The SLS Coupe really is one of the world’s coolest rides, and the car I chose to drive every day. A blisteringly fast, wild hot rod that doesn’t rely on electronic gizmos, it looks wonderfully menacing, has the best soundtrack of any V8, and generates universal warm approval.
Like the 1954 300SL Gullwing that inspired it, the SLS is cramped, hard-riding, and edgy at the limit but intoxicatingly rapid. The best handling and most dramatic Mercedes ever, it is a worthy opponent to the Italian supercar set but looks infinitely more separate and distinctive. Climbing in and out can be a challenge but those crazy doors are the SLS’s party piece. This is outrageous automotive mischief at its very finest.
The 6.3-liter AMG V8 is a masterpiece and each engine is hand assembled in-house by one man. Tuned to deliver 112 bhp more than the standard 6,300cc unit, 0–100 mph (0–161 km/h) is dispatched in an amazing 8 seconds. The Getrag seven-speed automatic has four switchable modes along with paddle shift manual. Driven carefully, an SLS can return 23 mpg (9.8 km/l).
Twin chrome slashes over brake cooling vent echo original 300SL.
Lightweight body is a mix of aluminium and plastic panels but is extremely rigid.
Doors do not have electric motors to save weight.
Orange caliper ceramic brakes are optional and help reduce fade on the track.
Wider than an S-Class Mercedes, Jaguar XJ, or Range Rover, the SLS can be hard work driving around town. Delicate AMG alloy wheels are vulnerable to damage from high curbs and costs $3,720 a piece to replace.
MIND YOUR HEAD
Gullwing doors are heavy and need long arms to close.
S P E C I F I C A T I O N S
MODEL Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG (2010)
BODY STYLE Two-seater coupe with gullwing doors.
CONSTRUCTION Alloy body panels with plastic boot lid.
ENGINE 6,208cc, V8.
POWER OUTPUT 563 bhp.
TRANSMISSION Seven-speed, dual-clutch semi-automatic.
SUSPENSION Double wishbone, coil spring.
BRAKES Four-wheel discs, optional ceramic.
MAXIMUM SPEED 197 mph (317 km/h)
0–60 MPH (0–96 KM/H) 3.8 sec
0–100 MPH (0–161 KM/H) 8 sec
A.F.C. 21 mpg (9 km/l)