Teased in various forms for more than two years, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive finally made its debut in full-production spec at Paris. Finished in AMG Electricbeam Magno matte-metallic, the stunningly powerful and supremely green supercar represents a benchmark in zero-emissions motoring that showcases the most advanced technological thinking to date by M-B and AMG. As such, this gullwing wonder stands as both the cleanest and most powerful non-competition model ever created by either organization.
"Our vision of the most dynamic electric vehicle has become a reality, noted Ola Källenius, chairman of the board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH, at the reveal. "With the help of our colleagues at Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth, we are bringing exciting advanced technology from the world of Formula 1 to the road." A good deal of that excitement comes from a quartet of high-energy electric motors - one at each wheel - that collectively crank out a total of 740 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque in final form. Each axle pair is linked to a separate but interlinked automatic transmission. That motive force is sufficient to send the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive blitzing from 0-62 mph in 3.9 seconds and let it reach an electronically limited top end of 155 mph.
Like its prototype predecessors, the SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive was born to be light as well as fast. Aluminum and carbon fiber body panels surround an aluminum space frame that also incorporates a super-strong, super-rigid carbon fiber central monocoque structure that securely houses a 60kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack that gives this supercoupe a nominal range of 155 miles (NEDC combined spec) on a single charge. Despite its mass, the battery's low, centralized helps drop the car's center of gravity while optimizing the overall balance and weight distribution.
To extract the full measure of performance from this advanced powertrain, the engineering team came up with several focused innovations. While the rear suspension design is largely culled from the conventional SLS AMG Coupe, the Electric Drive variant is fitted with all-new front underpinnings that feature a Formula One-style pushrod damper to accommodate the space requirements dictated by the car's driven front wheels. It also features a unique electrohydraulic power steering assist.
Check out the new and more powerful 2013 SLS AMG GT that's coming to America later this fall.
One of the keys to the SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive's handling agility is the AMG Torque Dynamics package that precisely controls the drive power sent to each individual wheel. Electronically meting out acceleration or braking forces, it optimizes the car's response to any road or surface condition. Offering a choice of Comfort/Sport/Sport plus modes, the system's sophisticated vectoring capability helps maximize driving fun in an AMG Coupe Electric Drive by minimizing interventions from the ESP/ASR traction/stability control systems.
Ultra-grippy tires -- 265/35s on 19-inch alloy wheels up front and 295/30s wrapping 20-inch rims in the rear - keep this new Mercedes firmly linked to the pavement while lightweight AMG ceramic composite brakes ensure bountiful, fade-free stopping power. Weighing 40 percent less than conventional steel counterparts, these AMG binders also decrease the rotational mass on the front wheels which gives the driver more direct steering feel.
Ever mindful of its luxury heritage, the cabin appointments of the new SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive meld sportiness with a premium character. Designo black Exclusive leather dominates set off with various carbon fiber accent bits. Also in the house are AMG sports seats, performance steering wheel, and a new AMG instrument cluster that trades out the tachometer for a power display that provides information on the current usage, recuperation status, transmission modes and battery charge.
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive goes on sale next June in select European markets with a starting price of $537,300. There's still no word as to whether any will make it to America.