Track Tested: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
Edmunds.com tests hundreds of vehicles a year, but not every vehicle gets a full write-up. The numbers still tell a story, though, so we present "Track Tested." It's a quick rundown of all the data we collected at the track, along with comments direct from the test-drivers. Enjoy.
As luxury sports cars go, you're not going to find one that turns more heads or elicits more pointing fingers right now than the new 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. And it's about more than just its gullwing doors.
This six-figure trophy car also features an all-aluminum spaceframe, a normally aspirated, dry-sump V8 with over 560-horsepower, seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with launch control, an aluminum double-wishbone suspension and two-piece brake rotors.
That's just the short list, and anyone who thinks this is just a warmed-over SL with fancy doors is dead wrong. It's more than just unique styling and high-priced parts. This AMG can run with the fastest of today's exotics. We wanted to find out just how well it would keep up, so we took it to our test track and ran the numbers. Does all that technology add up to a real sports car? See for yourself after the jump.
Vehicle: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
Driver: Chris Walton
Drive Type: Rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: 7-speed auto clutch manual
Engine Type: V8
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 6,208/379
Redline (rpm): 7,200
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 563 @ 6,800
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 479 @ 4,750
Brake Type (front): Ventilated disc
Brake Type (rear): Ventilated disc
Steering System: Speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): Double wishbone, coil springs
Suspension Type (rear): Double wishbone, coil springs
Tire Size (front): 265/35ZR19
Tire Size (rear): 295/30ZR20
Tire Brand: Continental
Tire Model: ContiSport Contact
Tire Type: Summer performance
Wheel Size: 19 x 9.5 front, 20 x 11 rear
Wheel Material (front/rear): alloy
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,787
0 - 30 (sec): 1.7
0 - 45 (sec): 2.6
0 - 60 (sec): 3.8
0 - 75 (sec): 5.2
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 11.6 @ 122.7
0 - 60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 3.5
30 - 0 (ft): 25
60 - 0 (ft): 98
Braking Rating: Excellent
Slalom (mph): 67.8
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.96
Handling Rating: Very Good
Db @ Idle: 54
Db @ Full Throttle: 89.9
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 67
Acceleration Comments: Even with the transmission in Drive, the SLS is deceptively quick and obviously FAST. Speed comes on gradually, then piles on endlessly. With "race start" selected the car rolls slightly off the line, allows slight wheelspin and cuts three-tenths off the 0-to-60-mph time and almost as much off the quarter-mile. Upshifts in race start mode are very quick but not harsh at all. Manual mode offers shift lights, but proved slower. Wheelspin with ESC off was virtually impossible, much to the chagrin of our editor in chief.
Braking Comments: Immediate bite and crazy effectiveness. Flat, short, consistent, straight. Pedal effort remained moderate to high, but not brutal.
Handling Comments: Slalom: This is a tough car to slalom. It's obviously tuned to drive from the rear and you must enter slow and gradually squeeze the throttle to keep the rear planted. Otherwise, it gets loose and I catch it, but I find myself late at the next cone. With ESC Sport, however, the car feels reined in and electronically limited (mostly with a closed throttle). The result is you can't steer it with the gas pedal. Skid pad: With ESC off, understeer sets in. Lifting the throttle diminishes it, but the car doesn't rotate as a result. With ESC Sport, the understeer goes away and I could feel the rear stepping out slightly all the way around. Funny thing is, I couldn't detect or feel any brake application. Steering is delicate and informative. Excellent weighting and response.