This is the ultimate supercar test - we're pitting the Mercedes SLS AMG, Aston Martin Vantage V12, Porsche 911 Turbo and Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera head-to-head. Steve Sutcliffe reports.
The Mercedes SLS is the new car on the block - albeit one wrapped in retro clothing. But don't let that fool you. Virtually the entire car is made from aluminium, including its spaceframe chassis, yet the overall rigidity of the structure remains high.
In the nose sits a normally aspirated 6208cc V8 that develops 563bhp at 6800rpm and 479lb ft at 4750rpm. Power reaches the road via an ultra-sophisticated dual-clutch semi-automatic gearbox with seven forward ratios, a rear-mounted transaxle for better weight distribution, and numerous gearshift modes to choose from.
The suspension is similarly bespoke, featuring a classic layout of double wishbones with coil springs at both ends, while the brakes of the test car were optional carbon ceramic discs.
The base price for the SLS is £157,500, which already puts it above the 911 Turbo (£106,387), Vantage V12 (£135,000). Tick a few boxes, though, and it won't take long to hit the £187,000 of our test car - more than the limited edition Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera here.
There's an intriguing mix of modern and traditional in the Merc's styling. The overall effect is extremely dramatic. Wherever we went with these cars, it was the SLS that was gawped at most - quite amazing, given the lime green Lambo.
Swing the driver's door up, climb in, and the SLS's driving position is faultless and the basic architecture of the cabin excellent. But there is a whiff of anti-climax about it - for a £157,500 it is a touch ordinary. It feels like any other Merc.