It sounds almost unbelievable to say that the electric SLS doesn’t feel that quick. But that was my initial reaction when I spotted a straight section of tarmac opening up round the next corner at the Valencia GP circuit and stamped on the ‘throttle’.
If you keep half an eye on the speedo, however, you soon realise that you’re putting on pace as quickly as you do in an Murcielago LP640-4. You can feel that awesome acceleration in the small of your back as well. The difference is that in an electric car, no matter how quickly you push down the accelerator, the car has already started picking up speed before the pedal touches the floor.
That means that the SLS was actually accelerating more quickly than pretty much anything else around, but because it was so smooth you don’t get the ‘kidney punch’ in the back. Instead it’s like taking off in an exceptionally fast plane. You’re not sure quite when it started, but it just keeps on picking up speed. As a legal (road or otherwise) experience, it’s about as addictive as it gets. Had AMG not waded in to remove the key, I would have quite happily spent all day doing it.
Despite its 2100kg or so kerb weight - quite a bit more than the SLS AMG - the electric SLS feels very agile and stable. Mercedes is still developing the torque vectoring steering that will allow the four motors (one at each corner) to literally twist the car into corners, but even now, with a 23mm lower centre of gravity than the SLS AMG, the electric car feels very polished. The Merc engineers believe that it should be possible to get the kerb weight under two tonnes, and that with a full steering package the car will end up being as agile as the ‘standard’ SLS. We can’t wait to find out.