Two new experiences for me today, and both at the same time.
One was my first trip around the brand spanking new Yas Marina circuit, home to the new Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The second came as I went round it in the new Merc SLS supercar. Or Gullwing as we still like to call it at Autocar Towers.
I was far more interested in the Merc to be honest. And blimey it’s impressive. Largely because it feels like nothing else on the road. Entering the cabin through those doors helps a fair bit to cement its uniqueness, mind you.
And once you’re in, you’re hunkered low and peering down a long bonnet in a very un-Merc like driving position. My flit round the Yas circuit (trying to keep up with Bernd Schneider, as you do) also taught me that it has tremendous agility, but also a languidity and long leggedness you get with the best front-engined GTs. Especially those packing a lot of power, going through an auto 'box.
But most of all the Merc SLS has real character. It’s got an engine note that I wouldn’t mind being the last thing I ever heard, and way more personality than any AMG that I’ve ever had the pleasure of before.
Of course, just a few laps round a race circuit is hardly the complete picture. I’d like to drive it on the road and, more importantly, I’d like to try it on UK roads (even AMG boss Volker Mornhinweg has yet to do this).
But I’d like to wager that the SLS will join that extremely exclusive club: the supercar you can and will want to drive every day.