In just five weeks £500,000 worth of reservations have been placed on "supercars of the future" from Mercedes Benz.

British customers have rushed to join a world-wide reservation list for the ultimate luxury Maybach limousine and the Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren. They were eager to place £25,000 deposits, even though it will be two years before either car is sold in the UK.

Dermot Kelly, Director of Mercedes Benz Cars in the UK, said: "To take more than half-a-million pounds in deposits so quickly for cars that will not be available until 2003 shows the enormous trust that our customers have in our products.

"These same attitudes are mirrored towards all Mercedes Benz cars. Our customers have tremendous trust and loyalty towards the Mercedes Benz brand and the quality cars that we build."

The Maybach is likely to cost in excess of £200,000 and will combine the traditions of a large luxury saloon with a host of advanced technical features. Final details of the Maybach have yet to be released, but the standard wheelbase version is likely to be longer than a Mercedes Benz S600.

Two electrically adjustable aircraft-style reclining seats in the rear will give Maybach passengers the ultimate in luxury seating. An on-board bar will stock hot and cold drinks.

The Maybach will be powered by a special twin-turbo V12 engine of just under six-litre capacity. A longer wheelbase version will also be available. Right-hand-drive Maybachs will not be built until 2003.

Staggering looks and performance will mark the Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren out as a true supercar. With power from a Mercedes-AMG tuned 5.5-litre V8 supercharged engine, the car will have an estimated 0-62mph time of just 4.2 seconds and a maximum speed of 198mph.

It will be the first Mercedes to be built in Britain. The SLR is being developed and will be constructed at the McLaren Cars Ltd factory in Woking, Surrey. They are expected to cost in the region of £240,000 - £260,000.

On 22 March a reservation list for both the Maybach and the Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren was opened. Within five weeks potential customers in the UK had placed deposits totalling more than £500,000.

* M-Class Celebrations

More than 50,000 Mercedes Benz M-Class cars have now been built at Graz in Austria, two years after production began to boost output.

The main M-Class plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, opened in 1997 where more than 275,000 M-Class have been built. Graz production was started to keep pace with demand for the 4x4 model.

Britain is a key market for the M-Class with nearly 14,500 models sold since it was introduced in 1998. Britain takes M-Class models from both the US and Austrian factories.

Published : 30/05/01 Author : Melanie Carter

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