In-depth Reviews

Mercedes SLS AMG coupe (2010-2014)

"Built entirely by AMG, Mercedes-Benz's in-house tuning division, the Mercedes SLS supercar is an incredible achievement. Powered by a 563bhp V8 engine, it's loud, fast and very exclusive"

Carbuyer Rating

2.2 out of 5

Pros

  • Genuine supercar credentials
  • Noise
  • Exclusivity

Cons

  • Asking price
  • Slow speed ride
  • Large dimensions

The SLS is the first complete car to come out of Mercedes-Benz's tuning division, AMG. Featuring gullwing, upwards-opening doors as featured on the legendary 300 SL model from 1955, the SLS has huge road presence. The long bonnet houses a tweaked version of the existing 6.3-litre V8 engine found in other AMG models, producing a mammoth 563bhp, or 583bhp in the SLS GT. Emitting a thunderous noise, the SLS is capable of completing the 0-62mph sprint in as little as 3.7 seconds - easily quick enough to compete with Ferrari and Lamborghini. Top speed is quoted as 199mph in the GT model. Fitted with Mercedes' first seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, SLS drivers can change gear via two steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles.

MPG, running costs & CO2

Very steep running costs

The SLS has a combined fuel consumption figure of 21.4mpg which means frequent fuel stops and very large bills. Emissions also fall into the highest category resulting in an annual road tax cost of £460. Massive tyres and very expensive servicing are the norm in this class, too.

Engines, drive & performance

The SLS AMG is a true supercar

One of the reasons the SLS is so fast and handles so well is the lack of weight. Mercedes' in-house tuning brand, AMG, have worked very hard to keep it as light as possible. The huge 6.2-litre, 563bhp V8 engine plays its part, too. The result is a 0-62mph time of 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 197mph. Sat far back in the chassis, almost over the rear wheels, the ride is firm and a little jerky around town, but the trade off is incredible stability once up to speed. The gearbox is also much happier once the car is fully underway. The GT version costs a little more, but adds another 20bhp, as well as a quicker-shifting gearbox and firmer suspension for sharper handling.

Interior & comfort

It doesn't like to dawdle

Dealing with bumpy, uneven roads remarkably well, the AMG is at home on a range of different road surfaces, but only at speed. The steering requires precise inputs, and on bumpy roads it tend to fidget a little. Around town, the ride is firm and choppy, even in the suspension’s softest mode - this isn't helped by the huge 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels. The GT model is even more uncomfortable on bad road surfaces, but feels perfectly at home on a race track. The cabin is a great place to be, featuring some highly detailed touches, plus the sports seats are excellent.

Practicality & boot space

The SLS is a big car with a very long bonnet

Getting in and out of the SLS is easy thanks to the wide opening created by the gullwing, roof-hinged doors. Shorter drivers will find it quite a stretch to pull the doors closed, however. Once underway, the SLS proves very easy to drive and only on smaller roads does the width become an issue. The long bonnet makes parking in tight spaces quite tricky, but parking sensors are provided. The boot is small but still offers a useful 176 litres.

Reliability & safety

Built to typically high Mercedes standards

The SLS is beautifully finished and, due to its incredibly stiff aluminium chassis, should prove remarkably strong should the worst happen. The host of safety features and interior airbags will also help to protect the occupants in the event of an accident. The gullwing doors have a quick-release mechanism that's activated if the car should become inverted, too.

Price, value for money & options

Very expensive to buy and upgrade

Similarly priced to the McLaren MP4-12C and Ferrari 458 Italia, the SLS AMG is a very expensive car. Standard kit does include sat-nav, heated seats, AMG dials, cruise control and Parktronic parking sensors, however. Nevertheless, buyers looking to add optional extras to the SLS face huge costs. The ceramic high-performance brake system costs an eye-watering £8,140, the carbon-fibre interior trim package is yours for a £6,000 premium and the GT model costs around £12,000 more than the standard car.

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