If you were Mercedes-Benz, and you wanted to breathe a few more years of life into the range-topping SLS AMG, how would you do it? You wouldn’t alter the design much, because the car’s retro-futuristic lines pay homage to the iconic 300 SL Gullwing, while delivering a presence that few other cars on the planet can match. You’d be hard pressed to up the content level, since the SLS AMG (in coupe or roadster form) already delivers just about any amenity you could ask for.
If you guessed “up the performance,” you’d be correct. For 2013, the SLS AMG adds “GT” to its name, gets an additional 12 horsepower and receives a revised seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, which makes perhaps the biggest contribution to its added capabilities. There’s a new AMG Adaptive Performance Suspension, complete with electronically-adjustable dampers, as well as a few tweaks to the car’s styling.
Thankfully, these changes are minor and tasteful. Lighting now sports darkened surrounds, while unique 20-inch wheels cover red brake calipers. Side mirror caps are sprayed in gloss black, as are the fender strakes, and a subtle GT badge on the rear deck lid reminds passers-by that this is the new and improved version. Inside, the key differences are more gloss-black trim, red seat belts, red-trimmed floor mats and a new AMG Performance steering wheel. What hasn’t changed is the car’s impressive fit, finish and attention to detail.
While the 6.2-liter V-8 gets a bump to 583 horsepower for 2013, it doesn’t make any more torque than last year’s 479 pound-feet. The performance gains can mostly be attributed to the revised transmission’s Sport, Sport+ and manual modes, which deliver impressively quick shifts and track-like dynamics. The net result is that the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT takes just 3.6 seconds to sprint from 0-60 mph, shaving 0.2 seconds off of last year’s time.
Don’t let the luxurious accommodations fool you into thinking that the SLS AM GT is just another Grand Touring car with a suspension that’s too soft for track day entertainment. If anything, the car is almost too harsh and too unforgiving, especially with the electro-nannies dialed back. Set the AMG Adaptive Performance suspension to Sport + and call up the Manual shift mode, and the SLS AMG GT is capable of terrifying all but the most competent drivers, delivering oversteer on demand whenever the throttle is tapped with too much enthusiasm. Dial the settings back, and the SLS AMG GT is happy to play the role of Grand Tourer, taking you from coast-to-coast in comfort with as much velocity as you’d like.
While the gullwing doors may be iconic, they don’t necessarily permit easy entry for taller or shorter drivers. Taller drivers will almost certainly smash their heads into the doors on entry (or exit), while shorter drivers may not be able to reach the door’s handle when seated. As with any car, these are things you’ll get accustomed to, but the roadster variant’s conventional doors eliminates these problems outright.
Regardless of the version you choose, the cabin is best described as “intimate.” Leg room is ample, and head room is sufficient for most, but those broad of shoulder or wide of hip may find the car’s accommodations to be sub-optimal. There isn’t much onboard storage space, and while the trunk is large enough to be functional, the exhaust routing means that you won’t be hauling perishable items in it.
The 2013 SLS AMG GT comes with the Mercedes-Benz COMAND Infotainment system, and can be ordered with features like a 1,000-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system, AMG Performance Media, two-tone or woven leather seating and carbon fiber trim.
For complete details on the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT, see our comprehensive review on The Car Connection