In years past, the debut of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS would have been something of the norm for the Frankfurt Motor Show. True, at a price of around $300,000, the supercar is far from the mainstream, but in keeping with the emphasis on technology and performance by the country that prides itself in the speed limitless Autobahn, muscle is normally a high priority.
There were certainly plenty of media on hand to witness the debut of the gullwinged SLS, which boasts a top speed of 197 mph. But the supercar took something of a backseat, even on the Mercedes stand, where the bulk of the German maker’s news conference focused on high-mileage models like the S500, a hybrid-electric version of its flagship S-Class sedan, and the F-Cell, a prototype crossover vehicle running on clean hydrogen.
“For me, the key message of this show is that we, as industry are delivering on the promise we made two years ago,” said Dr. Thomas Weber, technology chief for Mercedes’ parent, Daimler AG. At the 2007 Frankfurt show, he recalled, makers like Mercedes, “looked at where we would have to go to be sustainable.”