2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Roadster Track Test

Do Small Changes Add up to a Big Difference?


  • 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Roadster - Group Picture

    2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Roadster - Group Picture

    An impromptu meeting of the greats. Can you spot the differences? | February 12, 2013

18 Photos

Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Edmunds Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG led a spectacular, but brief life. Introduced in 2011, the gullwinged supercar had the looks, the stance and, with its 563-horsepower naturally aspirated V8, the power to back up those good looks.

But that wasn't enough. Not these days. For this year, Mercedes has ditched the SLS AMG in favor of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT.

While not exactly righting wrongs, the 2013 SLS AMG GT brings a host of improvements including a reprogrammed seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that promises better drivability and shorter shift times. There are also new suspension upgrades that offer a firmer, more controlled ride and in our test car, Continental ContiSportContacts are replaced by über-sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sports in exactly the same size. Finally, the 6.2-liter V8 in the GT has been massaged to produce an additional 20 hp for a final output of 583 hp and 479 pound-feet of torque.

Along with the mechanical upgrades, both the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Coupe and Roadster got a window-sticker upgrade. The SLS AMG GT Coupe now starts at $199,500 (plus $905 destination fee), while this SLS AMG GT Roadster trips right over the $200,000 mark and starts at $206,000. This is about $10,000 more in both cases.

It's been said that a difference, to be a difference, must make a difference. There's certainly a difference in ride quality as we experienced on our first drive of the 2013 SLS AMG GT Coupe, but is there a commensurate difference in performance over, say, our Long-Term 2012 SLS AMG Roadster? We took it to the track to find out.

Vehicle:
Odometer: 4,130
Date: 02/12/2013
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $233,855 (as tested)

Specifications:
Drive Type: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Seven-speed auto-clutch manual
Engine Type: Naturally aspirated V8
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 6,208/379
Redline (rpm): 7,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 583 @ 6,800
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 479 @ 4,750
Brake Type (front): 15.4-inch ventilated discs with six-piston fixed calipers
Brake Type (rear): 14.2-inch ventilated discs with four-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front): Double wishbone, driver-adjustable coil-over shock, stabilizer bar (Related: 2011 SLS AMG Coupe Suspension Walkaround)
Suspension Type (rear): Double wishbone, driver-adjustable coil-over shock, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 265/35ZR19 (98Y)
Tire Size (rear): 295/30ZR20 (101Y)
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Pilot Super Sport
Tire Type: Asymmetrical summer performance
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,883 (The 2013 SLS AMG GT Roadster weighs a full 50 pounds more than our Long-Term 2012 SLS AMG Roadster. This weight difference is attributed to our 2012 having the optional carbon-ceramic brakes, which are 40 percent lighter than the stock brakes.)

Test Results:

Acceleration
0-30 (sec): 1.9 (2.3 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 2.9 (3.4 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 4.0 (4.5 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 3.6 (4.2 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 5.3 (5.9 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 11.8 @ 121.5 (12.2 @ 122.1 w/ TC on)

Braking
30-0 (ft): 28
60-0 (ft): 113

Handling
Slalom (mph): 68.8 (67.3 w/TC on)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.99 (0.97 w/ TC off)

Db @ Idle: 54.8
Db @ Full Throttle: 87.5
Db @ 70-mph Cruise: 69.3

RPM @ 70: 2,300

Comments:

Acceleration: Same routine as before: from RS (Race Start), to S+ (Sport Plus) traction control on, then finally, S+ traction control off. RS was far too generous with wheelspin and was the slowest of the three modes. Best run was again, all-off in S+ mode with judicious "threshold-acceleration." I think part of the reason RS was so much slower this time (+0.4 second) had to do with the Michelin Pilot Super Sport rear tire pressures set to spec at 42 psi where the previous SLS wore ContiSport Contact SP tires set to 35 psi. Still, I can't vouch for the supposed 20-hp increase in the SLS GT, as the trap speeds were essentially the same as well, and that's where horsepower always shows up.

Braking: With only firm and hard from which to choose, I chose firm and witnessed distances fall from the first to seventh (and shortest) stop, indicating the tires weren't up to temp when we started. The car has a firm pedal and absolutely zero fade. Predictably shallow jump-in and millimeter-precise modulation, but not the same pedal-pressure progression as our SLS with its carbon-ceramic rotors. Even so, we expected shorter stops.

Handling:

Skid pad: I didn't detect ESC Sport dragging a brake this time. It felt much freer than in our SLS, but full ESC on would take throttle away as the car began to slide at all. Still, it provides very high grip before anything feels like it's being limited.

Slalom: As with our SLS before, this SLS GT cannot be trusted until its tires are up to temp. On-throttle or off-throttle, it wants to oversteer, so you need to be "ahead" of this car at all times. There simply isn't enough time to witness/react. Good thing steering response is super sharp. And given that the softest suspension mode available is as firm as anybody could live with, there is virtually no lean, and it only reacted mildly to the dip at cone #3. Once my confidence with the car increased, I could feel the ESC Sport mode allow the rear of the car to slide controllably past each cone and steal the throttle away at the exit. Other than that, ESC Sport is pretty permissive.

  2013 Mercedes SLS AMG GT Roadster 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster
Curb weight as tested: 3,883 3,830
     
0-30 (sec.): 1.9 1.9
0-45 (sec.): 2.9 2.9
0-60 (sec.): 4.0 4.0
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec.): 3.6 3.6
0-75 (sec.): 5.3 5.4
1/4-mile (sec @ mph): 11.8 @ 121.5 11.7 @ 122.3
     
30-0 (ft): 28 27
60-0 (ft): 113 106
     
Skid Pad Lateral Accel (g): 0.99 0.95
Slalom: 68.8 68.6

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster Track Test

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.

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