2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Review

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Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
June 26, 2011
The new SLS AMG is the retro-themed successor to the original 1950s-era Mercedes 300SL Gullwing. But if you're cruising around in one, you won't have to explain that to most bystanders. Thanks to its opening-upward doors, it's recognized as "the new Gullwing," not only by those who had walls of car posters and boxes of buff-book back issues, but by nearly everyone.

Under the broad hood of the 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is a strong AMG 6.2-liter V-8, making 563 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. It's hooked up to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and drives the rear wheels. Huge carbon-ceramic brakes provide adequate stopping power for track use, and stability electronics reel it in if you so desire—and on all but the most familiar tracks, you'll want its cushion. That said, the SLS AMG is brilliant when pushed hard, yet still docile enough around town—and, surprisingly comfortable cruising at 70 mph on the Interstate if you can have such restraint.

It's a little tight inside, but the interior feels cozy and luxurious once you're in the driver's seat. There's very little cargo space, though—not even enough for most summer weekend trips. While there are familiar trim bits and switchgear pieces all around, the overall feel of the cabin is quite different than any other Mercedes product. Its raucous, rippling exhaust note is quite different than anything else in the Mercedes line, too.

One down side, other than the tight interior, is that the gullwing doors, while they might gather crowds every time you park, aren't always that convenient. To that, this next model year, a 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster will debut—offering open-air driving, but unfortunately without the standard SLS's gullwing doors.

Review continues below

There were a few 2010 models of the SLS shipped, but SLS carries over to the 2011 model year for more deliveries of this exclusive vehicle. For more, see our full review of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.

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