SLS AMG Another Mercedes Death Car?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

You may remember Mercedes’ last attempt at a “price no object” supercar: the Mercedes McLaren SLR. It was a thundering achievement, but the big Merc’s brakes were as touchy as an seventy-year-old Argentinian security officer at a Truth and Reconciliation hearing. That’s a guardrail of not good. There were other “issues”: leg room, trunk space (or a complete lack thereof), steering feel, road noise, autobox only and the fact that Paris Hilton owned one. Truth be told, the SLR was compromised from the git-go; McLaren designers were hamstrung by the car’s front mid-engined layout. The project left a bitter taste in both companies’ metaphorical mouths. McLaren went its own way and built its own supercar (whose American debut has been delayed). Mercedes took a clean sheet of paper to their in-house tuning wizards, AMG. For some unfathomable reason, TTAC wasn’t invited to the press event to drive the SLS AMG. But we can read. And when Car and Driver complains about a car’s handling, you know there’s trouble in fluss stadt.

The SLS has plenty of grip from its fat Continental tires (265/35-19 front, 295/30-20 rear), the speed-sensitive, variable-assist power steering delivers feel and accuracy that approaches perfection, the brakes are formidable, and, of course, there’s no shortage of power. But for all that, there was sliding about that came on with little or no warning. This chassis is exceptional, but for some reason it wasn’t telling us everything we needed to know about its limits.

We hasten to add that these little episodes of slippin’ and slidin’ weren’t remotely fraught with peril or even excessive drama. Still, they did add seconds to our lap times. And the responses of the transmission in pure manual mode seemed a little slow compared to other dual-clutch units we’ve encountered. Perhaps more track time would improve our performance, and thus our reaction to the SLS as a track-day ride? We’re happy to volunteer.

If there’s a better example of Car and Driver‘s mealy-mouthed craven capitulation to advertiser sensibilities, I’m sure it’s easy enough to find (open the magazine for a start). And if SLS drivers don’t care about their car’s on the limit handling, perhaps they should. Note: the original Gullwing had a nasty reputation for on-the-limit instability. What goes around . . . ?

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Cwmoo740 Cwmoo740 on Nov 07, 2009

    Edmunds seems to like it, and that's good enough for me. Edmunds Inside Line mentioned that they were using the racing TC setting for all their laps, and that it was pretty lenient with the throttle oversteer. Maybe C&D is just too used to having TC save their ass and needs some more sensitivity training.

  • Accs Accs on Nov 07, 2009

    Maybe Im getting old.. Maybe Im losing "faith" in all things MB being fantastic.. But this.. just doesnt strike me as a vehicle I even want a picture or a 1/18 diecast of.. Looks as boring as a E Class, with more nanny features than any one person should have. The car's design is a retro one.. where the doors are where the design as started. Just like the current Camaro.. What is going to be more valuable in 2050.. a 2010 model or a 1967? On top of.. Im sure every trampy, coked up celeb, who really has no actual driving ability (and normally drives a Slade / GL) will love this.. for the fact of just "buying" errr leasing it.

  • Socrates77 They're pinching pennies for the investors like always, greed has turned GM into a joke of an old corporate American greed.
  • Analoggrotto looking at this takes me right back to the year when “CD-ROM” first entered public lexicon
  • Alan My comment just went into the cloud.I do believe its up to the workers and I also see some simplistic comments against unionisation. Most of these are driven by fear and insecurity, an atypical conservative trait.The US for a so called modern and wealthy country has poor industrial relation practices with little protection for the worker, so maybe unionisation will advance the US to a genuine modern nation that looks after its workers well being, standard of living, health and education.Determining pay is measured using skill level, training level and risk associated with the job. So, you can have a low skilled job with high risk and receive a good pay, or have a job with lots of training and the pay is so-so.Another issue is viability of a business. If you have a hot dog stall and want $5 a dog and people only want to pay $4 you will go broke. This is why imported vehicles are important so people can buy more affordable appliances to drive to and from work.Setting up a union is easier than setting up work conditions and pay.
  • El scotto I can get the speedometer from dad's 72 Ford truck back. I can't get dad back.
  • El scotto BAH! No dividers in the trunk for bags of onions or hooks for hanging sardines! Hard Pass.