2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGEnlarge Photo
Affalterbach, Germany is home to one of the most premier high-performance companies in the world. Touted for its winning history both on the track and the back roads, Mercedes-Benz’s in-house tuner AMG has created another legend.
The design, touting a scant 530 pound spaceframe chassis structure, screams performance. While the long hood and short rear deck radiated power. The 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is not a car that has an upgrade package offered by AMG, but developed exclusively by the tuner company. The chassis, comprised of 96 percent of aluminum, takes a whopping 30 hours to construct.
First unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show in Frankfurt Germany, the SLS AMG became a hit amongst enthusiasts and journalists for its retro styling which reminds many of the 1955 300SL Gullwing.
Yet under the hood, there’s no 3.0-liter straight six, or four-speed manual transmission that once powered the ’55 300SL.
Under the hood of this new beast is a hand-built aluminum block 6208 cc eight-cylinder powerhouse, producing 563 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 479 pound-feet of torque at 4,750 rpm. The 3,795 pound SLS pulls a 0-60 mph in just 3.6 seconds, allowing it to run with some of the best supercars on the road today.
The 6.2-liter is mated to a seven-speed paddle shift automatic; the only available gearbox for the SLS. The driveshaft is constructed from carbon-fiber and weighs just 9 pounds, helping the transfer of power from the engine to the Continental ContiSportContact 5P tires out back.
Inside, plush red leather surrounds the driver, along with a minimalist’s dream of an instrument panel where the designer’s only goal was to convey performance. The center console contains the knobs for the transmission and suspension settings, along with the keyless ignition.
The signature of the car, the gullwing doors, never fails to draw crowds of onlookers at to the unique design. The doors are easy to open, and just as easy to close once seated. One may worry about the possibility of having the SLS AMG rollover and wonder how the doors will open. Amazingly, if the car is inverted for more than 15 seconds, a pyrotechnic charge detonates and disconnects the door hinges from the door itself.
The retro look of the car that pulls its heritage from one of Mercedes-Benz’s premier sports cars from the 1950s may be steeped in technology, but does not upset one that is looking for a retro performance car on today’s roads.