Here’s a Merc with wings! This is the Mercedes Gullwing, set to fly to the top of the tree when it hits showrooms in 2010 after a Geneva show debut the same year.
This heavily disguised mule looks like the offspring of an encounter between a Dodge Viper and a Mercedes SLR, thanks to its slung back cabin and disproportionately long bonnet, but one feature gives its true identity away – the doors.
This is the first time a Gullwing mule has been spotted with production-ready top-hinged doors (albeit sporting some gargantuan panel gaps), verifiable by the pair of riveted black panels on either side of the roof, which cover the hinges. Previous mules were a mishmash of Viper and Mercedes SL parts.
Details on the Gullwing are sparse at present, though sources suggest the newcomer, codenamed C197 internally, will wear an AMG badge and have a unique moniker aimed to distinguish it as a standalone, flagship model. To ensure exclusivity and prestige, production will run for only two years, limited to around 6000 cars per year worldwide.
It’s difficult to decipher many styling details through the distracting disguise on this test mule, but front daytime running lights are visible, as well as (only just) a pair of ‘shark fin’ vents at either side of the bonnet bulge.
Power is expected to come from either a turbocharged V8 or a naturally aspirated V10 engine, pushing out between 550bhp and 650bhp. Our spies also spotted a pair of silver paddle shifters behind the wheel of this mule (though they didn't manage to snap them), suggesting power will go to the wheels via Mercedes’ 7-Tronic automatic gearbox.
We’ll bring you more news on this amazing hypercar as it comes in. In the meantime, be sure to get all the details on the latest new metal in our spy shots section.