful racing engines.
The principal measures in increasing output include the all-new intake system,
the reworked valve train and camshafts, the use of flow-optimised tubular steel
headers and the dethrottling of the exhaust system. This results in much better
cylinder charging, which feeds through into an increase in output to 420 kW/571
hp with maximum torque of 650 Nm. The eight-cylinder engine responds swiftly
to movements of the accelerator pedal, demonstrating much more
pronounced high-revving flexibility across the entire rev range. The switch to dry
sump lubrication also translates into a much lower position of the engine in the
vehicle. And lowering the vehicle's centre of gravity has also paved the way for
high lateral acceleration and exhilarating driving dynamics.
Perfect synthesis of lightweight design and strength
The use of high-strength components compensates for the increased engine load
associated with the higher output. Forged pistons, a reinforced crankshaft bearing,
optimised crankcase structure, along with improved lubrication thanks to an
on-demand high-performance oil pump ensure optimum durability.
Despite these higher loads, the engine weight for the M159 has been further
reduced. The forged pistons as oscillating masses play a particularly valuable role
in this respect. Thanks to targeted weight optimisation, the weight of the engine
has been reduced further, resulting in a kerb weight of 206 kilograms and, in
turn, a power-to-weight ratio of 0.36 kg/hp. The AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine thus
delivers the best figure by far compared with its competitors.
Sophisticated catalytic converter technology enables current and future exhaust
emission standards such as EU 5, LEV 2 and ULEV to be met. The frictionoptimised
twin-wire-arc-sprayed (TWAS) coating on the cylinder walls a process
that remains exclusive to AMG also reduces fuel consumption, as does the
on-demand, map-optimised oil supply along with the regulated generator
management. Thanks to the targeted use of efficiency-enhancing measures,
fuel consumption for the SLS AMG is around 13 litres of Super Plus per
100 kilometres (NEDC combined, provisional figure).
Dual-clutch transmission with transaxle configuration and torque tube
The AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine delivers its abundant power via an ultra-light
carbon-fibre driveshaft at the rear axle similar to the set-up used on the
DTM C-Class racing touring car. The transmission is mounted at the rear
(transaxle principle) and is connected to the engine housing via a torque tube.
A carbon-fibre shaft rotates at engine speed in the torque tube. The advantages
of this sophisticated solution are associated with the rigid link between the engine
and transmission and, in turn, the optimum support for the forces and torque
generated. A new AMG dual-clutch transmission with seven gears takes care of
power transfer. The transmission boasts fast gear changes with no loss of tractive
force. The driver has a choice of four different driving modes, ranging from
comfortable to extremely sporty, as well as a RACE START function. Optimum
traction comes courtesy of the mechanical differential lock, which is integrated
in the compact transmission casing.
The chosen solution with a front-mid engine plus transaxle configuration ensures
an ideal front/rear weight distribution of 48 to 52 percent. Mounting the engine
behind the front axle has created the ideal conditions for consummate driving
dynamics with precise steering, first-class agility, low inertia with spontaneous
directional changes and outstanding traction. The suspension technology is
also a match for these high standards: wheel location comes courtesy of double
wishbones and hub carriers made of lightweight forged aluminium. The
'Gullwing' comes with 3-stage ESP® as standard, providing the driver with access
to the three "ESP ON", "ESP SPORT" and "ESP OFF" modes at the push of a
Ceramic composite brakes, innovative flow-forming wheels
The AMG high-performance composite brakes all-round ensure extremely short
stopping distances even under enormous loads. The newly developed, optional
ceramic composite brakes with larger brake discs guarantee even better brake
performance and lower unsprung masses. The ceramic brake discs will perform
reliably at even higher operating temperatures thanks to their greater hardness,
all combined with an impressive weight reduction of around 40 percent. Lightweight
design was also a key consideration with the wheels: weight-optimised
AMG light-alloy wheels 9.5 x 19 inch (front) and 11.0 x 20 inch (rear) based on
the innovative flow-forming principle reduce the unsprung masses while increasing
driving dynamics and suspension comfort. 265/35 R 19 (front) and
295/30 R 20 (rear) tyres developed exclusively for AMG ensure optimum grip.
The design and development phase for the super sports car got underway in the
last quarter of 2006. The intensive vehicle testing programme will be complete by
the end of 2009. Meanwhile, the reinterpretation of the legendary 'Gullwing' is
scheduled to be launched in spring 2010.
Engine and drive train
Exclusive high-performance eight-cylinder front-mid engine with dual-clutch
transmission in transaxle configuration
Eight cylinders and 6.3 litres of displacement with a front-mid engine
configuration, high-revving concept, dry sump lubrication and poweroptimised
intake and exhaust system: AMG has developed an impressive
powerplant for the new 'Gullwing', which transports the super sports car
into the top end of the output range. With peak output of 420 kW/571 hp,
the AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine sets new standards, becoming the world's most
powerful standard-fit eight-cylinder naturally-aspirated engine. Thanks to
the targeted use of fuel-efficiency measures, fuel consumption of around
13 litres Super Plus per 100 kilometres (NEDC combined, provisional figure)
has been achieved. Power transfer in the SLS AMG is handled by a new AMG
dual-clutch transmission with seven gears, which is mounted at the rear in
transaxle configuration and rigidly connected to the engine via a torque
420 kW/571 hp peak output at 6800 rpm and 650 Nm torque at 4750 rpm the
new high-performance eight-cylinder engine in the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
impressively demonstrates the potential of the AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine unveiled
in 2005 with the designation M156. Based on the M156, which develops
386 kW/525 hp and 630 Nm in the SL 63 AMG for instance, the new M159
eight-cylinder naturally-aspirated engine has been radically improved.
The principal changes relate to the intake and exhaust system, oil supply and
crank mechanism. Over 120 parts and components have been redesigned all
based on the valuable insights gleaned from over 40 years of motor racing.
In design terms, the M159 like its stablemate the M156 is a completely
autonomous development. The combination of high-revving concept and large
displacement combines the best of both worlds: exhilarating high-revving
flexibility accompanied by high pulling power at low engine speeds. The new AMG
V8 for the 'Gullwing' delivers 545 Nm to the crankshaft as low down as 2500 rpm,
while the maximum 650 Nm is on tap at 4750 rpm more than any
other naturally-aspirated engine in this output and displacement class. This
means the eight-cylinder engine promises dynamic acceleration, instantaneous
pickup and sheer driving pleasure at the highest level, just as it does everyday
Key data at a glance:
Cylinder arrangement V8
Cylinder angle 90°
Valves per cylinder 4
Displacement 6208 cc
Bore x stroke 102.2 x 94.6 mm
Distance between cylinders 109 mm
Compression ratio 11.3 : 1
Rated output 420 kW/571 hp at 6800 rpm
Output per litre 67.6 kW/92.0 hp
Max. torque 650 Nm at 4750 rpm
Torque per litre 104.7 Nm
Maximum engine speed 7200 rpm
Mean pressure 13.16 bar
Weight (dry) 206 kg
Power-to-weight ratio 0.36 kg/hp
Optimised cylinder charging thanks to redesigned intake airflow
Optimised cylinder charging represents a key element in the increased output
and torque. The recalculated, improved aerodynamic design of the intake airflow
reduces pressure losses, while the all-new valve train improves the gas dynamics.
The fully reworked magnesium intake manifold comes with perfectly matched
variable resonance tube lengths. Eight velocity stacks, each 290 millimetres long
and 51.5 millimetres in diameter, route the fresh air to the combustion chambers.
Two electronically operated throttle flaps each measuring 74 millimetres in
diameter , which are adjustable within fractions of a second, sit behind the new
air filters with a volume just under 9500 cubic centimetres: they can be opened
to their maximum in just 150 milliseconds. The result is exhilarating
responsiveness. Two hot-film air mass sensors located behind the air filters
provide the engine electronics with the necessary information about the
temperature and density of the intake air.
Another special feature of the V8 engine is the sophisticated valve train, which is
also derived from the powerful AMG racing engines. The 32 valves in the cylinder
heads are operated by bucket tappets. Their space-saving design permits a stiff
valve train and therefore high engine speeds with large valve opening crosssections,
which, in turn, boosts output and torque. The large intake valves have a
diameter of 40 millimetres, while their opposite numbers on the exhaust side
measure 34 millimetres. Unlike the racing engine, a maintenance-free valve train
with hydraulic valve clearance is fitted.
Four continuously variable overhead camshafts
All four overhead camshafts are continuously variable over a range of 42 degrees.
Both the intake and exhaust camshafts are adjusted as a function of engine load
and engine speed, ensuring extremely high output and torque values and smooth
idling, and especially low exhaust emissions. Depending on the engine speed, the
valve overlap can be varied to ensure an optimal supply of fuel/air mixture to the
combustion chambers and efficient venting of the exhaust gases. This variable
camshaft adjustment is controlled electrohydraulically and monitored by the
engine management system.
New exhaust system with two headers
The exhaust system has also been redesigned to optimise output: headers with
precisely tailored tube lengths likewise adopted from the world of motor
racing deliver a substantial increase in output and torque thanks to improved gas
cycles. The large tube cross-sections in the newly developed, twin-pipe exhaust
system effectively reduce the exhaust gas backpressure. Two relatively small
centre silencers on the underbody and a large, transverse-mounted rear silencer
help ensure optimum weight distribution.
Two backpressure-optimised bulkhead ceramic catalytic converters mounted
directly on the header and two metal catalytic converters on the underbody
ensure effective emission control and compliance with all current emission
standards such as EU 5, LEV 2 and ULEV. The new AMG engine also comfortably
meets the specific requirements of the U.S. market as well as On-Board Diagnosis
II and oxygen sensor diagnosis.
Dry sump lubrication lowers the vehicle's centre of gravity
The engine position was a critical factor in the technical design of the SLS AMG.
According to the specifications, the engine had to be as low and as far back as
possible to keep the vehicle's centre of gravity low and ensure balanced weight
distribution between the front and rear axle. The solution of fitting the eightcylinder
front-mid engine behind the front axle and combining it with a
transaxle, results in a front/rear weight ratio of 48 to 52 percent.
The much lower position of the V8 engine results from the switch to the dry sump
lubrication system, which does away with the otherwise necessary oil pan. The
dry sump lubrication for the M159 comprises a suction pump, a pressure pump
and an external 5-litre oil reservoir fitted in front of the engine. 13.5 litres of
engine oil circulate throughout the entire system. The oil suction pump draws the
oil directly from the crank chambers and the cylinder heads and pumps it to the
external oil reservoir at a maximum rate of 700 litres per minute. The churning
losses normally associated with immersing the crankshaft in the oil sump in the
oil pan can be prevented by efficiently drawing off the engine oil, thus further
improving the effectiveness of what is nonetheless a very efficient engine.
The hydraulic oil pump, designed as a pendulum-slide vane pump, transports the
oil from the external oil reservoir back into the engine, thus ensuring reliable
engine lubrication even with the kind of high lateral acceleration commonly
experienced on a private racing circuit. The demand-driven hydraulic oil pump
takes its cue from the engine revs as well as temperature and load maps stored in
the control unit. All of which lessens power loss within the engine, resulting in a
substantial reduction in fuel consumption. The front wheel arches house two large
radiators with a blower fan integrated on one side to effectively cool the engine
Outstanding strength and optimum lightweight design also with the engine
Another innovation comes in the guise of the eight forged pistons that are
0.5 kilograms lighter than the cast pistons on the M156 entry-level engine.
Pressure-controlled oil spray nozzles in the crankcase ensure optimal cooling of
the highly stressed piston crowns. Another targeted weight reduction measure
dispenses with steel liners to house the crankshaft main bearings. The crankcase on
the M159 is made entirely of aluminium, weighing around 4 kilograms less than its
counterpart on the M156. Aluminium bolts are also extensively used on the
M159 to further reduce weight. Compared with steel bolts, this saves around
0.6 kilograms. The AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine weighs 206 kg (dry); this results
in a first-class power-to-weight ratio of 0.36 kg/hp.
In typical motor racing fashion, the crankcase uses a rigid bedplate design on the
closed-deck principle. The engine block and cylinder heads are cast from
aluminium-silicon alloys (AlSi7 and AlSi17), which represent the state of the art
in terms of weight, thermal and mechanical resistance and long-term strength.
The engine specialists at Mercedes-AMG use a particularly advanced process for
the eight cylinder walls on the M159 as was also the case with the M156 to
produce a tribologically optimal surface, namely a coating applied by twin wire
arc spraying (TWAS). The advantages of this TWAS technology patented by AMG
are extremely low friction and wear, accompanied by outstanding long-term
durability. A considerably harder surface is achieved compared to conventionally
coated cylinder walls. In fact, the cylinder walls of the AMG V8 engine are twice
as hard as conventional cast iron liners a quantum leap for engine specialists.
Other high-tech components and systems adopted from the M156 include:
Powerful cooling module with weight-optimised design
- the finely balanced crankshaft made out of forged steel;
- the water cooling system for the cylinder head using the highly thermal
- efficient cross-flow principle familiar from racing engines;
- variable coolant control for optimum efficiency;
- the computer-controlled fuel supply with fuel pump integrated in the tank.
Water cooling comes courtesy of a large cooling module mounted behind the
radiator grille. The cooling module also includes the air conditioning condenser
and the power-steering oil cooler. This innovation is particularly beneficial since it
reduces weight by around 4 kilograms compared with previous components
while also increasing performance. A large suction-type fan placed directly behind
the cooler expels the hot air as required.
Powerful control unit also provides generator management
The Bosch ME 9.7 AMG engine management system also provides generator
management another system that helps reduce fuel consumption. Sensors
monitor the charge status of the vehicle battery and reduce the generator output
as soon as the battery is sufficiently charged. To recharge the battery, the system
specifically utilises the engine's overrun phases. The braking energy is converted
into electric energy by means of recuperation.
Through the specific combination of fuel-efficiency measures, NEDC combined
fuel consumption of around 13 litres Super Plus per 100 kilometres is achieved
(provisional figure) a first-class figure. Ultimately, the new SLS AMG is among
the most powerful super sports car in its segment.
Engine production at the Affalterbach location
The new V8 powerpack for the 'Gullwing' is produced at the ultra-modern AMG
engine workshops, according to the "one man, one engine" philosophy. That
means the each complete engine is assembled by hand from start to finish by a
single engineer. Every day the AMG engine manufacturing facility with its three
floors covering 9950 square metres produces around 100 high-performance
engines for a range of vehicle models.
AMG seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with RACE START
The new AMG dual-clutch transmission with seven gears, four driving modes and
RACE START function is the ideal partner for the powerful eight-cylinder naturally
engine. The strengths of this technology, which originated from the world
of motor racing, include spontaneous gearshifts with no loss of tractive force, the
tailored-made control strategy and the supreme ease of shifting. Specially designed
for the high-revving characteristics of the AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine, the dual-clutch
transmission delivers optimum gear ratio adjustment with a close-ratio
configuration. This means that the new transmission provides the 'Gullwing' driver
with even more dynamic acceleration for maximum driving pleasure.
AMG DRIVE UNIT with fully automatic RACE START function
The AMG DRIVE UNIT is the central control unit for the dual-clutch transmission
and all dynamic handling control functions. On the left next to the selector lever is
the electronic rotary switch for selecting the four driving modes, including
activating the RACE START function. This function allows the driver to call on
maximum acceleration potential and ensures optimum traction to the drive
wheels. The optimum start-off engine speed is set fully automatically and the
'Gullwing' accelerates instantly with its electronically controlled wheelspin as
an option also up to the top speed. The driver does not need to perform manual
gearshifts; the transmission changes the gears with incredibly short shift times.
Four driving modes for maximum driving pleasure and ride comfort
The dual-clutch transmission supports upshifts under full load both in automatic
mode, and manual mode where the gears can be shifted using the AMG shift
paddles on the steering wheel. Four driving modes for maximum driving pleasure
and ride comfort are available: "C" (Controlled Efficiency), "S" (Sport), "S+" (Sport
plus) and "M" (Manual). In "C" mode, the car always moves off in second gear,
while delivering highly efficient gearshifts. In "S" mode, the engine speed is
allowed to reach a higher level in each gear; the downshifts also feel more
spontaneous. The gearshifts are around 20 percent faster than in C mode.
Switching to S+ mode cuts another 20 percent off shift times, while M is the
sportiest mode: here the AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine has even more bite, added to
which the AMG dual-clutch transmission shifts gear another 10 percent faster a
reduction of 50 percent compared with C mode. In M mode, the transmission
shifts gear in under 100 milliseconds.
Automatic double-declutching function for even more exhilaration
The automatic double-declutching function is active in "S" (Sport), "S+" (Sport
plus) and "M" (Manual) modes. Every manual or automatic downshift is
accompanied by precisely metered double-declutching from S through S+ to
M incrementally. And this not only adds to the driver's emotional experience:
the virtually load-free downshift minimises load-change reactions, which pays
dividends particularly when braking into a bend on the racetrack and also
enhances safety in the wet or on ice.
The new AMG dual-clutch transmission offers outstandingly compact dimensions
and low weight of just 136 kilograms including the differential. The aluminium
design and the absence of a conventional torque converter improve efficiency and
help considerably reduce fuel consumption. The transmission casing also includes
the mechanical differential lock with its decidedly sporty set-up that pushes driving
dynamics to the limit.
Torque tube with carbon-fibre driveshaft between the engine and
The dual-clutch transmission forms a fixed unit with the V8 engine via the torque
tube. Engine and the transmission mounted at the rear axle known as a
transaxle are connected to each other to ensure flexural and torque rigidity and
to support each other. All of which translates into decisive advantages in terms of
driving dynamics and ride comfort since this sophisticated solution provides a
backlash-free drive train. The 1.64-metre-long torque tube comprises a one-piece
aluminium sand-cast casing and weighs less than 25 kilograms. A driveshaft
rotates inside the tube at the engine speed. As with the Mercedes-Benz C-Class
DTM racing touring car, the shaft is made out of carbon fibre. A key advantage of
this high-tech material: despite its high strength, the carbon-fibre shaft tips the
scales at just 4 kilograms. Consequently, the 1.71-metre-long driveshaft, which
has to transmit 650 Nm torque from the engine to the dual-clutch transmission, is
around 50 percent lighter than a steel equivalent.
The torque tube also accommodates a specially developed torsion damper, which
reliably eliminates noise and vibration, thus optimising ride and noise comfort.
Suspension and braking system
Uncompromising high-tech from motor racing for consummate racetrack performance
Technology from motor racing whatever applies to the complete drive train
on the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, holds equally true for the suspension
and braking system. The aluminum double-wishbone suspension is tailored
to consistent lightweight design and superb driving dynamics. The AMG
high-performance braking system is also available as an option in an all-new,
high-performance ceramic version.
The commitment of Mercedes-Benz and AMG to building an alluring super sports
car that combines consummate racetrack performance with hallmark Mercedes
long-distance comfort has given rise to an ingenious suspension layout. All four
wheels are located on double wishbones with a track rod, a technology that has
proven itself in motor racing, right through to Formula 1. With a double-wishbone
axle, the wheel location and suspension function remain separate; the
spring/damper struts are supported on the lower wishbone. The double-wishbone
concept with its high camber and track rigidity positively locates the wheel with
minimal elastic movements, providing the driver with an optimum sense of road
contact when driving at the limits.
The kinematics is determined by the different length of the wishbones, the
position of the wishbone link points on the chassis and the position of the steering
knuckles or hub carriers. The wide base of the wishbones channels the wheel
forces to the rigid steel subframe at the front and to the compact, rigid bodyshell
cast nodes in the rear structure.
Wishbones, steering knuckles and hub carriers at the front and rear are made
entirely from forged aluminium substantially reducing the unsprung masses;
this configuration also notably improves the suspension response.
Long wheelbase and broad track width
The long wheelbase of 2680 millimetres not only results in outstanding straightline
stability but also low wheel load shifts, significantly reducing the vehicle's
tendency to dive and squat. The broad track width front 1679, rear 1649
millimetres ensures lower shifts in the wheel loads from the inner to the outer
wheel when cornering, enabling the tyres to retain more grip. The large caster
angle of 11.5 degrees significantly increases negative wheel camber when
cornering and also improves tyre grip this also ensures outstanding stability
when braking heavily while cornering.
Weight-optimised flow-forming AMG light-alloy wheels
As befits the weight-optimised suspension design, AMG light-alloy wheels are
used that are manufactured using the innovative flow-forming process. As part of
the production process, so-called hot forming in the region around the rim well
compresses the structure, thus improving durability. This enables reduced wall
thicknesses to be used. A weight saving of around 1.1 kilograms per wheel
compared with conventional light-alloy wheels reduces the unsprung masses and
further optimises driving dynamics and suspension comfort.
The AMG light-alloy wheels measuring 9.5 x 19 inches (front) and 11.0 x
20 inches (rear) are shod with 265/35 R 19 (front) and 295/30 R 20 (rear) tyres.
The tyres developed exclusively for the AMG super sports car provide optimum dry
performance on a par with today's 'Cup' tyres without demonstrating their
inherent disadvantages in the wet and cold. A tyre pressure monitoring system is
fitted as standard to permanently monitor tyre pressure in all four wheels;
individual tyres are shown on the display.
Power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering for consistently direct steering feel
The rack-and-pinion steering gear provides a consistently direct steering feel with
a constant mechanical ratio of 13.1:1, in tune with the high expectations placed on
a super sports car. The power steering provides speed-sensitive assistance and
improves the feedback for the driver as the road speed increases: an
indispensable factor for high-speed straight-line driving. Mounting the steering
gear in front of the engine on the integral subframe enables the engine to be set
down very low.
AMG high-performance composite brakes all-round
High deceleration, precise pedal feel, perfect resistance to fading and superior
safety reserves the AMG high-performance braking system on the 'Gullwing'
offers all these features. All-round internally ventilated, grooved and perforated
brake discs measuring 390 x 36 millimetres (front) and 360 x 26 millimetres (rear)
provide the ultimate in deceleration. In typical AMG style, this super sports
car only uses brake discs featuring composite technology that has been tried and
tested in motor racing. This sophisticated technology, based on a floating radial
and axial mount between the grey cast iron discs and aluminium bowls using
stainless-steel composite elements, provides superb heat dissipation along with
optimum fade resistance, even in the harsh environment of circuit operation.
The use of aluminium also reduces weight, which has clear benefits particularly
with the brakes in terms of agility and suspension response, thanks to the
substantial reduction in unsprung masses. Six-piston fixed callipers at the front
and four-piston fixed callipers at the rear permit generous brake lining surfaces
of 2 x 120 cm2 and 2 x 58 cm2 respectively. The AMG high-performance braking
system generates braking power of 816 kW/1109 hp under full braking power
from 250 km/h to zero.
All-new ceramic composite brakes as an option
All-new AMG ceramic composite brakes are available as an option instantly
recognisable with their gold-painted brake callipers with the "AMG Carbon
Ceramic" logo. Thanks to the special materials and production technology used to
manufacture the discs from carbon-fibre-reinforced ceramic in a vacuum at
1700 degrees Celsius, the ceramic discs are much harder. This not only increases
the service life many times over compared with a grey cast iron disc, but also
their resistance to extreme loads and heat. The result: extremely short stopping
distances, exact pressure point and much higher fade resistance even under
extreme operating conditions. The larger ceramic discs front: 402 x
39 millimetres; rear: 360 x 32 millimetres also feature a composite design and
are connected with a floating radial mount to an aluminium bowl. Their braking
power of 823 kW/1120 hp during an emergency stop from 250 km/h to zero is
again higher than the AMG composite brake system.
Compared with the conventional composite brake discs, the ceramic brake discs
are 40 percent lighter. The further reduction in unsprung masses not only boosts
driving dynamics and agility but also improves steering response as well as ride
comfort and contact characteristics. Six-piston fixed callipers are fitted at the
front with a brake lining surface of 2 x 154 cm2; four-piston fixed callipers with a
brake lining surface of 2 x 73 cm2 are used at the rear.
Powerful anti-lock braking system and 3-stage ESP®
Standard equipment for the braking system includes an anti-lock braking system
with dynamic brake force distribution. A yawing moment is generated when
braking on bends, which counteracts the vehicle's yaw and stabilises it. The
braking system uses the data supplied by the ESP® sensors in order to identify
such situations reliably.
The Electronic Stability Program has been designed as a highly individual 3-stage
ESP® with Sport function. Tuned consummately for high driving dynamics, the
3-stage ESP® offers three different settings. The ESP® button in the AMG DRIVE
UNIT allows the driver to select between the three modes - "ESP ON","ESP SPORT"
and "ESP OFF" the currently active mode is shown in the AMG
instrument cluster display. In "ESP ON", the onset of handling instability leads to
braking intervention at one or more of the wheels, accompanied by a reduction in
Briefly pressing the ESP® button activates "ESP SPORT". In this mode the braking
intervention to counter oversteer or understeer, as well as the accompanying
reduction in engine torque, allows a higher dynamic threshold and, for instance,
corresponding drift angles. The full ESP® Sport function is restored as soon as the
brake pedal is operated.
Pressing on the ESP® button for longer activates "ESP OFF". There is no
intervention to control the handling dynamics and no reduction in engine torque.
"ESP OFF" should only be used by experienced drivers on dedicated racetracks. In
this mode too, operating the brake pedal restores all the normal ESP® functions.
The system's traction logic of the acceleration skid control system (ASR) is active
in all three ESP® modes. If one of the drive wheels starts to spin, specific brake
pressure is applied to improve traction notably especially in conjunction with
the standard-fit mechanical multi-disc limited-slip differential, which generates a
locking factor of 30 percent under load and 60 percent under deceleration. This
means that the engine power is transferred to the road even more effectively
when driving in a particularly dynamic style.
Consistent lightweight design for outstanding driving dynamics and sports car prowess
The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG has been developed from the ground up. The
'Gullwing' has no predecessor and shares little in common with any other
Mercedes model series. The specification essentially set out to combine
superlative driving dynamics with hallmark Mercedes safety. The
241-kilogram lightweight aluminium spaceframe plays a crucial role in
achieving this goal. For the first time, the outer skin as well as the complete
bodyshell structure have been made entirely out of aluminium a new
milestone for Mercedes-Benz and AMG.
Aluminium has been used more systematically than ever on the new 'Gullwing'.
Maximum longitudinal and lateral dynamism and superb steering precision have
been achieved not just with an ultra-light yet extremely rigid structure the best
possible conditions for the material aluminium. Optimum static and dynamic
flexural and torsional rigidity also plays an important role, along with
channelling and transferring extreme longitudinal and lateral forces from the
drive train and chassis. The aluminium spaceframe comprises cast aluminium
components and aluminium sections. Cast components are used at the force nodes
or in areas with high levels of function integration in other words, wherever high
forces need to be transferred or where large components, such as the gullwing
doors or the dashboard, are attached.
The cast components offer the advantage of specific dissipation of forces and the
opportunity of tailoring the wall thickness locally and individually to load
requirements. As a result, higher stiffness required at certain points, such as at
the suspension connection points, can be realised. Furthermore, each point of a
component only needs to be as thick as necessary, saving weight in areas subject
to minimal loads.
Topology optimisation has enabled the cast components to be fine-tuned specifically
in terms of weight: ribbed structures run exactly in the load
directions; in areas subjected to lower loads, the wall thickness is minimised.
Take for example the roof side member: this highly stressed yet weight-optimised
cast aluminium component forms the structural load path between the front and
rear roof frame, while being used at the same time to anchor the hinges for the
Torsionally stiff structure weighing just 241 kilograms
Lightweight aluminium sections connect the force nodes to a sturdy structure.
The large, low-set cross-sections of these aluminium sections ensure high
resistance torque, thus providing the required direct transfer of drive, braking
and suspension forces. The structure prevents unwanted flexibility; the vehicle
responds rigidly, almost without twisting and directly.
45 percent of the intelligent, weight-optimised aluminium spaceframe is made out
of aluminium sections, 31 percent out of aluminium sheet, 20 percent out of
aluminium cast and 4 percent out of steel. Maximum occupant safety requires the
use of ultra-high-strength, heat-formed steel in the A-pillars. The bodyshell weighs
241 kilograms an absolute benchmark in the super sports car segment when
compared with the peak output of 420 kW/571 hp.
Low centre of gravity and transverse reinforcing struts for superb dynamism
The entire vehicle concept has been designed to achieve a centre of gravity that is
as low as possible. This applies both to the low connection of the drive train and
axles as well as to the arrangement of the stiffness-relevant bodyshell structure,
which has been kept as low as possible. Examples include the rigid flexural and
torque connections between the front and rear section and the safety passenger
cell, which have been realised consistently using force paths that are as low as
possible. This results not only in a low centre of gravity but also a harmonious
and, thus, efficient force path in the vehicle structure.
Another prominent feature of the uncompromising lightweight construction
design is the transverse reinforcing struts at the front and rear axle that are
integrated into the bodyshell structure. The sections connect the side members
precisely where the highest forces act upon the bodyshell under dynamic
cornering. The advantages of this sophisticated solution include unrivalled
transverse rigidity and the absence of heavy secondary stiffening or supports.
Maximum safety with hallmark Mercedes quality
The new 'Gullwing' also meets the very high standards of passive safety
traditionally found on Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Consequently, the aim of
lightweight design plus outstanding crash performance was geared from the outset
to the vehicle's low centre of gravity and the optimum routing of force and load
paths. The crash load paths are specifically routed around the passengers this
applies both to front, rear-end and side collisions as well as to roof impacts.
The types of accidents that occur under real conditions formed the basis for the
entire bodyshell design: for instance, the continuous side member runs from the
front cross-member to the side skirt and routes the impact energy into the
extremely rigid sill structure in a frontal collision. Upshot: the passenger cell
does not deform during the standard frontal impact tests. A typical feature of the
'Gullwing' is the engine arrangement as a front-mid engine. Its position behind
the front axle creates a large deformation zone in front of the engine. This in turn
enables a reduced weight bulkhead to be fitted, since it needs to absorb far less
energy in the event of a frontal crash than on a vehicle with a conventional
engine position. The torque tube, which connects the engine to the dual-clutch
transmission located at the rear axle, also improves crash safety: both in the case
of a frontal and rear-end collision, the torque tube takes the stress off the
bodyshell structure because it can specifically absorb and transmit impact
Sophisticated computer simulations helped optimise all the structure
components. To make doubly sure, over 1000 computer-simulated complete
vehicle crash tests were conducted. The aim was to achieve outstanding crash
performance with low weight. The relevant structural cross-sections were
dimensioned for all the load paths in line with load considerations. Variables
included the geometric design of the load paths and the selection of the most
suitable aluminium alloys for each component in terms of energy absorption,
stiffness and strength. At the same time, the selection of optimum bonding
technology and the consistent stipulation of wall thickness for each component,
taking into account loads when driving and during a crash, were also crucially
State-of-the-art restraint systems with eight airbags
The state-of-the-art restraint systems provide the perfect complement to the hightech
body structure. Occupants in the SLS AMG enjoy standard-fit three-point seat
belts with belt tensioners and belt force limiters. This equipment is rounded off
with eight airbags: two adaptive airbags for the driver and front passenger, a
kneebag for the driver and front passenger, two sidebags integrated in the seats
and two separate windowbags deployed from the door waist rail.
During development, the super sports car underwent over 35 crash tests;
additional component tests were carried out as a double check. The new Mercedes
sports car naturally meets all specific national impact configurations required for
certification. Added to which are all the existing ratings and consumer tests as
well as the particularly demanding in-house crash tests, some of which push the
car far beyond any applicable legal requirements. Each vehicle must pass all these
tests before receiving the highest accolade of vehicle safety: the Mercedes star.
Exclusive hand-built production
The aluminium spaceframe and body are hand-built in compliance with the most
stringent quality standards. Highly qualified specialists put together the
aluminium components using cutting-edge techniques. Depending on
requirements, a suitable joining technology is used rivets, bonding, soldering
and bolts. And just as you would expect from a new Mercedes-Benz car: the
highest precision during production guarantees optimum production and product
Design and development
Virtual and real digital and genuine prototypes promote the highest standards
For the first time in its 40-year-plus history, Mercedes-AMG GmbH has
assumed full responsibility for the design and development of a completely
new vehicle. The experience gained in over four decades of motor racing, plus
the huge know-how in building top-class performance cars as well as joint
development with selected Mercedes-Benz development departments at the
Mercedes Technology Center (MTC) in Sindelfingen provide absolutely solid
foundations for this undertaking.
Exhilarating driving dynamics and hallmark Mercedes everyday practicality
these attributes are a core part of the specification for the Mercedes-Benz SLS
AMG. The Mercedes-AMG specialists at the Affalterbach location turn to cuttingedge
simulation programmes and extensive test drives across all continents to
realise these ambitious objectives. The design and development of the new super
sports car was approved at the end of 2006.
Before the first 'genuine' prototype is produced, the virtual prototypes must first
get up to speed. The new 'Gullwing' was initially brought to life on the computer
as a digital prototype (DPT). Painstaking analysis helps determine how the
objectives for the new super sports car can be met. Whether it is weight
distribution, engine position, centre of gravity, suspension design, driving
dynamics, aerodynamics, ergonomics, crash performance or production process
state-of-the-art simulation programmes enable the vehicle and all its characteristics
to be modelled realistically. The digital prototype is thus a complete virtual car.
Digital prototype provides the basis for initial development prototypes
The digital prototype also helps to plan and develop the first ready-to-drive
development prototypes, in other words cars that are fitted with the first
engineering components such as engine, brakes or suspension, the so-called
mulettos. Thanks to the virtual preliminary work, the test vehicles used since
spring 2007 were already highly mature from the off. State-of-the-art
measurement systems in the vehicles provide useful data, such as the temperature
of the engine oil, coolant and brake discs the focus, however, may also be on lap
times, such as on the North Loop of the Nürburgring, as well as measureable,
precisely defined driving dynamics manoeuvres to compare various axle
kinematics variants, or spring and damper variants.
Since summer 2008, the first 'genuine' camouflaged prototypes of the SLS AMG
have been undergoing testing around the world. Whether it is the air conditioning
system, tyres, suspension, engine cooling system, dynamic handling control
systems or brakes: the meticulous standardised AMG development and testing
programme on test circuits and racetracks, Alpine passes and specifically defined
public roads promotes consistent further development and troubleshooting and
thus reliably delivers the highest possible quality. Over 40 vehicles are
permanently in use at the same time.
Key testing stages at a glance:
Development of engine, transmission, drive train, air conditioning system
- Altitude testing in Denver, Colorado (USA), Lesotho (South Africa), Mont Ventoux
- (France) and Granada (Spain)
- High-temperature testing in Death Valley, California (USA), in Upington
- (South Africa), Idiada test facility (Spain) and Phoenix, Arizona (USA)
- Test drives in Los Angeles, California (USA)
- Low-temperature testing in Arctic Falls and Arjeplog (Sweden)
- Testing in the climate tunnel in Stuttgart
Development of cooling and fuel system
- Various test drives on the high-speed circuits in Nardo (Italy), Laredo (Texas)
- and Papenburg (Germany)
- Testing in Upington (South Africa) and in Death Valley, California (USA)
- Testing in the wind tunnel in Stuttgart
Development of brakes and control systems
- Testing of the brake system on the high-speed circuit in Nardo (Italy) and
- on the Großglockner Pass (Austria)
- Testing of dynamic handling control systems at the Idiada test facility (Spain),
- Arjeplog (Sweden) and Boxberg proving ground
At the same time, individual components such as the engine, drive train,
transmission, suspension and brakes, as well as the entire body structure are also
being tested to the limits on test rigs.
Accelerated endurance testing under gruelling conditions
Endurance testing complements the extensive vehicle development; it simulates
and compresses the entire (and particularly punishing) vehicle lifetime into a
short period. The aim is to ensure a high degree of maturity before vehicle
production starts in the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen.
Endurance testing at a glance:
Endurance testing on a mixture of public roads:
- Testing of interaction of all components and systems in everyday use. This test phase calls for the vehicles to be loaded to the permissible gross vehicle weight and to follow a precisely defined test programme comprising country roads, motorways and urban roads
'Heide' endurance testing (named after the poor post-war roads across the
- Developers focus on the durability of the suspension components, the entire body and the integral subframe to which the front axle, steering and engine are attached. The test vehicles are loaded up to the permissible gross vehicle weight
Accelerated endurance test:
- Whole vehicle testing focussing on drive train and suspension. Particular feature of the AMG programme: 10,000 kilometres on the North Loop of the Nürburgring and 10,000 kilometres on urban roads
Full-throttle endurance test:
- Extreme acceleration and deceleration sequences with extensive full-throttle operation; places high level of stress on cooling, fuel supply and braking systems
Global endurance test:
- Whole vehicle testing focussing on drive train, suspension and body
Corrosion endurance test:
- Corrosion testing on the entire vehicle simulates the toughest dynamic and climatic conditions
Final board approval:
- Overall review of development and production maturity
Around 30 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG test vehicles will clock up some 1.25 million
test kilometres before development finishes in January 2010. The ultimate goal is
'final vehicle approval'