For the first time, an electrically-powered series production vehicle has lapped the Nürburgring Nordscheife in under eight minutes, and much to Audi’s chagrin it’s their rival Mercedes-Benz who’ve inked their name on the record books.
Last year the R8 e-tron came close with a lap time of 8:09.099 minutes after Audi engineers raised the standard car’s speed limit from 124 mph (200 km/h) to 155 mph (250 km/h). The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive required no such fettling – being already limited to 155mph – and was therefore able to put its full 740bhp to good use in setting a new record lap of 7:56.234 minutes.
The R8 e-tron is powered by two electric motors generating an output of 375bhp and 605lb-ft (820 Nm) of torque, whereas the SLS AMG Electric Drive deploys four electrical motors with a total output of 740bhp and maximum torque of 738lb-ft (1,000 Nm).
It’s not the fastest time set by an electric powered vehicle around the Nordschleife – last October Jochen Krumbach took a TMG EV-P002 around in just 7:22.329 minutes. Of course the Toyota Motorsports GmbH experimental vehicle is based on a Radical race car chassis, so the comparison is not really valid for a car which customers will soon be able to buy.
The SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive goes on sale in Germany later this month priced at 416,500 Euros (incl. 19% VAT), and will become the company’s first ever electric powered production car. It has a range of 155 miles and accelerates from 0-62 mph in 3.9 seconds.
It was developed in-house by Mercedes-AMG GmbH using the expertise of Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth, UK, who are also responsible for the KERS hybrid expertise used in Mercedes-AMG’s Formula 1 cars.