Super-sports cars are the nec plus ultra of automotive technology, as the most powerful and innovative vehicles of their day. Rather than being designed primarily for racing purposes, however, these models are marketed as exclusive cars to be driven on the road. Mercedes-Benz continues to set the standard with top-performing vehicles for its customers, inspiring and nurturing a passion among car enthusiasts for this unique domain of automotive culture.
Yet Mercedes-Benz super-sports cars are also an integral part of an unparalleled brand tradition. Their origins can be traced back to the very first Mercedes, which made motor-racing history in 1901. The line then continues down through a succession of iconic automobiles to the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, introduced in 2010 as the heir of this proud tradition.
This family of super-sports cars includes the Mercedes-Benz SSK (1928 to 1932, W 06) and the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (1954 to 1957, W 198). More recent examples are the Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR (C 297) from 1997 and the Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM AMG, launched in 2004, along with the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren (C 199) introduced in the super-sports car segment in that same year.
All these cars featured were characterised by outstanding performance for their time and the use of near-racing automotive technology. Super-sports car designers draw their inspiration from the racing cars of their time, along with the latest results from research and laboratory testing. The result is “limited editions” of exciting and exclusive cars with outstanding sports performance qualities – genuine originals, also defined by being largely handbuilt.
The ability to create the right balance between competition on the racetrack and sporty performance on the road has always been among the virtues of this vehicle category. Mercedes-Benz super-sports cars have certainly notched up a long list of motor-racing successes over the years. The Mercedes 35 hp and its direct successors and the Mercedes-Benz SSK in particular were both sold as powerful cars for performance-focused drivers on the road and used as successful racing cars in their day.
Along with these super-sports cars, the history of Mercedes-Benz also features a succession of near-production concept and experimental cars that never went into series production. Examples include the legendary family of C 111 models with rotary engines in 1969 and 1970, and the C 112 in 1991.
The genes of Mercedes-Benz super-sports cars have also benefited from a succession of record-breaking cars and racing prototypes, such as the W 194 racing coupé prototype built in 1953, and the “Uhlenhaut Coupé” version of the 300 SLR racing car (W 196 S).
Source: Daimler AG