Take a Closer Look at the "New" Mercedes SLR McLaren HDK, Limited to 12 Units

Launched in 2003 as a tribute to the 300 SLR of the 1950s, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren remained in production all the way until 2010. The nameplate spawned six different iterations and a run of 2,157 units.
Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren HDK 10 photos
Photo: Manny Khoshbin/YouTube
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But while production stopped in 2010 when Mercedes-Benz introduced the SLS AMG, McLaren developed two additional variants. In 2011, the MSO division began offering the McLaren Edition with revised bodywork and suspension and a new titanium exhaust.

More of an upgrade rather than a brand-new production model, the McLaren Edition was based on all variants of the SLR sans the Stirling Moss and was limited to 25 units. The bespoke run came to a halt in 2013, three years after the SLR went out of production.

But the British specialist didn't stop there. In 2022, a whopping nine years after the SLR was phased out, McLaren Special Operations began taking orders for the HDK. Short for High Downforce Kit, the HDK is an even more aggressive version of the McLaren Edition.

In addition to a sporty body kit, the HDK also got an upgraded steering system and a modified V8 engine. Owners were also able to request unique touches inside the cabin. The HDK didn't get much attention when it was announced, but now we can take a closer look at one of the only 12 cars made thanks to Manny Khoshbin.

That's right; the real estate entrepreneur had one of his many SLRs modified into an HDK. Not surprisingly, given that he owns almost ten of them, right? Khoshbin took delivery of his unique HDK in early July and just released a video showcasing its main features.

Based on a 2006 coupe, the all-white HDK is no. 3 out of 12 units made, as marked in red on the doors and the hood. But that's not the only thing setting it apart from the regular SLR. It also rocks lightweight, race-spec wheels, reworked front fender grills, a motorsport-spec rear diffuser, and a sizable fixed wing atop the trunk lid.

As for the cabin, Manny says the headliner is the only thing he didn't change. The seats are now wrapped in white leather and red/white fabric, while both the door panels and the dash sport black and white hide. There's also an embroidered SLR silhouette on the front seats and a carbon-fiber center console. He also went with the optional 722 S instrument cluster, which boasts white and red details. An MSO plaque stating this is no. 3 out of 12 units built rounds off the refreshed interior.

Under the shell, the HDK sports a new suspension and upgraded steering components. Both make the car easier and more exciting to drive. Manny compares it to the McLaren P1. How powerful is the supercharged 5.4-liter V8 engine? Well, McLaren says the M155 unit pumps out 680 horsepower, 63 more than the regular SLR. But this rating also makes it the most powerful SLR ever made, providing nine extra horses compared to the race-spec 722 GT.

The HDK's drivetrain isn't just about extra oomph, though. Thanks to a new ceramic-coated sports exhaust with a bypass valve, the V8 lump is louder and much more aggressive. And thankfully, Manny is giving us a taste of the soundtrack from the 4:20-minute mark. Because let's face it, many of us won't get to see and hear an SLR HDK in the "flesh" anytime soon.

Unless McLaren is planning yet another special upgrade in a few years, the HDK will remain the wildest iteration of the SLR. Okay, maybe it's not quite as cool as the Stirling Moss version design-wise, but it beats both the 722 GT and McLaren Edition on the performance and aerodynamic fronts. It's also the most expensive with pricing reportedly starting from $350,000. Hit the play button below for the full walkaround.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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