If you like the idea of an old-school front-engined, rear-wheel drive supercar with an aurally awesome V8 engine but want it wrapped in a veneer of modern accessibility, there’s little to touch the Mercedes-Benz SLS GT.
More power, better suspension and lower prices than before? It’s good news week.
The original SLS AMG coupe hardly drew a welter of complaints about the way it drove, but Mercedes-Benz has certainly improved this GT model. The key change is in the transmission. The previous AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT seven-speed ’box didn’t have a problem in its shifting speed but the software seemed a little too willing to overrule manual changes, especially on downshifts. The latest version of this sequential twin-clutch transmission shifts a lot more responsively to driver requests. The engine remains a 6.2-litre V8 but power has crept up to 591PS, which is a useful 20PS increase. This translates to performance that’s supercar quick; think 62 mph from a standing start in 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 199mph.
The suspension has been re-fettled too. It’s still double aluminium wishbones all-round but the AMG RIDE CONTROL electronically adaptable damping (Sport, Sport +) ensures that the car is tauter on turn-in than before, while still retaining enough compliance in ride for regular road use. The SLS remains a machine that’s a good deal more focused than many believe, with quick steering, a very direct front end and a real sense of occasion. That classic feel of sitting almost on the rear axle as if you’re riding a bottle rocket hasn’t gone away. In a market dominated by mid-engined techno-fests, the SLS remains a breath of fresh air.
The latest styling updates to the exterior of the SLS have been subtle.
The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG has matured and this GT model has morphed into a car that’s comfortable with its place in the supercar firmament. Thankfully Mercedes has kept the exterior styling changes to mere window dressing as this may well be remembered as one of the classic contemporary vehicle shapes.
There aren’t too many cars that you’d happily take on a grand tour and on a blast around the Nurburgring, but here’s one that will excel at both.