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Forget lame station wagons, the “cool parent”-favorite SUVs and stereotypical minivans. The Formula 1-inspired engineering and design of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren make it the year’s best family car.
“Wait, family car? No, that’s a sports car.”
No, it’s a family car. With all the safety features Mercedes-Benz put in the SLR, I’m sure you can convince your wife that it’s a family car … as long as she isn’t too attached to the idea of having kids.
“Hold on. No kids? How can it be a family car if we don’t even have a family?”
Such a narrow definition of family! Thing is, the SLR only has two individually padded, carbon-frame seats. Don’t feel bad, the world is overpopulated anyway.
“I guess the world is overpopulated … So what safety features does the SLR have?”
The question is, what safety features doesn’t it have? In addition to adaptive airbags, kneebags and sidebags, the SLR has an automatically adaptive spoiler that doubles as an airbrake to give additional downforce for improved stability when braking at high speeds. The SLR also features a front mid-engine design for better stability and handling. Not to mention carbon-fiber-reinforced, ceramic brake discs for high fade resistance and long brake life.
“That sounds alright, but nothing worth giving up kids for …”
A tough sell, huh? In addition to the basics, the body of the SLR is made of lightweight yet rigid carbon fiber composites that provide energy absorption for excellent occupant protection in case of a crash. For further energy absorption in the case of a head-on collision, the SLR has two 620mm carbon fiber members incorporated in the front.
“That’s better, but my wife really likes kids …”
Looks like I have to bring out the big guns then. Mercedes-Benz collaborated with McLaren for better aerodynamics to improve the SLR’s handling, stability and roadholding. The result: a virtually smooth underbody with a six-channel diffuser under the rear to ensure that airflow is unimpeded and that downforce is produced at higher speeds.
“Okay, I get it, the SLR is safe. But we really wanted to get a hybrid – being environmentally-friendly is so hot right now.”
Wow. You’re one of those. Well, you’ll be happy to know that in addition to packing 574 ft-lbs. of torque and 617 hp, the supercharged V8 engine is so environmentally friendly that it met strict EU4 exhaust gas regulations in ’04 that weren’t required till this year. But honestly, who cares about Mother Nature when the SLR goes from 0 to 60 in under 3.8 seconds and tops out at a 207 mph?
“That all sounds amazing…ly expensive.”
Well, the first SLR imported into the United States in late ’04 did auction off at Christie’s for $2.1 million (even though the MSRP is only $452,500, plus a $2,500 transportation fee and a $3,000 gas guzzler tax). But think of it like this: clothes, food and allowance for 18(+) years, college tuition, wedding costs, etc. Buying the SLR instead of having a bunch of messy, smelly rugrats will save you a bundle.
Writer Liz Blickle is an intern for BodyShop Business who is happy that her parents decided to have three kids and not a sports car. Although she wouldn’t mind if they cut off her brothers and gave her an SLR.