What is it?
The not terribly efficiently titled Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722 Edition. Only 150 will be made, aimed at those who find the standard SLR just a little too soft. A new engine map raises the power of the supercharged, 24-valve, 5.5-litre V8 motor from 617bhp to 641bhp, while new wheels, aluminium dampers, a lighter oil tank and ‘optimised’ sound deadening drop the kerbweight to a still reasonably hefty 1724kg.
Together, these mods drop the 0-62mph time by 0.2sec to 3.6sec so that, somewhat conveniently, the 722 is now a tenth quicker than the new Ferrari 599 rather a tenth slower. Top speed rises two whole mph to 210mph. But you’re also buying even bigger carbon ceramic brakes, red dials, red stitching and brake calipers plus, of course, a brace of ‘722’ badges.
Why 722? It’s because when the Mille Miglia was a proper road race, the number on the side of your car was also your start time. And ever since Stirling Moss fired his 300SLR off the ramp at 7.22am to start the 1955 Mille Miglia and set a never-to-be-broken record for driving from Brescia to Rome and back, the number has been accorded mythical status in Stuttgart.
Whether you see this as an appropriate homage to one of the great moments in racing history, or a cynical bid to prop up sales, the only question that really matters is whether these updates, for which Mercedes charges £22,390, turn the SLR into the devastatingly engaging and effective road missile it always promised but never quite managed to be.