May 17, 2013
It was a beautiful weekend for a convertible and as luck would have it, I had the key to our 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster. Here you'll see it receiving a well-earned bath for its unfailing service.
Click through for a few impressions and photos from lovely Big Sur.
May 16, 2013
While driving our beloved 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG with the top up, I noticed a really annoying buzz/rattle over my left shoulder that sounds like a piece of plastic vibrating freely around. I could reach up and vaguely support something and make the buzz stop.
May 15, 2013
At $6.899 per gallon, the price of gasoline in Gorda, California illustrates what it might cost to fill the tank of our 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG if we lived in Europe. Ouch.
May 14, 2013
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.
May 9, 2013
When our list of cars made its way to me for the weekend and the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster was still available, I was ecstatic. For a spring trip to Palm Springs I couldn't think of a better car. I expected to get plenty of attention in the flashy convertible, that's normal. But in affluent areas like Santa Monica and Palm Springs, I got a very specific kind of attention.
May 6, 2013
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.
May 3, 2013
When it comes to traversing a barren desert planet in style, nothing can beat the Mercedes-Benz S-LandSpeeder AMG.
April 30, 2013
There's only one time when it's not a good idea to drive with our 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster's top down during a gorgeous, sunny day: When you're sitting in standstill traffic on the freeway with no hope of exiting any time soon. What's funny is that I had considered putting the top down when I first jumped in the driver seat. It's a beautiful, balmy Friday afternoon, why not? And I love hearing the thrum of the engine, the burble from the exhaust.
April 26, 2013
Unless you're parking the SLS next to a big mirror-tinted window, there's no way to judge the limits of the nose without using the parking sensors. And it's a good thing those parking sensors are as accurate as they are.
April 24, 2013
I adore the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. I adore it so much, there's a scale model of one sitting on my desk here at Edmunds alongside a Z8 and 22 other model cars of various sizes. OK, so I have a toy-collecting problem, but that's not the point here.
After a weekend spent in the SLS Roadster, including a brief road trip down to San Diego, I came to the realization that despite my adoration for the SLS, I most definitely wouldn't get the Roadster. For one, I would never lower the top enough to warrant it. Second, there's less headroom than in the Gullwing and at 6-foot-3, my hair annoyingly grazes the fabric roof. Third, no convertible can avoid the rattles and creaks associated with a removable roof. Fourth, visibility is even worse and it can feel quite claustrophobic in the cabin with the roof up.
April 19, 2013
Our 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster is a bright, red, shouty, quarter-million-dollar convertible supercar that wants me to go fast. It wants me to turn off the traction control, engage the AMG-powered hyper drive, and bury my foot in the go-pedal, lighting up the tires at every stop light.
April 17, 2013
So I go to meet a friend for lunch in downtown L.A. He only gets a glimpse of the SLS and I drive by while trying to find a parking space. When I sit down to eat he asks what kind of Mercedes I was driving as he didn't recognize the car at all.
I told him it was called the SLS, and yet it still didn't register. I've got a feeling that if I had been driving a coupe and told him it was the "gullwing" Mercedes he might have had a better idea which car I was talking about.
April 16, 2013
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.
April 11, 2013
By now we all know that a couple of little cables let go on the convertible top mechanism and we had them repaired at no cost. That was a first. It just so happened that when I went to pick it up, there was a slight problem: Dead battery, but this was not a first.
April 5, 2013
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
April 4, 2013
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.
April 3, 2013
On a recent Sunday evening, I didn't have much to do. No dishes to wash, no kids to deal with. I could have sat around, loaded up a bowl of popcorn and watched basketball. But then I realized: It's really nice outside. The sun is setting. And I have a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG in my garage.
April 1, 2013
It's happened again. I've signed up for a car in advance only find it broken and/or damaged on the day I plan to begin driving it. Hey, at least this time there are some hard parts to accompany the note.
March 25, 2013
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?
March 18, 2013
A few weeks ago my good friend John Pearley Huffman and I drove our long-term 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster from our Santa Monica, California office to South Dakota and back. And I'm very happy to report that our buttocks lived to tell the tale.
March 14, 2012
So there you are watching The Tudors reruns on your couch when the doorbell to your house rings. You open the front door and realize it's your uncle Joe. You haven't seen him for 10 years. Last you heard he was working in "waste management."
But here he is. He's wearing a white suit and a couple days' worth of stubble. Behind him is a red 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG convertible. He dangles out the SLS key to you. "It's yours for one hour. Always told my mom I'd do something for you. Then I've got to split. Going to Mexico." He steps into your house, grabs a beer from your fridge, then starts talking in Spanish in his cell phone. You're still a bit stunned. Then he looks back at you and says, "Well? Time's wasting."
And with that, the SLS is yours. This is what you'd do. (Hey, it could happen, right?)
March 13, 2013
Somehow the universe aligned. Several editors had gone to Geneva for the auto show and the SLS AMG sat lonely on the list, calling to me (not entirely true: I had to arm-wrestle Mike Schmidt for it, a formidable opponent). Good timing too, as the next day was my father's birthday and I'd planned to meet the old man for lunch. I didn't expect to meet him in a $243,000 roadster, but fortune smiled.
Dad considers himself a bit of a Benz man these days, smitten as he is with his six-year-old SLK 280. I haven't had the heart to tell him that most auto-snobs snicker at the little convertible as an executive secretary's special. But I doubt he'd care. Dad used to wear white bucks to high school and sometimes a bowtie to his plain-clothes assignments for the police department. He's not a man easily swayed by the whimsies of the cool kids. The SLK is also something of a salve, a car to soothe the memory of a 911 SC sold in a moment of haste when he was a much younger man.
To fully exploit the theme, we decided to hit up the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Irvine after lunch.
March 7, 2013
Our long-term SLS turned over 20,000 this past weekend, just after coming down the hill of Newport Coast Drive, past Vanessa Bryant's $3 million near-divorce concession prize estate, onto Pacific Coast Highway north of Laguna Beach just in front of The Beachcomber's Shake Shack.
March 5, 2013
Went to take our long-term 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster to the office the other day, and...surprise! Can't leave my driveway, thanks to the apparently brain-dead owner of this red Mazda 2.
March 5, 2013
Ed might not have a problem with the brake pedal action in our long-term 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster, but I do.
March 1, 2013
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.
February 28, 2013
I popped the trunk on our long-term 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster and found this little spring-loaded cap. Do you know what it is? After flipping the cover open, I thought it might be some sort of data-transmission port, but I was wrong. Click through to find out.
February 27, 2013
Can you identify this part of our 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster? Is it worn, fragile, or ready to shatter?
Click through to see if it's ready to "brake."
February 25, 2013
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.
February 20, 2013
I've decided to drive our 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster from our Santa Monica, California office to Mount Rushmore in southwest South Dakota. And back of course.
February 18, 2013
Most cars, regardless of how expensive or exclusive, use some sort of glow-in-the-dark flimsy plastic handle for the internal trunk release. Not our long-term SLS AMG. Nope. It's got some fancy green button that pulses on and off.
February 15, 2013
Our winter tires have arrived and our 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster is one step closer to Mount Rushmore.
Yes, Mount Rushmore. Yes, the one in South Dakota. Don't ask me why.
February 15, 2013
A good exhaust note thrills me. Prior to the SLS showing up, the Boss 302 Mustang (red key, of course) and my sportbike (Yamaha R1 with carbon fiber Yoshimura pipes, arrgh, argh, argh) were my favorites.
February 13, 2013
Carbon ceramic brake rotors might seem like a great idea on an ultra-high performance car like the SLS. They look cool, resist fade and are lighter than cast iron rotors.
Problem is, they often feel terrible on the street. Can't blame them, really, as they're really designed for high speed driving, not going to the grocery store.
February 12, 2013
I'm aching to road trip this car. And I will. But driving it around the warmth of the southwest just doesn't feel adventurous enough. I'm aching to take this drop-top supercar out of its element. Out of its natural environment. Out of sunny southern California.
February 11, 2012
This is the mark of a true AMG model. It's the engine plaque that is "signed" by the man responsible for building it. Since every AMG engine is hand built by one person, it's a legitimate register of who secured every nut and bolt on the engine.
February 8, 2013
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.
February 4, 2013
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
February 1, 2013
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.
January 29, 2013
Sorry for missing the ball on this one, I try to nail our milestone shots at the exact moment. This one, however, snuck up on me.
Partially because driving our 2012 SLS AMG Roadster is addictive and the wind and noise make everything else irrelevant. But really, I simply wasn't expecting to hit 15,000 miles so soon.
I blame the fact that the car showed up with 14,025 on the clock.
Mike Magrath, Features Editor @ 15,020 miles
January 26, 2013
You'd figure that the valet guys at a schmancy Beverly Hills hotel like the Peninsula would have seen their share of expensive cars. But last night when I drove up in our red 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, their eyes were as wide as saucers.
I still wasn't sure I was in the possession of something special til my passenger pointed out to me as we were walking away from the car that two of the valet guys were going around it with flashlights, apparently checking for preexisting dings and dents. I've never seen that before! "I wonder if they do that to all the expensive cars," my friend asked. "I'm sure they do that to every car here," I replied. But sure enough, the Fiat 500 and Prius that pulled in after us didn't get any such treatment.
January 25, 2013
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
Back to All Long-Term Vehicles
January 24, 2013
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
January 23, 2013
There is no better normally aspirated V8 in production today than the 6.2-liter M159 V8 in our long-term 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster. Forget the LS7. Never mind the Coyote. Disregard the BMW S65. Even if they could match the sheer might of this engine — which they don't — none of them come even close to the depleted-uranium-warhead-in-an-alcantara-gauntlet-ness of the M159. It is in a class of one.
What's remarkable is that this is AMG's first-ever production engine family. It started as the M156 for duty in dang near everything with an AMG badge on it, and then received a few enhancements and a bigger number (M159) when plopped into the SLS. Okay, AMG knows their way around an engine, but their earlier work was essentially hot-rodding. It's not quite the same as designing from scratch.
In any case, the M159 makes piloting the SLS a freakin' blast and, frankly, has much to do with making the car special to drive. There's so much torque on tap, and the soundtrack is just intoxicating. I've said it before, I'll say it again: With this engine, the Germans have out-America'd America.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor
January 21, 2013
While my esteemed colleagues were living it up in idyllic Detroit, the cars available to me back at Edmunds HQ were decidedly inspiring. For two days each, I snagged an Aston Martin Vanquish and our long-term SLS Roadster (I prefer the SLS, by the way).
Even though the weather in L.A. was unusually cold, I dropped the Benz' top at every chance. And it drops/deploys quickly. Ten seconds is all it takes to start enjoying the raspy exhaust note and the wind in your hair. And it only takes a lift or push on the silver lever shown above.
I don't know what the quickest convertible top is, but it wouldn't surprise me if the SLS is it.
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 15,080 miles
January 18, 2013
First off, I love our new SLS Roadster. Love, love, love it. I'll get into why in another post, but before I do, something I don't like: the lack of rear visibility. When you're driving a bonkers car like the SLS, you really want to know if a car behind you has a red and blue light bar on the roof.
With the top up, you can barely tell if it's a car or SUV behind you. Dropping the top doesn't help matters much. But I still consider this a small price to pay for an otherwise extraordinary car.
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 14,805 miles
January 17, 2013
My new all-time favorite long-termer has already hit its first milestone! Alright, fine, I know that when it was delivered to us, it already had 14,000 miles on the ticker. I'm assuming this is going to be a very popular car among the staff, so I'm pretty confident we can hit the 34,000-mile mark in six months. Heck, as much as I love this car, I'd volunteer to put all of those miles on it myself!
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 15,000 miles
January 15, 2013
A bunch of college kids standing on the sidewalk holler and hoot as we swoop by them. The patrol officer at the wheel of a Los Angeles PD black-and-white nearly snaps his neck with a double take. When we're stopped at a light, the driver of a nice Audi A6 rolls down his window and says, "I just have to ask. What does something like that cost?" The answer, more than $240,000, prompts a low, appreciative whistle. "No wonder I like it so much," he says.
If you don't want to be noticed, don't go out in a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG convertible. Particularly not one in Le Mans Red, on a nice day along Pacific Coast Highway, with the top down. People stare. Ferraris want to race. Birds line up in formation behind you. OK, maybe that didn't actually happen, but it certainly feels like it could have. The chassis might be aluminum, but trust me, this car is magnetic.
Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @14,790 miles