2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster Long-Term Road Test

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Loose Driver Seat

August 29, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

We've now driven our beloved Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster about 15,000 miles since December and a small problem has come up. Its driver seat has become a bit loose in its mounts. It isn't a big deal, but you can feel it when you're driving the car.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Bright Lights

August 21, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

Driving into the California sunset in our 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster is evocative, awe-inspiring, marvelous and to date one of the high points of my driving life. It is also really tough on my eyes. From the driver seat, the tiny sun visor in the SLS ends a few inches short of where it could be really useful.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: Supercar Monday

August 16, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

There are a lot of reasons I love L.A. This is one. On just some idle Monday on my way home in our 2012 Mercedes SLS, I happened upon this fine example. A Lamborghini Countach 5000 S.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Peanuts

August 7, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

This is, admittedly, folly. First, had I known the box would be that big, I'd have at least chosen the Dart. But the box arrived after I'd signed out the SLS for the evening and even then I thought, "should be OK."

It was, but just. That 18x16x14 box did just slot into the passenger space, seat fully extended. What's in the box? Glad you asked. Inside is a laundry sack worth of packing peanuts protecting two JBL monitor speakers in individual boxes.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: Supercar Lumbar

August 6, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

When you pay $240,000 for a supercar, it's reasonable to expect that it be pretty much free of fault. I do anyway, on the occasions when I spend $240,000 on a supercar. But the 2012 Mercedes SLS has some flaws, our well-documented fabric-top troubles among them. Then there are these lumbar/bolster controls, placed unhelpfully right next to and under the knee.

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2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Dash Misalignment

July 8, 2013

2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

Our former long-term Audi A8 had some cool pop-up tweeters in the dash, courtesy of Bang and Olufsen. Our Mercedes SLS AMG has similar tweeters, but they're not supposed to pop up. One did, anyway.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: San Francisco and Back in 32 Hours

June 10, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

"The FR-S has to go to the track, so you can't take it on your trip. The only car available is the SLS."

So read the e-mail, and I can't exactly say it's the most crushing news I've ever received. True, I did declare that the SLS wasn't the ideal road trip car for me, and my journey to San Francisco and back within 32 hours would be a significantly longer haul than the relatively paltry hop, skip and jump down to San Diego that inspired that declaration. But hey, when would I ever again be able to take such a journey in a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster? "Never" is most likely the answer, and away I went.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Playing Music Through the Aux Jack

May 14, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

Our 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG's audio system accepts digital music files through either a 30-pin iPod jack (iPhone 4 or earlier), or a standard headphone/aux jack. Technology marches on and many of us have been upgraded to iPhone 5 with its new and controversial Lightening connector. Lacking a proper Lightening-to-30-pin adapter, the reliable Aux jack saves the day. This has its advantages and its disadvantages.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Inconvenient Seat Bolster Controls

May 8, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

When my friend and fellow Edmunds co-worker Don got in to the passenger seat of our 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster, he was impressed. Not so impressed however, that he didn't complain. "My only problem is the controls for the seat, they stick you in the back of the leg," he said. To shut him up, I gave him a bit of loud-pedal-sponsored AMG soundtrack. An ear-to-ear grin quickly replaced his judgmental sneer, but I soon realized Don was painfully right.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Carbon Fiber Trim

May 6, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

Carbon fiber is one of my favorite materials and our 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster has just the right amount of it.

The carbon fiber on the SLS is used to accent the interior, line the engine bay and give things a more refined feel. Whereas full, unpainted body panels can come across as extravagant and tasteless on a high-end car (see: Koenigsegg CCX), Benz's sparing use of carbon fiber is handsome and elegant.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: Leather versus MBTex

April 23, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG comes standard with leather, so my point here is somewhat moot in relation to this Benz halo car. However, it does perfectly demonstrate my point. Despite our best efforts, there is seemingly no avoiding excess wear and tear of the leather on a low slung car's leather side bolsters. Yet, such wear and tear is inevitable on any car with leather seats. It'll just take longer in a car of more conventional height.

That's why I'd opt for MBTex if I were to buy a Mercedes-Benz. Yes, it's vinyl, but it'll look good as new years after leather has cracked and ripped. Plus, believe it or not, MBTex breathes better than the cow-sourced stuff. So says Mercedes' engineers, and so says myself after several hundred miles of driving GLK350s through hot, muggy western Virginia. Better still, it is extremely hard to tell the difference between MBTex and leather. We've had cars for a week before realizing it has the pleather. Mercedes even added contrasting piping to the GLK's real leather to create a clearer differentiation for 2013.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: But, Officer

April 16, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

No, I didn't get pulled over for going fast in our 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster. But I can understand why, say, sticking to the 40-mph speed limit on surface streets would be difficult for some people driving this car. Not only does its power come on smoothly but just look at that speedometer. Is it just me or does "40" look as if it's located in the usual "20" spot? Then again, 40 in this car looks and feels sooo slow.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Finer Interior Details

April 5, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

When you're spending almost a quarter million bucks on a car you want to appreciate its finer details. This AMG logo embossed into the leather on the car's shifter is one of those details.

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor @ 21,095 miles

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roaster: Broken Convertible Top

April 4, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roaster

Our 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster is thrilling, exquisitely trimmed and sticks out like Clifford the Big Red Dog. No matter where you drive the SLS, it gets serious amounts of attention. But when I arrived for lunch at Neptune's Net in Malibu (famous for its seafood and its cameo in The Fast and The Furious), something embarrassing happened.

With the convertible top down on Pacific Coast Highway, the 30 miles from our office in Santa Monica to Neptune's practically melted away. The exhaust on this fire-breathing-6.3-liter-V8 monster is so brutish and evocative that I didn't even bother with the stereo. As I parked for lunch, I pulled the lever for the convertible top only to be met by a loud clicking noise.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: Center Console Lid Jams Again

March 26, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

[The following is an edited rebroadcast of an instant messaging conversation between editor Brent Romans and fellow editor Mark Takahashi.]

Brent Romans: Remember how the Mercedes SLS center bin lid jammed on you last month?

Mark Takahashi: Of course. It happened to you?

BR: Yep. Although there's a funny story to it.

MT: Oh no...

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: Roadsters Rock When You're Five

March 25, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

Recently I realized that my five-year-old daughter had never experienced a convertible before. So I thought: why not start her off at the top with the long-term 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG?

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Top Down in Montana

March 20, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

We awoke the morning of day 3 to a blue sky, a warm sun and a thermometer reading 25 degrees Fahrenheit. We were in Rapid City, South Dakota, just a Black Hill or two from Mount Rushmore, and we were feeling brave. The top of our long-term Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster went down.

And it stayed down for nearly 400 miles as we blazed a trail from Rapid City to Billings, Montana. When we arrived at Billings and unloaded into the busiest Olive Garden on the face of the earth, we weren't frozen, we were sunburnt.

Impossible? I would have thought so too. But with the side windows up and the wind blocker in place and the heater cranking and the seat heaters on and the Mercedes Airscarf System huffing and puffing on the back of our necks we were downright toasty.

And it was on this stretch, just inside Montana, under the biggest blue sky anyone has ever seen with the SLS carving its way through Old Man Winter at speeds I would never admit to, that the greatness of this machine became absurdly clear.

I turned to John and yelled over the roar of the winter tires, and the hum of the Mercedes V8, and the howling of the wind, "Man, this is one of the best cars in the world."

Without even looking up from his iPad he responded with a poetic, "Duh."

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: Rear Wing Mechanicals

March 1, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

Disappointment isn't a word I'd use when describing our long-term SLS AMG. At least not in an overall sense. But that rear wing leaves just the slightest to be desired.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: Stuck Center Bin

February 25, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

That center armrest pictured above slides back to reveal some cupholders. Well, at least it's supposed to.

I was nearing the Edmunds HQ on my drive into the office and I went to fetch my parking card and sunglasses case from the bin. But that sliding armrest was having none of it. I pressed the button on the side to release the catch, but the darned thing wouldn't slide. Not even a little bit.

I tried pushing both buttons at the same time (on the driver and passenger side). Nothing.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: Showing Seat Wear

February 22, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

In my last SLS AMG post, I noted how it's not terribly easy to squeeze between the steering wheel and the aggressive seat bolsters. The photo above is proof. With only about 16,000 miles on the clock, that bolster is taking a beating.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: Entry and Egress

February 19, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

I'm pretty much average when it comes to build in terms of height and weight (5'10" and around 165 lbs.). Despite this, I have a tough time getting in and out of our long-term SLS AMG Roadster.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Too Small Cupholder

February 8, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

So I'm into juice bars. Not very surprising for an Angeleno, I know, but seems like it can be a problem when driving our 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster. Simply for the fact that a medium size juice doesn't fit all that well in the car's cupholder thanks to that protruding piece of center console in front of the cupholder. When I wedge the cup into the holder, that piece pushes the lid off.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Bang & Olufsen Illuminated Tweeters

February 6, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

Our long-term 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster is an expensive car. At least you have something to show for it.

Behold LED-illuminated tweeters. I kid you not.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Seat Adjustment for Short People

February 5, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

I'm 5'6" and I'm just barely tall enough to drive our 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster. Its power seat adjustment only allows me to slide it forward to the point where I have to stretch a bit to push the brake pedal down all the way. Fortunately, I can adjust the lumbar to push me forward just a bit, too, and then it's fine.

But, it makes me wonder how rich people shorter than 5'4" deal with the SLS's limited seat adjustment.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Winter Top-Down Driving

February 1, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

L.A. has been suffering a cold spell lately. I think the rest of the country calls it winter. So even though it was 50 degrees and sunny, I just had to put the top of our 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster down. It was Friday and I felt like driving the long way in to work. No freeway. This uber-luxurious car inspires that sort of crazy behavior. The concerns of tangling up my long hair or it being too cold were quickly silenced during the drive.

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2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Operating Temperature

January 25, 2013

2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

This is neat. The instrument cluster in our long-term 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster has a readout that displays gearbox, engine oil and coolant temperatures. That's nothing unusual, but this is: when any one of those temperatures is below normal operating conditions, the digits flash. Independently. It's a simple way to remind you that, hey, dummy, it's still too soon to start beating on the car.

In the photo above, neither the engine oil temp nor the gearbox temp is up to operating temperature (I caught them mid-flash). This was the result after a gentle three-mile drive (starting stone cold) at city speeds (lots of stop and go) on a dry day in the mid/high 70 degrees F.

I know what you're going to ask. At what temperatures did they stop flashing / reach normal operating temperature? For engine oil it was 175 degrees F. Gearbox was 140 degrees F.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: Seat Could Be Better

January 24, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

At first I thought the driver seat in our long-term 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster was pretty decent. It has good adjustable side bolstering, heat, nice leather. After a half hour, I needed out.

It's the lower back support. Rather, the lack of lower back support. The problem seems to be related to the inflatable lumbar. Not only is the lumbar balloon in the middle of your back when inflated (the sitting-in-a-pregnant-lady's-lap sensation) when it needs to be much lower, it provides no discernible support when deflated, instead turning into flaccid mush.

When the seats in a sub-$25,000 car are better than those in a car nearly ten times the price, somebody's done something wrong.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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