2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: Longer, Lower, Wider
August 12, 2013
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.
But dang, this thing is wide too. I took it on one of my fave canyon roads where the SLS's sharp steering and buttoned down composure were plainly evident and enjoyable. But it felt like it was taking up the whole lane from the yellow line to the shoulder. Narrow two-laners are not this car's preferred playground. At 76.3 inches, the SLS is nearly four inches wider than a C6 Corvette, a sports car considered rather "hippy" by most enthusiasts. Heck, the SLS is even three inches wider than a Cadillac XTS.
Away from the tighter stuff best left to Loti and Miatas and cruising through more sweeping turns on the way towards PCH, the SLS was more in its element. Still, stepping into that monster V8 whenever the road straightened out never got old.
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 28,543 miles