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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
Safety equipment stuffs the SLS' gullwing body to the max, but we'll probably never know how well it would score in a crash test. Neither NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) nor the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) have tested it and likely never will, due to its price and exclusivity.
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG's safety gear includes six airbags, as well as stability and traction control. The stability system has three modes: full, Sport with some wheelspin, and "off," which experts can turn off at their own risk. "You can dial those things out of the SLS entirely if you want, along with most of the stability control, but do you want to?" MotorAuthority asks. "It's a bit easy to get into the throttle too hard and break the rear tires loose and get into oversteer, even with the stability control in the intermediate Sport mode," Edmunds reports. The stability control never really goes away entirely, Jalopnik explains: "While you can push enough buttons to make it say 'ESP-OFF', that doesn't fully shut down the system, with it still moderating acceleration-related wheelspin and re-engaging automatically the second you tap the brakes."
Visibility is a major issue in the SLS in reverse gear-there's a rearview camera to help-but to the other angles, it's no problem. "Provided the pop-up spoiler is down, visibility out back is good," Motor Trend states, "though it's also difficult to judge where it ends. As you discover, it's about a yard shorter than expected."
Minus official crash results, the 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLS' safety equipment and brand reputation earn it a strong preliminary safety score.