2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:36
The Mercedes SLS AMG has to bear a heavy mortgage: its direct predecessor became a myth and is one of the most expensive classic automobiles today. But the SLS AMG also has what it takes.
By Axel F. Busse
When the name "Uhlenhaut" is mentioned among Mercedes drivers, many die-hard sports car drivers are awestruck. Rudolf Uhlenhaut was the head of the racing department at the Stuttgart-based manufacturer, and he was responsible for the legendary W 194 racing car that later became an icon of automobile history: the 300 SL gullwing. Well-preserved specimens are traded for high six-figure sums. At a price of 183,260 euros, the SLS AMG, on the other hand, looks like a special offer.
2.30 meters from outside mirror to outside mirror
If the manufacturer keeps the numbers tight, you can confidently mothball it and get it out again in 30 or 40 years. The car promises to be a worthwhile investment, but it would be criminal to withhold it from the road. An SLS AMG wants, no, has to be driven. The bare data inspire respect: almost 6.3 liters displacement, distributed over eight cylinders, without compressor or turbo doping, 420 kW / 571 PS and a top speed of close to 320 km / h.
And then this body! From outside mirror to outside mirror 2.30 meters wide, the height is about one meter less. The bonnet is almost indecently long: from the blade of the windshield wiper to the Mercedes star it is 1.73 meters, almost half a meter more than an S-Class. Underneath, it looks as if there is room for a second eight-cylinder engine, but the lavish layout is not a show-stopping act. In the event of a collision, the energy must be dissipated before the impact force can push the V8 block into the passenger cell.
Amazingly quick entry
And how do you get into the gullwing? Amazingly fast, once you have found the handles of the doors that swing upwards. They only extend at the push of a button, in the rest position they are sunk flush into the aluminum skin. The 18-kilogram flap is well-balanced, so it only takes a little force to lift it up. Where the front hinged conventional doors of some sports cars can cause problems in tight parking spaces, the SLS driver is fine: He is enough about 30 centimeters of space to the next man and the "Gullwing" can swing up completely. For reasons of weight, an electric locking mechanism was dispensed with, so occupants under 1.70 meters have to stretch to pull the gate back into the lock.
From the park position of the Speedshift sports transmission, you cannot go directly into reverse. Of course, the car is also built to drive forward quickly. The accelerator pedal is a little insensitive in the comfort setting, but this makes careful maneuvering easier. If you want to try out whether it actually takes less than four seconds to sprint up to 100 km / h, you can choose the race start mode. The electronic starting aid ensures that the slip does not become too great and that 650 Newton meters of torque are actually converted into propulsion.
Sinister rumble even at slow speeds
It quickly becomes clear that the SLS is chronically under-challenged as a participant in public road traffic. If the traffic density is annoying or the surface is wet, it is best to turn off the radio. The sinister rumble with which the symphony of eight pots and two exhaust lines rises can compensate for the lack of speed experience. From 3000 tours it hisses vigorously, as if the engine wanted to motivate the driver to depress the gas pedal a little further.
In sport mode you can also make the double-declutching sound. It goes irresistibly forward in one go, thanks to the dual clutch transmission. AMG deliberately refrained from taking virtual gearshift breaks, with which other manufacturers of super sports cars want to simulate a hard clutch and increase the dynamic factor. If there is no obstacle in sight, the SLS reaches the 200 km / h mark in just under twelve seconds.
Two golf bags in the trunk
Because there was still some space between the electrically extendable rear spoiler and the silencers, the SLS also got a trunk. The classic standard container in this price range, the golf bag, fits in twice. It is better not to transport perishable goods, such as oysters or lamb fillets. When the engine is used, the exhaust system heats the floor of the luggage compartment to 40 degrees Celsius or more. AMG has recognized the weak point and is working on a solution.
Conclusion: To evaluate motorized unreasonableness with the standards of conventional automobiles does not do justice to the special status of an SLS. Yes, it is difficult to drive it under 15 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers. But anyone who has the opportunity will see it as money well spent. If an icon like the 300 SL is out of reach, then at least move a classic of tomorrow. (mid)
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