That engine, of course, is the same 6.2-liter V-8 built by AMG that you’ll find under the hood of the coupe. Its 563 hp are channeled through a rear-axle-mounted seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Requests for upshifts and downshifts are handled quickly and with seemingly greater responsiveness than in the last SLS AMG coupe we tested. Simply pull the paddles, and gearchanges happen instantly. In full-automatic mode, the dual-clutch gearbox does a fine imitation of a torque-converter box, its mimicry going so far as to produce idle creep when you lift off the brake.
Don’t Be Such a Stiff
Additional bracing in the dashboard, reinforced sills, the fixed roll hoops behind the seats, and a rear-suspension brace stiffen the aluminum structure to the point that we could not detect any shakes, shudders, or shimmies. AMG claims the convertible’s body in white (the car’s structure stripped of all components) weighs only 4.5 more pounds than the coupe’s. Factor in the motors and mechanisms for the top’s operation, however, and curb weight rises 88 pounds. Based on the weight of the last gullwing coupe we tested, we predict the roadster will weigh in at about 3850 pounds. With 563 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque, the extra weight goes unnoticed. Like the coupe’s, the roadster’s gearbox offers a race start (launch control) setting that raises engine revs and dumps the clutch. Once the wheelspin settles, we expect a coupe-matching 3.5-second 0-to-60 time. Top speed is limited to 197 mph.
Then move that item back a few inches, and see how much more willing the cart is to turn. Those same physics apply here. Massive tires offer equally massive grip that is easy to exploit. There are no false moves, no twitchiness, no I’m-going-to-put-you-into-this-ditch threats./p pstrongA Supercar, but Still a Mercedes/strong/p pThat user-friendliness is consistent throughout the SLS. With the top down, the roadster feels spacious in a way the gullwing version can’t match. Top-down trunk space is even the same six cubic feet as the coupe holds. The SLS we drove came equipped with AMG ride control, an option that adds electronically adjustable shocks with three damping settings. Keep them in comfort, and the SLS rides like a sporty luxury car. (The roadster gets the adjustable shocks first; they will be added to the coupe later.) Airscarf, Mercedes’ vent at the base of the headrest that blows warm air onto your neck, will be offered. /p table border="0" cellpadding="2" cellspacing="0"x">
Despite the wild shape and performance, the SLS is a car you’d want to drive to work or use to run errands. There aren’t any supercar peccadilloes such as poor visibility, a nose that scrapes on inclines, an outdated navigation system (or worse yet, one sourced from Chrysler), or a jerky gearbox. When you use the SLS like a regular car, it feels a lot like an SL63 AMG. But start exploiting the SLS’s capabilities, and it feels as alive and as exotic as it looks. No official pricing has been announced, but a base price of $198, 000 plus a $1700 gas-guzzler penalty is our estimate. That makes this SLS roughly $10, 000 more than the gullwing coupe. Losing those doors might make the roadster a little less special, but overall, it feels like the better car.