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

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: Longer, Lower, Wider

August 12, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

Seems like the 2012 Mercedes Benz SLS has taken the "long hood, short deck" school of design to the extreme. That proud hood takes up half the length of the car and it certainly looks really cool, but it makes pulling into tight parking spots tricky. Thankfully the SLS comes with front (and rear) parking sensors to ease the task. Besides, I'll usually back into a spot if possible as it makes leaving much easier. The long hood has a purpose, as it allows the big engine to be set far enough back in the chassis to avoid having a nose-heavy weight distribution. At 47% front and 53% rear, there's even a little rearward bias, part of the reason the SLS turns into corners so eagerly.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Life-Saving Brakes

July 11, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

In high school, I watched a video in Driver Ed class that I'm sure most of you have seen. All the clothes were at least 15 years out of date and I mostly remember making fun of bad acting with my classmates. This weekend while driving our 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster, I remembered a very specific scene from the video.

A ball bounces out into the street, and naturally, a child runs after it without looking. They were probably trying to teach us a lesson that involved staying alert and obeying speed limits in neighborhoods. Apparently, it worked.

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2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: It's Practical

July 5, 2013

2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

I've lucked into our long-term 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG roadster several times over the last month, when every other car in our fleet had been signed out. I imagine the other editors passed on driving the two-seater because they needed "more practical" options.

Perhaps the SLS is up for grabs because it's hard to park, or because entry and exit from the seats aren't the most graceful activities. Maybe it's because most of them have families to ferry around or teak lumber to bring home, while I'm sans kids and without any cool construction projects. For me, our 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster is extremely sensible.

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2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Convertible: V8 Alarm Clock

June 13, 2013

2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Convertible

Rise and shine, neighbors. It's 5:15 a.m. and I'm headed to work.

Sorry, but I can't crank this 6.2-liter V8 over any quieter. That throttle blip is built into the starting sequence.

What's that you say?

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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: Shut Up, Kurt

May 20, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

The SLS is available. No. Yes. It seems a shame to just drive it home. Is it safe in my garage? But it's red. And it's a convertible. I don't really like convertibles. It's a little gaudy, too. This really isn't my kind of car.

Shut up, Kurt.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Turning Radius

May 7, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

Our 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is big. It's over fifteen feet long and more than six feet wide. That's six inches longer than an Audi R8 and eight inches longer than our Porsche 911. It's got big wheels too: 19 inches in the front and 20s in the rear. Before I drove it, I was sure that a low-slung exotic like the SLS AMG would be hard to park and completely unable to turn around. But after a few days in the SLS, I've been presently surprised.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Snow Donuts Video

March 22, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

Yabba dabba doo and all that. But this photo, taken somewhere between Rapid City, South Dakota and Mount Rushmore, only tells half the story. You see I had just gotten the SLS stuck in that thick white stuff trying to get this photo. It was embarrassing. And it was pure luck that the muscle of a local and burly John Pearley could push the big Benz free.

It was the only time over the 3,000-mile trip that the combination of the Pirelli winter tires and the Mercedes' state-of-the-art traction control system failed us.

Still, it's only half the story. The other half, the fun half, was captured on video. Check it out on the next page.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Road Trip Fuel Mileage

March 21, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

In just 51 hours and 11 minutes spread over five days, we drove our long-term 2012 Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster from Santa Monica to Mount Rushmore and back. And we averaged 18.5 mpg doing it. The EPA rates the SLS at 20 mpg on the highway.

As you can see we used the car's trip computer to do the math for us. We covered 3,197 miles and averaged 62 mpg.

Not a bad pace or fuel economy considering the weather we drove through and our many stops for photography.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: Yours for One Hour

March 14, 2012

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

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?)

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Brake Feel Second Opinion

March 5, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

Ed might not have a problem with the brake pedal action in our long-term 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster, but I do.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: What is This?

February 27, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

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."

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Winter Tires Have Arrived

February 15, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

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.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: Exhaust Note

February 15, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

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.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Carbon Brakes Feel Just Fine

February 13, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

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.

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2012 Mercedes Benz SLS AMG Roadster vs 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT

February 12, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

A few weeks ago, we track tested our 563-Horsepower 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster and, surprise, it was fast.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Winter Tires

February 12, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

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.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: One Reason AMG Cars Are Special

February 11, 2012

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

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.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Track Test

February 7, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

We track-tested our 563-Horsepower 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster. Spoiler alert: It's fast.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor @ 14,424 miles

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Go Fast Tire Pressure

January 28, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

Last week we explored the myriad tire pressure settings of our 2013 Porsche 911 Cabriolet.

Curious as to whether or not our high-powered Mercedes had a similar tire-pressure issue, I dove into the owner's manual to find out.

The answer? Yes. And no.

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2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster: Best V8 In The World

January 23, 2013

2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

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

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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Convertible: No Incognito

January 15, 2013

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Convertible

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

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