Home Latest News Review: 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

Review: 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG


The definition of an icon reads as follows: “A representation of an object of great attention and devotion, an idol.” If that is the case the Mercedes-Benz 300sl is most defiantly an icon of the automotive industry, it not only brought innovations in its manufacture but also gave the world the most incredible method of entering and exiting a car. The converted gullwing doors were first seen on this car in 1954 and captured the imagination of millions. The 300sl could achieve 150MPH and cost more than the average house when launched, doesn’t sound too different from supercars today. However that was 56 years ago and the world has changed immensely, cars can now reach over 250MPH, airbags are standard and the gullwing doors remain killed off by health and safety. Well that last statement was true up until now…

This is the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG and the natural successor to the 300sl. The SLS also replaces the much loved Mercedes SLR McLaren and so has a lot to prove to the world. Mercedes have developed this car to echo its legendary forefather yet also be bold enough to fit in the modern-day. The authoritative stance of the SLS is one that provokes the association of speed with its bullet like shape, short rear end and bulging bonnet. And yes, there is no greater moment of satisfaction when you open those fabled doors for the first time. From within the cockpit the aluminium slashers are clearly visible on the sculpted bonnet that stretches off into the horizon; just enough to remind you that despite high levels of comfort you are not in any old SL. In fact the entire interior is what you would come to expect of any Mercedes-Benz but garnished with features such as a race inspired wheel, body hugging seats and glowing starter button. Each of these features hinting at this cars savage performance that lays dormant.

Under the bonnet is a 6.3 litre, 571BHP V8 that will launch the car from standing to 62MPH in just 3.7 seconds. All the power is sent through the rear wheels and as a result the SLS has a deployable spoiler to increase down force. The V8 tower of power is shifted as far back as the laws of physics allow for a 47/53 weight distribution, something that should give this car the balance of a certain mid-engine competitor from Italy. The car left to roam free will achieve 197MPH and with economy at 21MPG you could argue it’s got some “green” credentials, but then you would be laughed at.

On the road the Mercedes SLS is very refined, not just for a supercar but in general. Cabin noise at road speeds is minimal and with the interior as luxurious and comfortable as any other SL it makes for a perfect GT car. But you don’t want to read about how good the air-conditioning is or it’s silky smooth ride do you? You want to know what it was like when we opened the cadge of the beast and set it free on a damp track…

Let me begin by saying that this car has the best soundtrack I have heard all year! Its throaty V8 bellow rages around the cabin as soon as you open the throttle filling the surrounding area with the sound of horsepower. The handling of this machine is immense as every input into the steering results in an immediate response composed of swift agile movements. With the track greasy I was prepared for all that power to just spin the wheels, make smoke and stick me in a hedge. Instead the cars massive grip levels kept it stuck to the track. That said if you tickle the throttle around a corner in the right way the rear is always ready to play. Heading down the main straight at full throttle pins you to your seat dislodging all of your internal organs, but using the SLSAMG’s carbon ceramic breaks soon relocates them from being held against your spine to being mashed between your ribs.

Words can hardly describe how good this car is and I urge each and every one of you to experience this for yourself. The doors may be more of a novelty than a convenience but it is all part of the theatrics of owning a car such as this. At £153,000 it is cheaper than the Ferrari 458 by a considerable amount, and you know as advanced as the Ferrari is I would always take the keys to this. Why? Because in the 458 though it is capable of all the fantastic figures it boasts and in truth probably out run the SLS on a track, you always feel like a passenger. Whereas in the Merc you’re on the front line, it is you making the car dance, you playing the V8 orchestra and you hitting that apex.