Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG – Click above for high-res image gallery

There's a lot to like about the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. After all, we're talking about a sleek, 563-horsepower super-Benz with functional gullwing doors and a soundtrack to melt your heart. It's the embodiment of German engineering... or is it? Inside Line cites unnamed sources who say that the SLS AMG actually began life as the next-generation Dodge Viper.

The story apparently goes like this. Dodge engineers were already hard at work on the next-gen Viper, with an aluminum chassis already completed and a new suspension on the way. Mercedes caught wind of the project and decided that the chassis would be the perfect starting point for the upcoming SLS. The two teams reportedly worked side-by-side on the project until Chrysler's cash crunch caused the Dodge team to focus its resources elsewhere. The end result was a brand-new SLS for Mercedes and a hole in Dodge's Viper lineup. IL bolsters its account of the Viper-turned-SLS with the fact that early SLS test mules caught by spy photogs were fitted with ill-assembled Viper sheetmetal.

While it's hard to blame Mercedes for utilizing existing engineering work (it did, after all own Chrysler at the time) to bring the SLS to market faster and cheaper, we're thinking it would have been nice to have a new aluminum chassis Viper on the streets. Here's hoping that the 2012 Viper makes us forget about our loss.


Related GalleryFirst Drive: 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

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[Source: Inside Line]