Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT

June 14, 2013

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT car showThe Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT, as if we need to remind you, is fast and quite sporty. The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT? Besides an alphabetical mouthful, you can consider it an SLS on uppers.

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It’s also the latest fruit of a variant-focused product strategy for the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT supercar that saw the standard car joined shortly after launch by a roadster.

This new GT version, which supplants the non-GT here but augments it in Europe, is an attempt to make both Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT coupe and convertible more track ready, more hard core. (If it’s not brutal enough, allow us to point you to the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3.)

Our now-departed regular-grade SLS had 563 hp from its high-revving, naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8, enough to get the car to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds in our testing. The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT gets 20 more hp for a total of 583. (Torque stands pat at 479 lb-ft.) Only those who notice the matte-black-trimmed wheels and subtle Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT lettering appended to the deck lid logo will know you’re packing that little bit of extra ammo.Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT doors open

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Unfortunately, this burly, wonderful 6.2-liter engine is on its last legs, with the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT and C63 being its only remaining standard bearers. All other 63 AMG cars—the misnomer is a homage to Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT’s racing engine of the 1960s and ’70s—have switched to a smaller-displacement, forced-induction 5.5-liter V-8 as a nod to fuel efficiency and emissions regulations. That’s a shame, because the 6.2’s wide power band, immediate throttle response, and instant surge of power and torque are among the most impressive we’ve ever experienced. And the sound—oh, the sound! (Hear it here. Now.) Let’s pour one out for this great engine, shall we?Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT doors open red

But back to the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT. The extra grunt ought to shave a 10th off the sprint to 60, which is significant only for barroom arguments; the previous car felt stupid quick from the driver’s perch, and this one does, too. Top speed remains a lofty 197 mph, another beer-soaked statistic relevant only to a select few owners, given the speed limits in most SLS markets.

One place where terminal velocity might actually be explored is of course the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT’s home turf in Germany, where we drove the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT at the Hockenheim track. There, we found that the only substantive differences in overall character come courtesy of the transmission and suspension. As for the latter, the previous setup has been slightly stiffened by the adoption of Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT’s Adaptive Performance Suspension, and the car feels a bit tauter in each of the two settings. The seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox has been revised, too. In its Normal mode, it changes gears as smoothly as any of Mercedes’ torque-converter units. But select Sport or—even better—Sport Plus mode, and the gearchanges are lightning quick and the programming so in tune with driver needs that the manual mode is superfluous. (But we hope Mercedes never, ever removes manual control. We love holding gears to create glorious burbles and pops on demand.) The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT will automatically execute multiple downshifts when entering a corner, and it also blips the throttle on each one to prevent uncouth driveline behavior—and create righteous noises.Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT red interior

Inside, special Designo appointments are standard and available in one of eight colors, or one can spec the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Interior package at no cost. That bundle turns the interior sinister with black leather and faux suede upholstery, a red neutral mark on the steering wheel, glossy black interior trim, red seatbelts, red binding for the floor mats, and red contrast stitching on nearly every surface. There are options that cost money, of course, including onboard telemetry via the COMAND system for $2500, carbon-ceramic brakes for a cool $12,500, and carbon-fiber engine dressing for $5400. There’s a $6400 1000-watt sound system, but we can’t imagine why anyone would prefer to listen to any music other than that composed under the hood. Final base pricing has yet to be released, but we’re predicting a jump of about $10K to crest the $200,000 mark. So save your scratch.Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT black interior

Given that this isn’t a huge leap forward from the previous Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT, you can understand why Mercedes-Benz USA decided not to offer both cars here simultaneously. This is a very nice update, though, and one that manages to keep the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT feeling fresh and vital—and, yes, quite fast and sportyMercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT on the road

Click here to order your new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT rival with a new Mercedes Benz V8 engine for only US$29,000.

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