A decade ago, Mercedes-Benz partnered with McLaren to build what was thought of at the time as a lunatic’s automobile, the SLR McLaren. For a time, the cars were trading hands for nearly $1,000,000. That’s no longer the case as markets have adjusted, making this a great time to pick up your own McMerc. Granted, they’re still not cheap and this one at RM Sotheby’s will likely sell for more than most Manhattan walk-ups.
While many panned the supercar — it wasn’t as fast or handled as well as the Ferrari Enzo or Porsche Carrera GT and had the tendency to see its massive carbon-ceramic brakes catch fire — it was still a huge win for both Mercedes-Benz and McLaren, which were Formula 1 partners at the time. The 5.5-liter all-aluminum V-8 was fitted with a twin-screw supercharger boosted to 13 psi, producing a staggering-for-the-time 617 horsepower and 580 lb-ft of torque. The SLR passed 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds, blitzed the quarter mile in just 11.2 seconds, and topped out at 208 miles per hour.
When it was first introduced, our man Mark Gillies said in our February 2004 issue, “The SLR McLaren is a technical tour de force. The SLR doesn’t have the immediacy of a mid-engine supercar, but it is incredibly fast over roads, touching 100 mph and more between corners, the steering weighting up with speed, the chassis fluent and poised. As you start to explore the immense performance envelope, the car begins to talk to you, to become more alive and more communicative…” However, we didn’t fully love the car. “It never sings to you at low speed, as a Ferrari or a Porsche would. It has to be hustled at insane rates before it comes alive.”
Nevertheless, we’d love to have another go just to see if our opinions have changed.
This particular SLR McLaren is finished in Crystal Laurite Silver with a red and black interior leather package that was common among SLR McLarens. The odometer shows only 1,369 original miles and, according to RM Sothebys, the car is as-new condition and will be auctioned off at next month’s Amelia Island sale.
A quick glance at DuPont Registry has SLR McLaren prices fluctuating between $250,000 to $550,000, depending on color, mileage and a host of other factors. Given that this is a low mileage example and appears to be well taken care of, we’re betting that it will net the seller towards the higher end of the price spectrum.
So, who wants to add a near-mint example of the only Mercedes-McLaren road car ever made to their stable?