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641 bhp, 5,439 cc supercharged V-8 engine, five-speed automatic transmission, front and rear independent suspension with aluminum double wishbones, coil springs, and gas dampers; and four-wheel carbon-ceramic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 106.3 in. Each having an enviable racing record, few partnerships in the automotive world have been more fruitful than that of Mercedes-Benz and McLaren. Mercedes-Benz had been supplying engines to McLaren in Formula 1 since the mid-1990s, and over the course of the following 15 years, McLaren F1 cars racked up numerous victories. Mercedes-Benz eventually acquired 40 percent of the McLaren Group, and at this time, the two companies produced their first road car together, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. The SLR was introduced in November 2003, a time when Ferrari Enzo was set to do battle with the Porsche Carrera GT.
Instead of creating an all-out, no-compromises supercar, Mercedes-Benz and McLaren pursued an entirely different route. Rather than placing the engine behind the cabin, as was the standard supercar formula, the car had a front-mid-engine layout. This not only helped to improve the SLR's handling by giving it near-perfect weight distribution but also gave the car a rather spacious trunk and cabin, which made it much more practical and usable than its comparable competition. As it was supremely engineered and built to incredible standards at McLaren's facilities in Woking, it boasted a very high level of fit and finish, the kind befitting of any Mercedes-Benz. To many, it was the ultimate mix of supercar and grand touring car. Mercedes-Benz received feedback from discerning clients requesting a car that was sportier than the SLR but still just as practical. In 2007, Mercedes-Benz answered their demands with the introduction of