Real Or Fake? Mercedes SLS Tunnel Stunt

Take a look at this video that shows a Mercedes SLS AMG doing a complete loop in a tunnel.

While it’s almost certainly a fake, is there a chance it could be real – is this sort of thing possible in the real world? And is the Mercedes SLS AMG possibly the ugliest car available to buy at the moment? Having said that, I do love the gullwing doors!

UPDATE – if you’ve watched the first video above, now watch the second video below … notice anything different about the driver? You might not have recognised him before but now he seems to have changed into someone a bit more famous. Looks like Mercedes are trying to rewrite the laws of time and physics with this stunt.

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Author: Chris Auty

Voted the Breakthrough Blogger of 2013 by SEAT and the Guild of Motoring Writers , Chris has lived and breathed cars since he was old enough to say 'faster'. With a penchant for hot hatches and an allergy to public transport, he would much prefer to drive a bad car than never drive at all. Fortunately his family has learned to put up with this obsession and the internet has provided a channel for his ramblings.

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  1. Could be real. Its not impossible. Top Gear did it last season. Admitedly not elegantly but they did do it at only 37 miles per hour.

  2. When I first watched that episode of Top Gear I wasn’t sure the tunnel stunt was genuine, but having rewatched that clip (thanks Alastair) I think they really did do it – in typical Jeremy fashion! It’s not like they were worried about trashing the Twingo, seeing as they drove it into the harbour at the end … poor Twingo, I would have given it a good home.

  3. Ok for all you unbelievers, This stunt is absolutely real. It was filmed in Boston Bar, British Columbia, Canada in a tunnel called Alexander Tunnel on the Number 1 Highway about 2 and 1/2 hours away from Vancouver. I am from that area and I made sure I went and watched it being filmed. They prepared the tunnel with lights on the bottom and an on-ramp as well as an off-ramp. They really did use the car because i drove past it about 60 times in the 2 weeks they were preparing for the stunt. I admint It looks pretty unreal and I wouldn’t believe it for a second if i didnt personally watch it happen. I Know you people probably wont believe this, but it was truly just a good stunt that took lots of preparation and a lot of money for closing the main Highway down for short periods of time. I hope this Is cleared some of it up. And who ever wrote about this saying its fake should actually do some research before posting their opinions.

  4. P.S.
    The driver was different at the end, because they filmed that part in a different location and they just put it together to look good. Just like ALL movies and commercials are made.. but the actual stunt going around the tunnel was very excitingly real 🙂

  5. Hi L Forman, thanks for stopping by. Now please don’t take this the wrong way but did you actually see the car do the loop with your own eyes, or did you just see them filming the opening and ending sections of the video?

    And yes, I know they’ll have added Herr Schumacher on the end to make it look good, but that’s kind of my point – bits of video stitched together with a some CGI wizardry can be extremely convincing. I just didn’t like the way they replaced one driver with another, more famous face that might appeal more to the German audience.

  6. At first I suspected trickery, but the more I watch it, the more I believe it is real. I would suspect CGI trickery from some low-end insurance company hawking their wares, but not from Mercedes. It would counter-productive from a credibility standpoint for Merc to produce such an elaborate hoax, and such trickery would ultimately bite them in the behind. But I can see how this would be feasible if the centrifugal force would be greater than gravitational force….it’s not like the car is up there to stay; it’s just a quick loop; one that had been thoroughly tested in computer models first by their engineers.

  7. I think part of my scepticism is caused by the slickness of the presentation. The whole stunt is so calm and easy that it looks very stage-managed.

    I certainly do accept that this thing is physically possible, I would have just expected a bit more drama. Perhaps some more in-car footage would have helped to increase the sens of realism.

  8. Hey Chris, obviously i did not see the stunt with my own eyes because only a select few were actually in the tunnel, but i was there for when they were shooting the stunt and they closed the highway down for 20 mins and they did it in 1 take and everybody there was overwhelmed in the excitment of it being successful. So in conclusion Mercedes definetely didnt travel from germany to my little remote town to film a hoax.. That tunnel just has the perfect roundness to be able to pull this off and its very long making lots of room for the stunt. It does look very calm and easy, but it must just be because everything was just right and it did go very smoothly. Im happy to have been there to share this with you guys. And I have a correction to make, The tunnel that was used for the stunt is actually called China Bar Tunnel just outside of Boston Bar, BC.. there is a bunch of tunnels around here so i just had it confused with another one. Thanx guys 🙂

  9. I wish I’d been there to see it. Thanks!

  10. FAKE: on 0:40 the lights on the ceiling of the tunnel end right above the black van but
    on 0:36 (drivers view) the lights on the ceiling above the van are continuous.

  11. Fake no.2: when the car is coming down it the tunnel in front of it is “curved” to the left (0:40) but then it is streight!

  12. This is for all the people who think this stunt is fake………..well, it is …… my mate got his SLS AMG………. And my mates and me tried to pull of this stunt but crashed the car……….and if some smart ass is going to say that we did not do it right…F.U………..we planned this stunt from the moment we saw it…………..But one thing good though i made a lot of money in bets

  13. Hey Peter, I think I know where you went wrong – you should have had Michael Schumacher behind the wheel!

  14. Hello Modern enthusiasts,

    Kindly note the first automobile in this world was a car and was given by Daimler Mercedes Benz.
    From tat time till nw dey r the pioneers in the field.
    All wat de modern cars adopt nw r de inventions by them.
    have u heard this, recently they have invented an engine which runs both in diesel and petrol. Many gradable companies made their attempt to develop this engine, but ultimately what dey faced was failure.

    Mercedes did tat not to earn money making out of it. It is mainly for the pride and heritage what they own till nw since their invention ‘car’.

    So believe Mercedes. All others r the effective benchmark of it. More over all of dem work commercially. Well Merc too has to work commercially to attract customers as people r moving away nd so dey brought Shumi to tat ad.

    Vehicle Dynamics is defined by dem. Go, get a merc nd drive, u will experience.

  15. RaJa, learn english, and write properly…
    Daimler was in the US by the way, Mercedes and Benz were 2 separate companies for a long time. So, obviously, you don’t know anything about car history, so please stop writing bullshit.

  16. @RaJa:
    Unfortunately Karl Benz is currently busy being dead. Therefore I’m guessing he’s finding it hard to define much, if anything these days. Also, I’m not entirely sure your qualifications to comment on vehicle dynamics are top notch, as you’re yet to master basic spelling and grammar.

    If indeed Mercedes was so great these days, how come they have had issues with rust since the introduction of the c180 in the early 90’s?

    Mercedes used to be over engineered, and gorgeous. These days that famous quality is more of an illusion. Much like Shümi’s tunnel stunt.

    Looks cool though.

  17. To be fair I think Mercedes are finally on the up again in terms of quality, but that’s not difficult since the dismal products of the ’90s. That’s what happens when you let the accountants and shareholders run the company.

  18. @XSB: maybe you should do some research yourself.
    Mercedes and Benz being two different companies? I think you are thinking of Daimler – Benz.
    Gottlieb Daimler was definitely German, not American, from the region of Württenberg, near Stuttgart…. and he pioneered the petrol engine and the four-wheel automobile there.

  19. Hi Guys & Gals
    We just came thru the China bar Tunnel on Sunday( 07/11/2010) with our motorhome, we live in BC and have driven it many times over the years. I was able to slow down a bit & try to decide if the stunt was possible. Seems like it could be done, but definitely not with 20 min. preparation. If you pause the video at start & finish, there are curved ramps over half way up the walls, also it looks as if the top lights are removed.The roof of the tunnel is inset from the walls at that point, maybe about 8 inches, don’t know how they would keep the wheels from hooking that? Still think it’s a good film, just would like to see it proven one way or the other.



  21. Gents,

    Like many, I have viewed this video many times. I’m pretty skeptical that the actual stunt was actually performed.

    What I really question is the lack of safety folks (police, fire, EMT, etc.) present. The only time you see them is standing inside the tunnel. And even then, they don’t appear to be prepared for an incident in the tunnel (e.g. helmets undone, no fire bottles,etc.) They standing sort of ready, behind some road cones as the car comes rushing at them, only to veer at the last moment to initiate the roll.

    Granted this is about the SLS, not the preparations, but still, make it a bit more believable. A typical F1 pit crew looks better prepared and they’re on flat ground.

    But I have to say the “WOW” factor is tops and I really enjoyed it.

    Just my $0.02


    Mike K.

  22. RaJa

    Can you type in English next time so it makes sense

  23. I too agree wit Mike K. Knowing a bit about fire fighting and safety, those “firies” would NOT be standing in that position with their gear half done up. However I do remember a formula 1 car doing something like this many years ago….I think.

  24. I’ve heard this was a physical (real) stunt. The driver (before being replaced with Schumacher) is a relatively prominent Vancouver stunt performer named Garvin Cross. There’s been a lot of talk about this stunt around the industry here lately, so I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if Garvin pulled it off.

  25. I saw this commercial for the first time a few weeks and was curious whether it was physically possible, so I did a few calculations. Without knowing the exact dimensions of the stunt track, I had to make some assumptions, but the bottom line is that if the tunnel height is 8m, the SLS would need to complete the corkscrew in 4 seconds to have a 2g “centrifugal” force at the top of the tunnel. (I thought 2g was critical because 1g is needed to overcome the vehicle weight, and the second g gives the same force on the roof as if were driving straight on the highway, which is important for proper handling. Note that any downforce created by the vehicle aerodynamics would add to the force against the tunnel roof and provide and extra safety factor.) Calculating the corkscrew angle from the dimensions of the on-ramp (11 degrees), the SLS could complete the corkscrew in 4 seconds if it maintained a constant speed of 90 mph, traveling 160 meters down the tunnel.

    So, with a brave and very skilled stunt driver and a lot of precise computations and planning, the corkscrew maneuver shown in the video is entirely possible.

  26. Hi Brad. Dare I ask how long it took you to calculate?

  27. Chris-

    Longer than it should have… I was a little surprised by the results, so I ended up rechecking twice.

  28. They wouldn’t have had emergency personnel standing under the loop if it was real.

  29. Bottom line is this is a cool commercial. Fake or not. Whether it is the CGI or driving it is well done. The biggest sign to me that this is NOT real is that when going frame by frame you will notice the 2 guys by the truck, and in the other lane is a generator directly in the cars path. If the roll attempt was aborted for any reason the mercedes would have no escape route and would have nailed the generator in his lane or the van in the other.
    I still love it!!

  30. Hi guy, it is possible to do this kinda stun if you know the down force ratio vs weight ratio. When car move and areodynamic grenerate downforce until the ratio reach 1:1 (downforce weight equals to car weight) in theory the car can run upside down. F1 car reach that ratio in just 80kph. If they run even faster then the downforce ratio become more like 2:1 means 2 times downforce weight vs car weight. the car will jz suck it weather is upside down or normal road. The only reason no 1 try becos the oil tank doesnt design to work upside down, if u lose the speed, u lose downforce then u gona drop. They run in tunnel with jz a flip. Thats pretty easy to archieve when u know how downforce ratio stuff works. Dont get me wrong, is still a cool stun. Is archeiveable jz u need guts to do it.

  31. I am sorry but I have to believe that this is totally fake for one reason alone. They had people and vehicles “inside” of the tunnel right in the path of the car when it did the loop. I don’t care how good the driver is, there is always a chance a tire could blow or some other accident and i just don’t believe they would have had anyone around just in case. Funny how the driver was so protected but the people inside of the tunnel (not the firefighters) were standing in the road and can be seen when the car is upside down with no barriers or protection at all. They certainly didn’t need them to film with all of the remote camera options. Please someone, bust this once and for all.

  32. lloyd, you were mistaken. They celebrated a successful shoot, not a successful loop. I live in Hope not 30 miles from that tunnel and work as a paramedic there, 30+ years now. The loop is CGI and never happened. All photoshopped.
    Stop the action in a video and see, In a popular one the car enters the tunnel obviously northbound, and seen at 2:03 the tunnel properly arcs to the right as it does to a northbound vehicle. Stop it again at 2:10 as the car ‘exits’ the ramp and the tunnel is seen arcing to the left now, making the car appear to be traveling southbound! Turning around at that speed in the tunnel would have been a better trick, never mind the loop!
    Of course what they did was build only half the ramp, use it for the approach and enter shot, and for the exit scene merely reversed the image and made a car appear to be exiting the loop via one continuous ramp, but of course the tunnels bend will be reversed too. They gambled that in the quick image no one would notice, and apparently they were right!
    More significant is that at 2:08 the light bars on both sides that run the length of the tunnel can clearly be seen to have been photoshopped out. They had to be, they are not removable, it’s actually lighting fixed to a concrete ledge protrusion cast into the concrete of the tunnel wall. Looking at the tunnel today there is no new concrete repair where the existing ledge had been removed and replaced. All concrete is same old colour from the original construction in 1961.
    In any case, had this stunt been undertaken then emergency services would have been made aware of it and I have no information that anything like this was ever done, not in the last 30 years. The camera crew set up for plenty of footage alright but actually performing that loop? Uh-uh. Fooled ya .
    Not that it is any less cool looking. Nice Fraser Canyon views too.

  33. and the dummys say ” i know its true cause i saw it on TV…deception in everything nowadays…..

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