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Mercedes-Benz unveiled its latest and reportedly greatest toy of the year amid a puff of stage smoke. The red SLS AMG emerged from under the white covers as if in a triumphant mood, ready to take on the world of super cars.

Conceived, designed and built as a hark back to the original 300 SL "Gullwing" of the 1950s, the SLS AMG is the first ever car completely engineered by the AMG division from the ground up. So it was a crowning moment for some of the Daimler top brass like CEO Dieter Zetsche when the audience first laid eyes on it. After all, life might be quite difficult for the new Gullwing when it takes its place on the starting line-up alongside other my-daddy-was-a-legend performance cars like the new McLaren MP4 12C.

It is under those circumstances that its 6.3-litre naturally aspirated V8 with 420kW (571hp) and 650Nm of torque will come in handy. So will the 7-speed double-clutch gearbox and the 1,620kg kerb weight, if it is to successfully become a legend in its own right. The 0 - 100km/h time of 3.8 seconds and top speed of 317km/h give some indication of its potential.

Where things will get sticky is the race track. Spy pictures and videos have shown the SLS can hold its own on the twisty tarmac and equipment such as the 265/35 R 19 tyres up front and 295/30 R 20 tyres at the rear, a sports suspension with aluminium dual A-arms with track rod and a mechanical differential lock.

Not a lot of people will get the pleasures of its double trapezoidal tailpipe in the metal. Only a lucky few with €177,310 (US$259,000) to spare, or a few thousand to sign up for special AMG driving courses will experience it.


Gallery: Mercedes SLS AMG in the Flesh at 2009 IAA

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