With its classic sports car proportions and upward-opening doors, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG revives the spirit of the classic 1950s Mercedes 300SL sports car. But in terms of performance and comfort, it’s as modern as it gets. .
Normally, a Mercedes-Benz is not a car that excites you. Sure, it can be impressive and even desirable. But when it comes time to get excited the way young boys get excited about red exotic sports cars from Italy, a Mercedes isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. But now there’s the 2011 Mercedes SLS AMG. (Get ready to pump your fist.)
Despite its name, the SLS AMG is not a special version of the current Mercedes-Benz SL hardtop convertible, but rather a unique sports car designed and built by AMG, the high-performance division of Mercedes-Benz.
Inspired by the classic Mercedes 300SL (known as a “Gullwing”) from the 1950s, the new SLS shares the proportions of the iconic SL with its long bonnet and short rear deck, as well as the SL’s unique lift-up doors. The SLS aims to be the ultimate Mercedes-Benz car, but it also aims to be more affordable and practical to drive than the discontinued Mercedes SLR McLaren.
Behind the SLS’s classic-style grille sits an exotic aluminum chassis and a powerful, hand-built 6.2-liter V8. This engine is an upgraded version (it even has a racing-style dry sump oil system) of the AMG engine from the SL63 and other AMG Benz models, and here it puts out 563bhp.
A seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission – a first for a Mercedes-Benz – sends power to the rear wheels. Weighing around 1,600 kilos, the SLS is no lightweight, but it still has the ability to compete with the world’s best sports cars, such as the 2011 Ferrari 458 Italia and 2011 Porsche 911 Turbo.
If you add some options to the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG 2011, you are facing a sports car of more than 200,000 euros. Considering the combination of high performance and superior practicality, the SLS really does seem like a good deal compared to weekend trinkets like the 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo.
Unsurprisingly, performance is exciting, with the SLS able to hit 100 km/h in just 3.6 seconds. Mercedes-Benz says that the top speed of the car is 317 km per hour.
The transmission of the Mercedes SLS is a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox is the only transmission available. The SLS’s gullwing doors open upward, revealing a larger, less obstructed opening than is typical for cars with conventional doors.
The interior features finely stitched leather not only on the seats, but also on the dashboard, console and doors. If you’re familiar with other Mercedes products, you’ll recognize a good deal of the switches from the SLS, but the brushed metal vents and optional carbon fiber accents add a sporty touch, while the overall fit and finish is of the highest level.
Driver space is excellent for this class of car, with a good driving position even for tall drivers.
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS has the balance of a sports car, thanks to a 47% front/53% rear weight distribution. It snaps into corners like a sports car, but has the straight-line stability of a GT. Chances are you’ll run out of talent much quicker than SLS, though some drivers might find stability control a bit too intrusive in its default mode.
The powerful V8 gives the SLS an exotic car soundtrack with its powerful and entertaining staccato rhythm. The versatile seven-speed transmission offers a relaxed demeanor in its “Controlled Efficiency” setting or can provide precise response when Sport Plus mode is selected. However, its response to change is not as immediate and quick as that of similar transmissions from Ferrari, McLaren and Porsche.