What is it?
The fabulous new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. Unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show back in September, the distinctively styled coupe is expected to go on sale in the UK next June at a price AMG’s boss, Volker Mornhinweg, says will pitch it at slightly above ₤150,000, making it ₤47,000 more than the SL63 AMG.
Developed from the ground up by AMG at its engineering headquarters in Affalterbach, Germany, the new two-seater not only aims to project Mercedes-Benz back into the thick of the supercar rank,s following the disappointment of the considerably more expensive ₤350,000 SLR, but also sets out to resurrect the spirit of one of the most revered sports cars of all time: the classic 1954 300 SL, or Gullwing.
This is a menacing-looking car: low, wide and tremendously well planted. At 4638mm in length, 1939mm in width and 1262mm in height, it is 35mm longer and 123mm wider but 36mm lower than the SL63 AMG, which it is positioned directly above within the AMG line-up.
What’s it like?
Brilliant. This car is so well resolved it is going to give Ferrari and all the other established supercar heavyweights, Lamborghini and Porsche included, something to ponder when it goes on sale next year.
This is the first time we’ve had a chance to put the SLS AMG through its paces on public roads, and it’s clear that it is a much more convincing proposition than the car it replaces in the Mercedes-Benz line-up, the McLaren-built SLR.
Still, with massive sills and those traditional gullwing doors, it is not at all an easy car to get into. The best procedure upon entry seems to be to sit on the high sill then swivel your legs down into driver’s footwell and pull the overhead hinged door down as lower yourself into the thinly padded but generously adjustable driver’s seat.
The SLS AMG pulls away lustily and handles low-speed running without any apparent slack within the driveline on part load. It feels incredibly solid and exceptionally well engineered at around town speeds.
There’s already 369lb ft of torque available at 2000rpm, and you can sense it in the way it rips through the lower part of the rev range the moment you give the command with an earnest application of your right foot.