These are the best pictures yet of the stunning Mercedes Benz SLC supercar, revealing its gullwing doors for the very first time.
It won’t go on sale until March 2010, but Mercedes is already drumming up interest in its range-topping 580bhp two-seater by leaking these so-called ‘spy shots’ to the press.
The SLC is powered by a front-mounted, direct injection version of AMG’s 6.2-litre V8, delivering 580bhp and 480lb ft torque. It’s based around the same mechanical package that underpins the recently-released SL63 AMG, but uses an aluminium space frame and carbon fibre panelling extensively to keep weight down to 1650kg. These are lightweight construction techniques that Benz intends to bring to its next generation of standard SLs from 2012.
It means the SLC power from 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 195mph. There’ll be a new Mercedes seven-speed double clutch gearbox too, which should offer rapid, seamless gearshifts.
At 4650mm long, 1940mm wide and 1260mm high, the SLC is a noticeably bigger car than the McLaren-Mercedes SLR. At 2680mm, it’s wheelbase is longer too – which should aid high-speed stability.
The front suspension uses double wishbones with an advanced multi-link at the rear. It will also get adaptive damping and a retractable rear diffuser, which will deploy to increase downforce at speed. Ceramic brakes will come as standard.
With a front-engined layout and gullwing doors, the SLC is meant to resurrect the spirit of Mercedes’ legendary 300SL. As befits a range-topping model, it will get a bespoke, luxuriously appointed cabin that will distinguish it from the top reaches of the SL range.
The SLC will make its debut at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show, with sales set to start in March 2010. It will cost €150,000 (£118,000 at current exchange rates).
Despite the price, Mercedes believes that many SL63 AMG and SL65 AMG owners will be prepared to pay for the more exclusive car. A convertible version will follow the coupe, scheduled for launch a year after the hard-top hits showrooms.