The Mercedes SLS was first showcased at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009 where the overwhelming response no doubt prompted Mercedes to release a production version the very next year. However the SLS traces its ancestry back to 1954 and the 300SL which was also the forerunner to Mercedes’ hugely popular SL or Super Light (‘Super Leicht’ in Deutsche speak) series of convertibles. The 300SL was the fastest car in its day, its dainty aerodynamic form, complementing the 3.0 litre engine with its 212 hp (which doesn’t sound earth shattering now) helping it achieve much acclaim.
2013 Mercedes Benz SLS Roadster AMG Review
The words delicate or dainty would have been be far from the vocabulary of its designer, Mark Fetherston when he visualized the concept back in 2007. At an overall length of 4.6 meters and a width of almost 2 meters, the SLS has a commanding presence, excessive in every sense of the word especially in the SLS AMG Roadster version which was presented to us.
While the SLS coupe has garnered much praise for its design, you could argue that the wide B pillar detracted from an otherwise flawless design. The roadster redresses this by lopping off the B pillar and roof, emerging visually sleek and low slung for the effort. With the top down, the long hood of the SLS looks even more imposing – menacing even. The black on black paint scheme of our test car, while hiding some of the design elements, only served to make a mean car look even more vicious.
For a car that seems to be built on a XXL scale, the interior space – and there’s no point mincing words on this – is best labeled as adequate. Obviously Mercedes did not have fat-cat bankers from the pre-financial meltdown era in mind when designing this machine. The figure hugging side-bolstered sport bucket seat reminds you of every ounce you gained since you last visited the gym.
The interior is swathed in carbon fiber everywhere, further reinforcing the ‘SL’ portion of the SLS moniker. The dash is typically Mercedes, well laid out and informative without needing an array of displays like those sported by the Nissan GTR. The steering wheel is satisfyingly beefy and flat bottomed to help entry and egress. The air-vents bear a star design which evokes a faint whiff of aircraft engines.
Speaking of engines, the 6.2 liter supercharged V8 unit bestowed on the SLS could very well give flight to a small aircraft. Try 571bhp and 479lb-ft of torque. In a two seater weighing just 1,660 kgs this cocktail can push 0-100 kmph acceleration to just 3.8 secs. These are Mercedes’ claimed number of course – we would be daft to emulate that kind of haste on public roads without attracting attention from the Bill.
There is, you see the small matter of exhaust resonance. The engine which growls with purpose at idle soon unleashes a bedlam of sound and fury as you urge the tachometer higher up the scale. It’s a guttural sound played at continuously loud volume, with enough vehemence to get your blood curdling. Not subtle by any stretch of imagination, it’s the sort of sound that I would imagine a caged Tyrannosaurus Rex or some suitably irate dinosaur would emit if harassed with a cattle-prod!
This prompted numerous runs through tunnels where we let our juvenile side run riot, blipping the gears through slick paddle shifts, coaxing the engine to alternate between gruff downshifts and long rumbles up the tach, generally scaring ourselves silly in the process. We love it and highly recommend it as perfect antidote to a long day at the office!
With great power, there better come great responsibility: 479lb ft of torque is not to be trifled with as we found out on an especially spirited exit round the bend. While the electronics would surely set things right on the double, it is still relatively easy to get the tail wagging on this beast.
In traffic, no burst of acceleration can be completed without an ensuing stomp on the brakes. Very soon you learn that the best way to progress in traffic is to stop fiddling with the paddle shifts, leave the car in auto and ride the enormous torque regardless of what speed you are doing.
It is then that you become aware that Mercedes have not forgotten to infuse their brand of luxury even into this hard core exotic. While this is a car with racing in its genes, we would consider it more of a grand-tourer than a corner-baiting track machine. And at that task, Mercedes has propelled itself to the top of the pile and far ahead of the competition with the SLS AMG Roadster. What a machine! We are hopelessly smitten!
|2013 Mercedes Benz SLS AMG Roadster|
|Displacement||6,208 cc, V8|
|Rated Output||571 hp @ 6900 rpm|
|Max Engine Speed||7050 rpm|
|Transmission – type of gearshift||7 speed automatic|
|Max Speed||317 km/h|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h||3.8 s|
|Tyre size | front : rear||265/35 R 19 : 295/30 R 20|
|Price (AED)||778,400 – 901,500 (As tested)|
** Notable options which were included in our test vehicle were | design Exclusive leather black @ USD 3,404 | Blind Spot Assist @ USD 848 | Electrically adjustable left and right Seat Memory package @ USD 1,668 | AMG Interior Carbon Fibre Package @ USD 9,477 | AMG Ride Control sports suspension with adj. damper sys @ USD 2,603 | AMG Spoke Wheels @ USD 1,268 | AMG carbon fibre exterior mirrors @ USD 1,668 | Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG @ USD 7,942 | Brake Caliper, painted red @USD 801
Images by Brian Donegan :