The Mercedes SLS’s cabin may be reminiscent of other Mercedes, but it takes only one corner to realise that this Mercedes drives like no other. Two elements define why it feels so different. The first is the steering, which, for a Mercedes, is incredibly quick. It’s just 2.5 turns lock to lock and yet the SLS retains a respectable turning circle of 11.9m.
Some testers found the steering a shade too quick, especially on initial turn-in. However, others loved the directness. There is reasonable feel, too – more than you get in a Ferrari 599, less than in the best Porsches.
The second defining factor is just how torsionally rigid the SLS feels. Commit to a corner and there is a noticeable lack of flex from the chassis. You turn the wheel, the front end bites and, with almost no hesitation, the rear follows. If you can gel with the steering, this inspires huge confidence. The compromises made in these departments for taking the Roadster are minimal.
Unusually, the SLS has a passive suspension set-up. Within the double wishbone suspension front and rear are anti-squat and anti-dive functions, but there is no adjustable damping. Given its one suspension setting, it covers the remit of road and track work relatively well.
At low speeds the SLS coupé is very firm, perhaps too firm for boulevard cruising, but it smooths out noticeably with speed. The flipside is that body movements and cornering forces are extremely well controlled. The Roadster is less firm at low speed, which a less performance orientated buyer may appreciate.
In its styling and configuration, the SLS has a whiff of hot rod to it. To an extent, that is also true of the way it drives, but the SLS is the hot rod formula polished to the nth degree. Our only criticism is that all the polishing has removed a little of the supercar soul.