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Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive offers shocking performance — and prices

September 27, 2012

There's nothing exotic about electric vehicles -- not now that every automaker has dabbled in or built a handful, and hundreds of homebuilt EV conversions roam the roads. At least that's what I thought until today, when Mercedes-Benz revealed the production of its electric-powered Mercedes SLS AMG coupe, offering 740 hp, all-wheel-drive and a body that looks like liquid metal. It's price carries quite the shock as well.

While Mercedes has vowed to build an electric SLS AMG, it had to go to such extensive lengths to make sure the electron-powered SLS AMG lost nothing on its gas-powered brethren that the car could be considered all new. Power comes from a levee of lithium-ion batteries developed with the help of Mercedes Formula 1 engineers, packed into the tunnel where the drivelines and transmission used to reside. Using two electric motors on each axle, Mercedes was able to program the SLS AMG so that each wheel can be spun and braked independently -- a trick that should make for impressive handling.

With 60 kWh of battery storage -- the same as the mid-range version of the Tesla Model S -- Mercedes says the SLS AMG Electric Drive can travel about 155 miles on a charge. As there is no comparable all-wheel-drive electric supercar for sale yet in the world, at least until the Audi R8 eTron hits sometime next year. And because electric car owners want to stand out, Mercedes will offer the color above, which it calls "AMG electricbeam magno."

As for the cost: In Germany, the electric SLS AMG will run the equivalent of $536,804, making it the most expensive vehicle Mercedes-Benz has sold since the demise of Maybach; it's also double the price of a new Ferrari 458 Italia. There's no word yet on whether a few wealthy Americans will have the chance to buy the electric SMS AMG.