Discussion in 'SLS AMG' started by HighestOfHigh, Oct 29, 2009.
Seriously? There's a freakin' Evo test three posts above your's... :eusa_doh:
Since when is a single source enough ?
Then what do you think the rest of this thread is filled with??? Look at the title of the thread...:eusa_doh:
Sorry i didn't read the title.
Edmunds - 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG on Ice
Ice Dancing in the Arctic With the 563-hp Gullwing
You don't really understand the cold until you've been to the Arctic. In the winter months here in northern Sweden, the sun barely raises its head and the temperature struggles to better zero degrees Fahrenheit. It's a brutal environment and an incongruous place to meet the 2011 Mercedes SLS AMG.
It's incongruous but not unusual, because when the cold weather really bites, the city of Kiruna becomes a playground for Europe's automotive development engineers. The local hotels are littered with men in garish jackets that bear names like Bosch, Continental and Mercedes. And it's impossible to drive for more than an hour without spotting a top-secret prototype bedecked in camouflage clothing. If you're a spy photographer and not afraid of the cold, this tiny town on the fringe of the Arctic Circle is Shangri-La.
Driving a 563-horsepower supercar like the 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG in the ice and snow should be easy, don't you think? No one else up here under the Northern Lights seems to be having any problems. It won't be like driving that Ferrari F430 Spider across Italy like I did a few years ago, or even like whipping that Ferrari 612 Scaglietti across India (with a roll of toilet paper in hand almost all the way), but it should be doable, right?
What have I let myself in for?
South to Alaska
Our 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS rolls out of the truck dressed in bright red. The Mercedes engineers brought it to Kiruna for a final cold-weather systems check before production begins in March and now they're done. I've been tasked with driving the car 250 miles south across the Arctic Circle to the town of Arvidsjaur, which, in terms of latitude, is on a par with northern Alaska.
When I first saw the SLS on its stand at the auto show, I wasn't sure about it. The macho nose looked slightly at odds with the curvaceous rump, which itself seemed an awkward pastiche of the iconic Mercedes-Benz SL300 of the 1950s. But here in the wild, smeared in ice and snow, the Gullwing looks much more effective. The SLS might not have the flamboyance of the cartoonlike Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren — a car I've driven many times — but it still has plenty of impact and those gullwing doors are pure theatre.
We're running on standard winter tires, similar to those used throughout Europe at this time of year. Studded tires would be more sensible for the conditions, but they'd provide less of a challenge for the stability control system and less of a test of my manhood. Today, concentration and finesse top the agenda.
We crawl out of Kiruna, a city of around 18,000 people. Sweden's most northerly city built its fortune on the production of iron ore, but more recently it's diversified into ecotourism and even space exploration — Kiruna has signed a deal with Virgin Galactic to house Spaceport Sweden. It would be easy to imagine the astronauts becoming confused, as so desolate is the countryside that you could be forgiven for thinking you'd already reached the moon.
Point South, Hope for Warmth
Not surprisingly, most locals here travel by Volvo and they're not afraid to push on. If your roads are smothered in ice for seven months of the year, you learn to adapt, so it's little wonder that so many of the great rally drivers hail from this part of the world.
In the 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, I'm being cautious. The 6.2-liter V8 musters 563 hp and the slightest tickle of the throttle seems to make the stability control light dance to a disco beat. I pop the seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission into Manual mode and use the shift paddles on the steering wheel to change up early, something the electronics seem surprisingly reluctant to do.
Mercedes is billing this car as a proper GT, a car that owners could use every day, even though few will. This is the first time AMG has been permitted to develop a complete car, but it hasn't been given too much license to get overly frisky with the design. For example, the ultra-conservative cabin could only have hailed from Stuttgart.
Maybe it's too sensible. The infotainment system is pinched from a C-Class and looks out of place here. When you're spending around $235,000 on a car, you don't really expect blank plastic switches. Apart from an awesome Bang & Olufsen stereo system, little inside feels genuinely special. The cockpit of a Ferrari 599 GTB or even the much cheaper Audi R8 4.2 FSI has a greater sense of occasion (as we British automotive journalists like to say).
The Coolest Hotel in Sweden
A few kilometers south of Kiruna we stumble across the area's most famous tourist attraction. The Ice Hotel at Jukkasjärvi is an extravagant igloo rebuilt every winter using 45,000 tons of snow and ice. Now in its 20th year it attracts arty types, ambitious tourists and corporate executives (although Inside Line's Jason Kavanagh was also allowed to stay here when he tested the 2008 Saab Turbo X). We park the 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS outside and let the Japanese tourists snap away before they're shooed away by an angry marketing man. Even in the Arctic, you can't escape the brand police.
Back on the road, I'm feeling more confident. The stability system offers a Sport setting that allows a few degrees of oversteer before the electronic killjoys intervene. On a dry racetrack it's not always easy to feel the benefits of such a system, but here on the ice you really notice the difference. It's the automotive equivalent of a rock climber's harness — you're allowed to play but you alleviate the risk of a painful excursion.
The benefits of the electronics are self-evident the moment you turn them off. It is now comically easy to slide the SLS at almost no speed. Apply a couple of degrees of lock, prod the accelerator and prepare to countersteer. It's spectacular fun and it offers a fascinating insight into the car's character. The engine is mounted so far back in the chassis that 53 percent of the weight is over the rear wheels. On the ice you can really feel the moment of inertia as the car gets crossed up. At heart, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS is really an old-fashioned bruiser.
Driving in the Dark
We've spent so long practicing our drifting techniques that we're still north of the Arctic Circle when the sun starts to set. This is an extraordinary moment. From the driver seat it looks as if God has set fire to the heavens. We pull over and spend a half hour watching the horizon burn, then fade to black. Living this far north must be incredibly hard, but it's not without its benefits.
It's dark now and we spear on across the wilderness at 80 mph with the stability control in Sport. In some ways it's frustrating — not once today have I used more than a quarter of the throttle — but it also shows the all-weather, all-surface ability of the modern supercar. It's minus-4 degrees F outside, but the car starts on the prod of a button, maintains a steady 72 degrees F inside and the transmission slips from cog to cog with effortless ease. Don't let anyone tell you that extreme weather testing is an unnecessary indulgence.
Reaching the Tropic Latitudes
You expect something more from the Arctic Circle. Maybe a blinding flash of light or a small troupe of dancing girls. Instead our arrival at the latitude of 66° 33' 39" north of the equator is met by a cheap sign and an octet of huskies from...Germany. There's not even a gift shop.
We push on into the night in search of Arvidsjaur, past tiny communities that do who-knows-what for entertainment. We're in 7th gear and the big V8 is barely ticking over, its deep bass woofle subdued but ever-present. The SLS might lack the allure of the McLaren name, but it's a massively better car than the SLR and costs half the money besides. It's much more consistent and it genuinely feels like it was developed by one harmonious team instead of two different companies with competing philosophies.
But the 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is expensive, and its competition lies with cars like the Aston Martin DBS, Ferrari 599 GTB and Lamborghini Gallardo, all of which promise greater exclusivity if not greater competence and quality. There are times, particularly in the design of the cabin, when the SLS seems like a mainstream Mercedes-Benz dressed up for the prom.
Even so, you can't deny the depth of the Gullwing's ability. Even after nearly 300 miles and with the temperature plummeting still further as a cold front approaches, I still want to drive on.
2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG on Ice
IL Track Tested: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
As luxury sports cars go, you're not going to find one that turns more heads or elicits more pointing fingers right now than the new 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. And it's about more than just its gullwing doors.
This six-figure trophy car also features an all-aluminum spaceframe, a normally aspirated, dry-sump V8 with over 560-horsepower, seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with launch control, an aluminum double-wishbone suspension and two-piece brake rotors.
That's just the short list, and anyone who thinks this is just a warmed-over SL with fancy doors is dead wrong. It's more than just unique styling and high-priced parts. This AMG can run with the fastest of today's exotics. We wanted to find out just how well it would keep up, so we took it to our test track and ran the numbers. Does all that technology add up to a real sports car? See for yourself after the jump.
Vehicle: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
Driver: Chris Walton
Drive Type: Rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: 7-speed auto clutch manual
Engine Type: V8
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 6,208/379
Redline (rpm): 7,200
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 563 @ 6,800
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 479 @ 4,750
Brake Type (front): Ventilated disc
Brake Type (rear): Ventilated disc
Steering System: Speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): Double wishbone, coil springs
Suspension Type (rear): Double wishbone, coil springs
Tire Size (front): 265/35ZR19
Tire Size (rear): 295/30ZR20
Tire Brand: Continental
Tire Model: ContiSport Contact
Tire Type: Summer performance
Wheel Size: 19 x 9.5 front, 20 x 11 rear
Wheel Material (front/rear): alloy
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,787
0 - 30 (sec): 1.7
0 - 45 (sec): 2.6
0 - 60 (sec): 3.8
0 - 75 (sec): 5.2
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 11.6 @ 122.7
0 - 60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 3.5
30 - 0 (ft): 25
60 - 0 (ft): 98
Braking Rating: Excellent
Slalom (mph): 67.8
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.96
Handling Rating: Very Good
Db @ Idle: 54
Db @ Full Throttle: 89.9
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 67
Acceleration Comments: Even with the transmission in Drive, the SLS is deceptively quick and obviously FAST. Speed comes on gradually, then piles on endlessly. With "race start" selected the car rolls slightly off the line, allows slight wheelspin and cuts three-tenths off the 0-to-60-mph time and almost as much off the quarter-mile. Upshifts in race start mode are very quick but not harsh at all. Manual mode offers shift lights, but proved slower. Wheelspin with ESC off was virtually impossible, much to the chagrin of our editor in chief.
Braking Comments: Immediate bite and crazy effectiveness. Flat, short, consistent, straight. Pedal effort remained moderate to high, but not brutal.
Handling Comments: Slalom: This is a tough car to slalom. It's obviously tuned to drive from the rear and you must enter slow and gradually squeeze the throttle to keep the rear planted. Otherwise, it gets loose and I catch it, but I find myself late at the next cone. With ESC Sport, however, the car feels reined in and electronically limited (mostly with a closed throttle). The result is you can't steer it with the gas pedal. Skid pad: With ESC off, understeer sets in. Lifting the throttle diminishes it, but the car doesn't rotate as a result. With ESC Sport, the understeer goes away and I could feel the rear stepping out slightly all the way around. Funny thing is, I couldn't detect or feel any brake application. Steering is delicate and informative. Excellent weighting and response.
IL Track Tested: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
Car and Driver - 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG - Road Test
Beast of Eden: To a landscape loved by Steinbeck, in a silver star with wings.
Thomas Steinbeck is too quick for my note taking, so I put a tape recorder on him as well. The exclamations, the damning anecdotes, and the careening non sequiturs are firing off as if dispensed by the fuel injectors of the Mercedes SLS’s 563-hp V-8.
“Oh my god, this is fabulous. It’s like getting into a P-38 fighter. [To his wife:] Hey, Gail, you’re working till the end of your life so I can afford this car! We’ll be back in two or three hours. [To me:] I have a bar to show you that you won’t believe. My father always said he wouldn’t own a Mercedes because he said that everybody will think he stole it.”
With a gray beard covering a long chin at the bottom of a tapered face—and being a man of letters himself, who has likely had a snort or two before our arrival—the only living son of the late Nobel Laureate John Steinbeck gives the impression, at 66, of being a close facsimile of his old man.
“My father was born in 1902—he went through the Depression. He used to hold his cigarettes like this [vertically] because they burned slower that way. His idea of a car was anything you could run on cat shit.”
We crossed paths with Thomas Steinbeck in California’s Big Sur, where the Pacific Ocean slams in a white froth against the green parapets of the coastal mountains. These are the footlights of John Steinbeck’s stage. Here, on Cannery Row and the Monterey Peninsula, in the Salinas Valley lettuce fields, and among the ranches tucked in the verdant folds of the Gabilan and Santa Lucia ranges, the great novelist set some of America’s best-known fiction, from Tortilla Flat to East of Eden.
Two reasons draw us, in a $202,550 SLS AMG: If there’s a place with a better mix of photogenic roads, plate tectonics and the highway department have yet to create it. And, John Steinbeck was a car man.
His Depression-era characters lived in the dawning age of automobile dependence, and his works are punctuated with odes to jalopies and, specifically, the Model T. In Cannery Row, he wrote, “Two generations of Americans knew more about the Ford coil than the clitoris, about the planetary system of gears than the solar system of stars.” His flagship novel, The Grapes of Wrath, is, in part, a kind of road-trip tale in a 1925 Dodge.
“My father,” says the son, “had a ranch in Los Gatos, and down in the pasture, there was this Model T. Every Sunday, he liked to take his .30-30 and go out there and shoot it up. This went on for several years. And then my father got curious to see how much damage he had caused. He went down to the Model T, pressed forward the spark arrester, or some technique we don’t do anymore, and, for the hell of it, went over and cranked it. It started right up. He swore the Model T was the greatest car in America.”
John Steinbeck would have recognized the SLS as not a car of the people, if only from the lupine snarl of its enormous engine. In his youth, few cars could reach 60 mph. The SLS needs just 3.5 seconds to do so, a time that confers supercar status.
Based on our encounters, most people think the SLS is “that new McLaren,” a reference to the McLaren-built Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, which ended its six-year, 2175-unit run in 2009 base-priced at $500,750. In fact, the SLS’s base price is just $188,750, and it’s slightly quicker than the one SLR we’ve tested. Even the Paycheck Joes we met think the SLS is a bargain, so the car’s prospects seem good.
Thumb the unlock button on the key, and small grab handles pop out of the doors, which lift easily. To get in, stick your right leg into the footwell, pivot your hips, extend your behind, and drop. Then haul in your left leg as you would a mackerel on a line. To decamp, reverse the procedure. And be sure to bend over as if exiting a helicopter, as just about every neophyte bangs his head on those crazy doors.
Don’t look for the buttons to close them.The gas-strut–supported gullwings close only with a long forearm reach or, as my wife mutters under her breath, with the long-forsaken return of chivalry. However, the doors do automatically detach from the car in a rollover crash [see below].
“The Germans are really into explosive bolts,” says Thomas, when we explain this fact about the doors. “The [Focke-Wulf] Fw-109 had explosive bolts on the canopy so you could blow it off and jump out of the airplane. I was a student of [designer] Kurt Tank. Unfortunately, he was building the fighter planes that were killing Americans, but I still think he was one of the greatest designers of all time. He has been my hero for a long time. Genius in action.”
Startup of the SLS is by push button, as is selecting park. The rest of the controls will be familiar to anyone who has driven a late-model C-through-S–class, though the view over the long hood gives the impression of steering an oil tanker from the taffrail.
Compared with the circus tent inside a Ferrari, the SLS’s leather-swaddled cabin is fairly plain. At this price, you get stereo and climate-control buttons from the parts bin and a rather dull, monochromatic information screen between the gauges. Above that, a bank of square lights indicates the approach of redline. The carbon-fiber accents cost $4500, and a 1000-watt Bang & Olufsen thump-a-dumper with illuminated tweeters is $6400.
We continue up Highway 1, a road John Steinbeck worked on during a restless youth. Thomas is driving the SLS no meaner than the various Toyota Priuses he’s owned. “Anybody born in California who buys a new car feels obliged to drive it up Highway 1. This is the most photographed road in the world. What they don’t seem to realize is that, here, you’re coming up the road, and you’re suddenly behind a 40-foot motorhome owned by a geriatric who doesn’t know how to make the turn at Bixby Canyon, which means all your horsepower and all your glory means little or nothing.”
The SLS, hardly a lightweight at almost 3800 pounds, demonstrates how Mercedes has stopped pretending that BMW does not exist. Setups for corners and exits from them are done with clipped palm and foot motions, the torso getting squeezed nicely by the heavy side forces. The 6.2-liter backfires with a nourishing whap-whap! when you lift and shift. The brakes are firm and natural, and there’s even a hint of tug and sag in the steering as it digests the road.
The rear-mounted seven-speed trans*axle is a dual-clutch type. Its cogs are aft of the differential, a layout that allows the cockpit to be shoved way back. A knob governs its shift patterns with settings for “manual,” “controlled efficiency” (comfort), “sport,” and “sport plus.” There’s a launch control, but in use, the car was actually slower off the line. The transmission would be like others of its genre if it responded to finger inputs more quickly. As is, there’s an inscrutable half-second pause between button stroke and shift. No doubt this is why the red upshift lights illuminate about a thousand revs early.
When it’s not being tossed around, the SLS impersonates a luxury liner, with decent visibility, an imperturbable desire to track straight, and an ardent fuel appetite (we ranged from 11 to 17 mpg, averaging 14). Road noise is turned down, and the cabin is just generous enough for a relaxed slouch, though anyone over six feet tall may find that the seats bump up against the rear bulkhead before true sang-froid is achieved. The SLS has a few small clutter collectors, but bulkier items—sunglass cases, unused radar detectors, and our copy of The Long Valley—must go in a leatherette pouch on the bulkhead.
“My father came from the Depression era. He bought a car and didn’t get rid of it until it melted into the driveway. He had English cars, not because they were good cars—English cars have always been the worst cars—but because, when you have an English car, you get to hang out with mechanics. He loved garages. That’s where the stories were.”
Button-heavy and buttoned-down, the SLS is a conservative Tory in the parliament of sports cars, appealing mainly to those who already prefer three-pointed stars to prancing horses and charging bulls. John Steinbeck’s own idea of speed and grace was “Pigasus,” the winged horse becoming a winged pig. He often stamped his letters with its image and the Latin words “ad astra per alia porci,” or “to the stars on the wings of a pig.”
The SLS is one silver star with wings that is no pig.
2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG - Road Test - Auto Reviews - Car and Driver
Wow....I really want one now.........
Road and Track - 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG - Road Test
Leaving McLaren's nest, Mercedes takes wing with a supercar of its own design.
If I lived in a villa on the shores of Lake Como in northern Italy and had to cross the Alps, say, twice a month for a consulting job in Munich, I know the car I’d most want to drive—the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. Yes, there are sportier cars (the Ferrari 458 Italia, for instance) and, yes, more opulent ones (the Bentley Continental Supersports), but this exquisitely built Mercedes, designed from the ground up by AMG, is a superb Grand Touring machine that wins me over with its intoxicating blend of power, performance and style.
With ease I can vividly imagine the throaty V-8 exhaust reverberating in the thin mountain air as the SLS blasts from switchback to switchback on the famous Stelvio Pass, its driver (me) in complete euphoric comfort. What’s more, particularly in Iridium Silver, the SLS exudes presence; it’s clear to anybody watching that someone of impeccable taste has arrived—and that’s with the car’s signature gullwing doors closed. Open ’em up, and people can’t stay away from the car.
And that, in a sense, is the SLS’s real power. It draws out neighbors you’ve never met, each understandably wanting a closer look at the silver exotic that just rumbled down their street. It’s a retro design, for sure, but not to the point of caricature or having to be fitted with a straight-6 engine and a 4-speed manual like the original 300 SL Gullwing of 1955. No, this new SLS is at once classic and modern, powered by a handbuilt 6208-cc V-8 that connects to a twin-clutch 7-speed rear transaxle via a torque tube and a carbon-fiber driveshaft that weighs a scant 9 lb. With our test driver in place, the long-wheelbase SLS, with its remarkably short overhangs, has a rear weight bias of 54 percent, about the highest we’ve seen for a front-engine car.
The 4-cam dry-sump V-8—mounted very low in the chassis and well aft of the front axle line for dynamic reasons—makes tearing sounds the moment it’s fed some throttle, revving like a race engine with a lightened flywheel. Known internally as the M159, it’s a significantly revised version of the 6.2-liter M156 V-8 found in the C63 and E63 sport sedans, but upgraded to 563 bhp at 6800 rpm and 479 lb.-ft. of torque at 4750 rpm. Mercedes says that’s a 9 percent power increase, made possible with an all-new intake that teams with revised valves, camshafts and flow-optimized exhaust headers for better cylinder filling. A strengthened crankcase, forged pistons, reinforced crankshaft bearing caps and a high-performance, demand-controlled oil pump help keep this highly stressed aluminum V-8 alive and well.
Now more than ever, overall efficiency is a major concern to manufacturers, and it’s addressed in the SLS several ways, most notably via a twin-wire arc-sprayed friction-reducing coating on the cylinder walls, plus an intelligent alternator that charges the battery only during the engine’s overrun phases and in braking. In short, this smart system uses kinetic energy to charge the battery, and the alternator automatically switches to a no-load setting during acceleration, reducing drag on the engine and thereby improving fuel efficiency.
Fuel economy, however, was far from our minds at the test track, where the SLS shot to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and blistered through the quarter mile in 11.6 sec. at 124.3 mph, a masterful accelerative performance that improves upon Mercedes’ claims and firmly establishes the SLS’s rightful place in the modern supercar world. Braking, too, is world-class, even with the stock cast-iron rotors. The stopping figures of 112 and 194 ft. from 60 and 80 mph, respectively, are excellent, on a par with the SL65 AMG Black Series. And the 7-speed paddle-shift automatic, the only gearbox available in the SLS, made acceleration runs remarkably easy. We found that Race Start mode, which is selectable via a rotary knob on the SLS’s center console, limits wheelspin almost too much. Our best times were achieved without it, the SLS’s traction enhanced by a mechanical differential lock and the car’s rear weight bias. Upshifts occur at redline in a scant 100 milliseconds.
In low-speed city driving, in trundling about town, the Mercedes-built MCT-7 transaxle (with Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and Manual modes) works well but is occasionally a bit slow to upshift when directed to do so by the right-hand paddle. Nevertheless, the SLS gearbox works better the harder you drive the car, and it’s significantly more refined than the single-clutch unit in the Lexus LFA also tested in this issue. And every time the SLS fires off a perfect succession of auto-blip downshifts while braking hard into a favorite corner, you tend to forget about these minor concerns.
The SLS is the first car that AMG, Mercedes’ in-house tuner, has developed in totality, and its taut space-frame chassis feels like it might have been hewn out of billet aluminum. It’s not, but it was developed long before the SLS’s body ever took shape, and Dodge Vipers even served as the earliest test mules. The chassis itself is a complex mixture of aluminum sheets, sections and die-cast pieces, all bolted, riveted, welded and glued together. In all, it takes 30 hours to build the SLS chassis, and the only steel used is for rollover protection in the A-pillars. All told, 96 percent of the chassis is aluminum, and 4 percent is steel. And thanks to the super strong construction, the basic body-in-white structure of the SLS is extremely light—at only 530 lb., it’s among the lightest in the supercar world, says Mercedes.
This rigid structure provides an excellent foundation for the SLS’s suspension, which features aluminum double A-arms and coil-over shock absorbers all around. The ride is on the firm side of acceptable, beautifully damped and exhibiting almost no dive under braking or squat under acceleration. Continental ContiSportContact tires, size 265/35ZR-19 in front, 295/30ZR-20 in back, do a good job of keeping the heavy 3795-lb. SLS stuck to the tarmac, enabling it to weave through our slalom at 71.8 mph and lap our skidpad at an impressive 0.96g.
So, what’s an SLS like out in the real world? Remarkably easy to live with. Getting in and out is not a problem, and although it’s wise to mind your head, I never had a problem. The doors, conveniently, don’t extend very far out when being opened, so they’re actually easier in a tight parking lot than conventional doors. At 6 ft. 4 in., I fit well inside the SLS, although I wouldn’t want to be any taller because contours in the headliner give me just enough head room. It’s a bit of a reach to pull down the open doors from a seated position, but Mercedes says a fix in the form of straps is in the works. The doors themselves shut with the expected high-quality Mercedes thud, and a pair of gas struts makes opening them from inside the car remarkably simple.
On the road, the SLS steering has a precise, well-weighted feel, and the brakes are firm but not grabby. But the best place to appreciate the SLS is out on the open road or the track, where the raucous 6.2-liter V-8 can stretch its legs and the well-tuned suspension can experience the loads it’s been designed to handle. The trip from 60 mph to triple digits in the SLS is a thoroughly exhilarating ride, one that’ll make you realize that, yes, gasoline is a pretty amazing fuel. And on decel, little backfire pops upstream of the catalytic converter remind you that there’s a raspy V-8 under the SLS hood, on call whenever needed.
As a tall driver, I wasn’t bothered by the SLS’s long hood, and I always had a pretty good sense of where the nose was. Also helping the forward view is the SLS’s rather upright (by today’s stand*ards) wraparound windscreen, an important element of the car’s appealingly retro look. And when it comes to the overall appearance of the car, the only angle we don’t particularly like is the rear. From the front and sides, and even when viewed from above, it’s clear that heritage played a huge role in the shape of this neo-Gullwing. From the back, however, the short sloping rear deck and pop-up wing make us think that wind tunnel numbers trumped style, which may not be a bad thing in a car with an electronically limited top speed of 197 mph.
So stop looking at the back of the car and get in the driver’s seat, covered in a designo red leather with beautiful stitching. Indeed, there isn’t a better seat in the SLS. It’s firm and comfortable, like the car itself. And in a nod to the past, the interior isn’t cluttered with controls. The designers clearly showed some restraint, creating an elegant cockpit that’s more old money than nouveau riche, one that’s complemented by a D-shaped steering wheel that feels great in your hands.
The SLS AMG is indeed a special car, with maybe 300 coming to the U.S. in its first year of production at Sindelfingen. We get the strong sense that this Mercedes will be highly prized 50 years from now, as was the case with the original Gullwing. Kudos to Mercedes and AMG for building a new Grand Tourer that is, in every sense of the word, Grand.
2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG - Article - Road and Track
French Auto Journal
Not really interesting article, they don't say much about the car, but I think the few pictures are nice and the color combination (interior / exterior) looks great.
90 second verdict - Autocar
Autocar Videos - Autocar.co.uk
Follow the link for the video, they rated the car 4 stars only.
I'll trust Evo on this one.
Two more tests coming up
This week Autocar (print copy) features a comparo of the SLS vs Ferrari, Porsche, Aston... Trying to get it and will upload scans if I find the magazine.
Also, new edition of Auto (IT) has tested the car - cannot get that one... so if somebody can find and scan, help will be appreciated !
Luglio 2010 - Edicola - Auto.it
I feel so sorry about the US version of the SLS. They have to have those FUGLY extensions attached to the rear bumper................
Somebody can remind why they are needed in US. They have such a negative effect on the look of lots of cars (911 too).
NYT drove the SLS AMG:
Winging It One More Time
By LAWRENCE ULRICH
Published: July 8, 2010
IN a beloved cliché of any time-machine movie, the intrepid traveler goofs up the controls and emerges in a cosmically awful predicament — in the midst of the Spanish Inquisition, say, or at the molten core of the earth.
For Mercedes-Benz, the two-seat time capsule is the new SLS AMG. This sports car’s quest takes buyers back to the 1950s, by evoking the classic 300SL coupe, including its space-age gullwing doors. But the SLS’s greatest misfortune — aside from its uninspired rear-end styling — is to have landed plop into the still-sour economy of 2010. Any megaplex denizen could have told Mercedes that a $200,000 sports car should have set course for, oh, the dot-com bubble of 1999.
The rest: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/11/automobiles/autoreviews/11WHEEL.html?ref=automobiles
Jaw-dropping looks are the first requirement of any supercar, and the new SLS doesn’t disappoint. It’s already a familiar sight thanks to numerous show appearances
and its role as the official F1 safety car, but that hasn’t dulled the impact it makes when you see one right there in front of you.
The low-slung Merc has a long nose, giving the new gullwing a cartoon-like quality. Retro details abound, with air vents on the bonnet and front wings punctuated by silver strakes, which have been borrowed directly from the original 300SL.
Its face is clearly inspired by the Fifties legend, too, and the sleek headlamps and thrusting grille have an unmistakable presence. The SLS is guaranteed to stand out from even the most exotic mid-engined rival, and it strikes a well judged balance between retro charm and cutting-edge appeal. Then, when you unlock it, the flush-fitting handles for the doors emerge from the bodywork to provide the car’s biggest talking point.
A simple tug is enough to theatrically raise each of the doors, transforming the SLS from a car which merits attention into one that demands it. Climbing in is simply a matter of squeezing past the throng of people that invariably surround it, and sliding over the chunky sill down into the cabin. Closing the doors requires a short reach up from the seat to grasp the handle and pull them down manually.
The cabin is generously equipped and has a high-quality feel. The familiar Mercedes switchgear is mixed with unique touches, such as the quartet of alloy-trimmed rotary air vents which help to set the SLS apart from the firm’s usual fare.
A wide transmission tunnel is home to an aircraft-inspired gear selector plus a row of buttons and dials to control the stability systems and gearbox settings. Firing up the keyless SLS requires a press of the glowing red starter. It flickers as the eight cylinders crank into life and settle down to a bassy idle.
The 6.2-litre powerplant is at the heart of the SLS experience. Even when driven gently, with the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox in its auto setting, you’re treated to an unmistakable V8 rumble. And as you lift off the throttle the exhaust emits a satisfying symphony of pops and bangs which are guaranteed to put a grin on your face.
Switch the gearbox past its Sport and Sport+ settings into manual mode, and you can experience the full AMG soundtrack – and few cars at any price sound as purposeful and threatening as the SLS at full tilt. Unfortunately, you’ll be able to enjoy its full voice only in short bursts on public roads, because it’s as savagely fast as it sounds.
At the test track, it blasted from 0-60mph in 4.1 seconds and strode to 100mph faster than many so-called hot hatches reach 60mph. It demolished our in-gear tests, too, and blitzed from 30-70mph through the gears in a startling 3.1 seconds.
The SLS is about more than simply an engine. Arrowing its long nose into a corner for the first time reveals sharp responses and genuine poise. The steering
is light yet communicative, and the huge tyres generate ample amounts of grip.
Better still, the SLS never feels intimidating to drive – the upright windscreen and decent visibility help make light work of placing the Merc’s long nose. At low speeds, the firm suspension thumps into potholes and you feel even small bumps, but the trade-off at higher speeds is tight body control and alert responses.
With 563bhp and 650Nm of torque under your right foot, though, it’s easy to break traction and light up the rear tyres. Mercedes has devised a three- stage ESP set-up with a Sports setting, but you still need quick reactions to catch the stubby tail when the system is disengaged.
Reinventing a legend is fraught with difficulties and it’s all too easy for the end product to be compromised by its need to look like a car from another era. That’s not the fate of the SLS.
Its unique styling, thunderous engine and epic performance make it a worthy successor to the original Gullwing.
Mercedes SLS AMG | Car Group Tests | Car Reviews | Auto Express
Long term test: Mercedes SLS - Autocar.co.uk