The flagship Mercedes SLS AMG supercar has a thumping V8 engine and gullwing doors that add a sense of occasion to every drive
The Mercedes SLS AMG – renamed SLS AMG GT in late 2012 – is the kind of car you spend a lottery win on, mainly because it has a fabulous set of gullwing doors. Oh, and the fact it has a thunderous 6.3-litre V8 engine under the bonnet. It’s not particularly sophisticated, though, and is better suited to high-speed cruising and driving like a hooligan than being threaded down twisty back roads. What’s more, you can have the sharper handling McLaren 12C for the same money, while a Ferrari 458 Italia is not much more. But then neither of those have gullwing doors, do they?
If you want a car that makes you grin like an idiot, the Mercedes SLS is it. Just starting up the 583bhp 6.3-litre V8 is enough to have you giggling, and when you floor the throttle in a tunnel, your ears will be greeted by the kind of thunderous V8 soundtrack usually heard at a NASCAR race. Lift off, and there are some hilarious pops and bangs from the exhaust. With a 0-62mph time of 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 199mph, the SLS is very nearly as fast as a Ferrari 458 Italia. It feels very big and wide around corners, so it’s not as engaging but it’s still lots of fun to drive. The GT model benefits from firmer suspension, which means a harsher ride but that the car stays flatter in the bends. The seven-speed auto ‘box was a weak point on early cars, but revised software on the GT model makes shifts faster and smoother.