Tuesday, September 14, 2010

2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS

Normally a Mercedes-Benz isn't a car you get excited about. Inspired by the classic Mercedes 300SL (known as the "Gullwing") of the 1950s, the new Mercedes-Benz SLS shares the iconic SL's proportions with its long hood and short rear deck as well as the SL's unique upward-opening doors. The SLS is meant to be Mercedes-Benz's ultimate automobile, but it's also meant to be more affordable and practical to drive than the now-discontinued Mercedes SLR McLaren.

Behind the SLS's classic-style grille is an exotic all-aluminum chassis and a potent, hand-built 6.2-liter V8. A seven-speed, dual-clutch automated manual transaxle (a first for a Mercedes-Benz) sends the power to the rear wheels. Throw a few options on the 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG and you're looking at a $200,000-plus sports car. The "Mercedes SLS AMG" comes solely as a coupe. Options include special paint colors, carbon-fiber trim (for the engine compartment, mirror housings and interior), ultra-high-performance carbon-ceramic brakes, a racetrack-tuned suspension, lightweight forged-aluminum wheels, an 11-speaker surround-sound Bang & Olufsen audio system, a steering wheel wrapped in leather and suede, and a custom-fitted indoor car cover.

A hand-built 6.2-liter V8 cranking out 563 hp and 479 pound-feet of torque comes with every Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. Mercedes-Benz says the car's top speed is 197 mph. EPA fuel mileage estimates stand at 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined.

Standard safety equipment includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, side airbags, side curtain airbags, knee airbags and Mercedes-Benz's "mbrace" emergency telematics system.

The SLS's gullwing-style doors swing upward, revealing a larger, less obstructed opening than is typical of cars with conventional doors. For more Interior Features information, see our Specifications page.

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS has the balance of a sports car, thanks to a weight distribution of 47 percent front/53 percent rear. It steers quickly into a corner like a sports car, yet has the straight-line stability of a GT car. The potent V8 gives the Mercedes-Benz SLS a proper exotic car soundtrack with its powerful and entertaining staccato beat.

It weighs 8.8 pounds. Height of an adult female, weight of a gallon or so of gas—these are the critical dimensions of the carbon-fiber driveshaft running between the engine and the rear-mounted transaxle in the new Mercedes SLS AMG. “The SLS is a serious super sports car,” says AMG chief of development Tobias Moers before taking a shot at the SLR, a carbon-fiber-bodied car that still managed to weigh in at 3858 pounds. “Our SLS weighs only 3572 pounds,” he says, nearly 300 pounds lighter than the McMerc. The aluminum structure weighs just 531 pounds, Mercedes says.

The most distinctive aspect of the SLS’s appearance is, of course, its roof-hinged gullwing doors, an homage to the iconic 300SL Gullwing. AMG boss Volker Mornhinweg explains sharply. Those gullwing doors look spectacular. While the car’s structure is a pure AMG design, most of the parts, except for the shifter, are from the Mercedes bin. The center console has an aluminum finish, with carbon fiber an option.
The idle is deep, and the revs rise and fall race-car swiftly.

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