Premium 1 Package ($2,590 -- includes iPod/MP3 media interface; AirScarf neck-level heating system; Sirius Satellite Radio; Harman Kardon premium sound system; heated seats; IR remote roof automation); Sport Package ($2,500 -- sport body styling includes front airdam with mesh intakes, sculpted side skirts and rear valance, 18-inch AMG five-spoke wheels, direct ambient lighting in Solar Red, Sport Package code); Multimedia Package ($2,150 -- includes COMAND system with 80GB hard drive navigation and 7-inch LCD screen with 3-D map views, enhanced voice control system, 10GB music register, six-disc DVD changer, Gracenote album information including cover art and SD memory card slot); Lighting Package ($1,090 -- includes headlamp cleaning system, bi-xenon headlamps with Active Curve Illumination); Dual-Zone Climate Control ($760); Black ($630); Panorama Roof ($500 -- includes panorama roof with fixed tinted glass)
Naturally aspirated, direct-injected V6, gasoline
DOHC, four valves per cylinder, variable intake + exhaust-valve timing
Good punch right off the line, no hesitation: the throttle is so abrupt it jerks your head back . Oddly, it was difficult to match the first run when stability control was on, the transmission was in Economy mode vs. Sport or Manual. Power braking did little to help. Manual shifting is via paddles or console-mounted shifter. Blips on downshifts. Shifts at 6,800 regardless of tranny mode.
Perfectly controlled panic braking and very firm pedal with short travel. Exrtemely reassuring and incredibly short, consistent stops. No fade.
Skid pad: Very controllable. Chassis is willing to let you play with the throttle to adjust the line and control understeer. Unfortunately, the throttle calibration makes it easy to overshoot desired throttle input. ESC hardly perceptible here when "on." Slalom: Nimble car for its weight. Narrow and low to the ground. Steering is quick but lacks feel. Tires have decent grip but there are a few hindrances. First, the suspension is quite stiff and rebounds abruptly after each turn. Second, the throttle always opens too much with each input, which upsets the car's attitude. And ESC will cut throttle when too aggressive.