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Production has officially begun on the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG gullwing.  The hand-built 563-horsepower sports car can travel form 0 to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds.

That sprint time is achieved thanks to the gullwing's 6.3-liter (6208cc) V8 AMG engine that produces up to 650 Nm of torque.  The front-mid engine is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.  Top speed on the car is electronically-limited to 317 km/h, and combined fuel economy is rated at just over 17 mpg (13.2 liters per 100 km).

Some of the car's features inlcude an aluminum spaceframe and aluminum double wishbone suspensions.  The car's aluminum body and chassis are built by Austrian firm Magna Steyr, which has worked with Daimler for over 30 years.  Despite the lightweight touches, the car still weighs 1620 kilograms, 60 kg more than the Audi R8.

"Even in advance of the actual market launch, orders have considerably exceeded our expectations," said Mercedes marketing exec Dr. Joachim Schmidt.  "This shows that the exciting design and extraordinary concept of our gullwing model precisely meet the taste and aspirations of potential customers."

Look for the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG to hit European showrooms by the end of March.

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