The legendary Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren turns 20 this year, and to honour the milestone, McLaren hosted a number of high-profile models and commemorative events at its McLaren Technology Centre (MTC) in Woking, United Kingdom.
The SLR’s history began in the middle of the 1990s when McLaren and Mercedes-Benz were partners in Formula 1. The SLR is the result of the team’s desire to give customers a taste of its several successes (constructors’ champions in 1998, drivers’ champions in 1998, 1999, and 2008).
Since the car was shown at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show, McLaren has advanced significantly. Despite ending their Formula 1 cooperation in 2009, McLaren and Mercedes-Benz, the British company would go on to become a dominant supercar and hypercar manufacturer. It introduced the McLaren MP4-12C in 2011, and in less than ten years, with the help of insanely quick cars like the 750S, it took the competition to Ferrari.
The super-GT occupies a special position in the company’s history as the product of the alliance between Mercedes-Benz and McLaren. The partnership between Mercedes-Benz and McLaren was cemented when the SLR project was introduced during the 1999 British Grand Prix. The Mercedes-Benz SLR Vision concept car that had been on display earlier that year served as the inspiration for the vehicle, which was previously known as Project 7.
The super-GT’s 626hp 5.5-litre supercharged V8 engine provided remarkable performance. It was created by Mercedes-AMG and its performance was on par with other supercars of the day, achieving 0-100km/h in 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 334km/h.
It was a technical wonder that still holds up today, with innovations like carbon-ceramic brakes, active aero, and taillights that glowed brighter the harder you braked.
Production continued for a few more years till the Coupe was formally discontinued in December 2009 and the Roadster in 2010. The Coupe, 722 Edition Coupe, 722 Edition Roadster, and the extremely rare SLR Stirling Moss Edition were among the 2,157 examples that were produced.
Even though formal manufacturing had finished, McLaren wasn’t prepared to give up. Thus, the 25-unit-limited 2010 McLaren Special Operations (MSO) McLaren Edition SLR, the 2019 SLR by MSO, and the 2023 SLR High Downforce Kit (HDK) variant with 12 units were all produced. It is an impressive endeavour that the corporation is still refining a concept with origins in the previous century.
Four different iterations of the grand tourer that rivals supercars were on display by McLaren at MTC: the SLR Stirling Moss, the SLR by MSO, the SLR 722 GT Prototype, and the upgraded SLR HDK.