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First look: Mercedes-AMG PureSpeed concept -- SL meets Formula 1

Can you be too rich and too cool to bother with a windscreen? Mercedes-AMG thinks so, as evidenced by the first look at the new PureSpeed concept -- a dramatically open two-seater performance car that will be produced in small numbers next year. It looks like an SL on steroids with an F1-inspired HALO safety system that replaces the conventional A-pillar on the vehicle.

Merecedes-AMG debuted the PureSpeed in Monaco on May 22, which looks like the perfect place to tool around town in the decadent roadster that will be the first model in the highly limited Mercedes-Benz Mythos series. There are not a lot of details -- even the final powertrain is a mystery -- but here is what we know so far. The images will have to do a lot of the talking.

Merecedes says many of the design features were inspired by the Mercedes-AMG ONE hypercar -- technical, sharply cut visible carbon fiber parts in the lower section of the vehicle provide a strong contrast to the sensual, rounded shapes of the upper part of the vehicle.

The design of the wheels is characterized by the unique carbon fiber cladding on the front and rear wheel covers. The rear wheel covers are completely closed to improve aerodynamics. The front wheel covers are open to optimize airflow at the front end for brake cooling and downforce.

Typical of a sports car are the long hood and the very low front end with a pronounced shark nose. The front design is similar to the Mercedes-AMG ONE with a wide lower air intake with AMG lettering and a dark, chrome-plated Mercedes star on the soft nose. Added to this is the aerodynamically optimized, sportive hood with an additional air outlet. Small, transparent deflectors at the front and sides direct the wind over the cockpit.

The design team's precision work can also be seen in the side-sill paneling with aero flics. The muscular shoulders above the wide-track rear wheels merge into the elegant trunk lid and the width-emphasizing rear apron.

Many other design details pay homage to motorsport. The two flying buttresses behind the seats are reminiscent of legendary racing cars such as the 300 SLR, in which Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson won the 1955 Mille Miglia in Italy with a record average speed of 157 km/h (97 mph) on public roads.

The HALO system, which replaces the conventional A-pillar on the vehicle, is a direct derivative of the premier class of motorsport and has been part of every Formula 1 vehicle since 2018. It protects the driver's head in the event of an accident.

The name HALO describes its shape. As in Formula 1, the safety system in the PureSpeed concept consists of a bracket that is connected to the body of the vehicle. This aerodynamically optimized component serves to protect the occupants, just as in professional racing. It is hard to see on the concept car, but it is the black structure that runs over and between the driver and the passenger -- right in the middle of the car from front to back.

Included with the PureSpeed are two aerodynamically optimized helmets specially designed and manufactured for the car, so drivers and passengers can get that genuine F1 field of vision -- even when popping around the corner for a bottle of champagne. Neither roof, windscreen, nor side windows separate occupants from their surroundings. The interior adds further highlights, with its unique color and equipment concept as well as a custom clock designed by IWC Schaffhausen on the dashboard.

Mercedes says the car's eye-catching paintwork -- in a color gradient from Le Mans red to graphite grey with a black AMG pattern -- alludes to the color scheme of the victorious Mercedes car at the 1924 Targa Florio race in Sicily. It was painted red, which was typically reserved for Italian vehicles. German race cars were traditionally painted white at the time. The red paint was meant to deter local fans from impeding the car's progress in the race.

PETRONAS Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton is pictured leaning against the PureSpeed concept.



What will the combustion engine be? How much will the PureSpeed cost? We do not know yet. Even the inside-trackers are still in the dark. Car and Driver speculates the car's powerplant will likely feature "either the 577-hp twin-turbocharged V-8 from the SL63 or the bonkers 805-hp hybrid setup in the SL63 S E Performance."

We do know that only 250 units will be available. We'll have to update the rest at another time.

Source: Mercedes-Benz, Car and Driver (engine speculation only)

Published May 2024

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