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15 Years Ago Today - DaimlerChrysler Confirms the Mercedes-Benz SLR - Super Sports Car


SEE ALSO: Mercedes-Benz SLR Specs

10 July 1999

From Prototype to Production: DaimlerChrysler Confirms the Mercedes-Benz SLR - Super sports car for the 21st Century -
Development and production at McLaren Cars Ltd.

Total investment of $200 million

Bodywork made of carbon fiber and high-tech materials

Design with traditional and modern styling elements

    STUTTGART, Germany -- DaimlerChrysler announced yesterday that it has 
entered into an agreement for the design and production of the
Mercedes-Benz SLR with McLaren Cars Ltd.  The two companies will invest a
total of about $200 million in this project.  The vehicle will reflect the
heritage, philosophies and styling of Mercedes-Benz and will be produced
utilizing the latest state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques at the new TAG
McLaren facilities currently under construction in Woking, England.  The
market launch of this super sports car is scheduled for the year 2003.

    Through the concept of the Mercedes-Benz SLR, DaimlerChrysler and McLaren
intend to ensure the transfer of technology and image from their successful
world championship Formula One partnership to series production, while at the
same time reviving the legend of the Silver Arrows with this super sports car.

    In the opinion of experts, the segment of top-class sports cars -- at
which the Mercedes-Benz SLR is aimed -- will almost double during the next
five years and reach an annual volume of approx. 2,500 cars.  DaimlerChrysler
expects to be able to meet up to 20 percent of the demand in this segment.
The major markets for the Mercedes-Benz SLR will be the USA, Europe, Japan and
Middle East.

    "The benchmark for 21st Century sports cars"
    According to Prof. Jurgen Hubbert, the DaimlerChrysler board member
responsible for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars:  "By designing and producing the
Mercedes-Benz SLR, we will once again underline our global leading position in
the field of technical innovations.  The Mercedes-Benz SLR is an incomparable
combination of the brand's characteristic design, future-oriented innovation
and unparalleled safety, quality and performance -- in this way, it will
become the benchmark for 21st Century sports cars.  McLaren is the ideal
partner for us to work in close cooperation to develop and produce the
Mercedes-Benz SLR."

    Ron Dennis, Managing Director of the TAG McLaren Group: "Today's
announcement represents one of the most important milestones in the
development of the TAG McLaren Group.  It is, of course, our intention to
bring the same level of focus to bear on this project which has seen us
achieve success with Mercedes-Benz in Formula One.  I am sure the SLR will
reflect the total commitment to excellence that both our companies constantly
strive to achieve."

    Bodywork made of high-performance materials
    With the decision to produce the Mercedes-Benz SLR, the Stuttgart-based
brand returns to the Gran Turismo segment.  The two-seater will continue the
tradition of the legendary Silver Arrows from Mercedes-Benz and will secure
pole position among tomorrow's high-performance sports cars with
ground-breaking technical innovations adopted from Formula One.

    Like the current McLaren Mercedes racing car which carries the
three-pointed star, the super sports car will have bodywork made of an
intelligent combination of carbon fibre and other high-performance materials
which ensure maximum rigidity and occupant protection at a weight that will
set the standards in this category.

    Exemplary handling stability and safety will be provided by features such
as optimum aerodynamics, advanced electronic control systems and
fibre-reinforced ceramic brakes.

    Top-class values in terms of torque and road speed
    The Mercedes-Benz SLR will be powered by a V8 engine producing more than
544 horsepower.  The car has a target weight of about 3,100 pounds, which will
permit top-class acceleration and speed.  Equipped with a supercharger and a
special water-based intercooler, the engine will develop over 500 ft.-lbs. of
torque at about 4,000 rpm.

    Front design cues from Formula One, with gullwing doors reminiscent of the 
300 SL. The eye-catching body design, clearly identifying the super sports car as
a Mercedes-Benz, is characterized by the balanced integration of traditional
and modern styling elements.  The front section -- with Mercedes'
characteristic "four-eye face," arrow-shaped front and distinctive double
wings at the lower tip of the front end -- reflects the dynamic look of the
current McLaren Mercedes Silver Arrow.  The design of the engine hood and
fenders newly interprets features of the SL sports cars from the Fifties.
Likewise, the gullwing doors, which open automatically by means of
gas-pressure springs, are a modern-day interpretation of the legendary Silver
Arrows that the Stuttgarters launched in the Fifties.