Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG 2010-2014: review, specs and buying guide - What to pay, what we said and 'I bought one'

With a bespoke V8, jaw-dropping gullwing doors and impeccable road manners the SLS should be on any supercar buyer’s shopping list

Rivals

Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano

With a 6-litre V12 producing 611bhp the front-engined 599 GTB is perhaps closest to the SLS in terms of concept and posts figures of 3.5sec for the 0-62mph dash with a 205mph top speed. Today you’ll need £100k-plus to join the club.

> Ferrari 599 review 

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Porsche 911 Turbo S (991.1)

The evergreen 911 Turbo S is still the most useable of supercars but is one of the quickest too, with a 0-62mph time of just 3.1sec and a 197mph top whack. Currently prices start at around £100,000.

> Porsche 911 Turbo review

McLaren 12C

McLaren might be the new kid on the block when compared to Porsche and Ferrari but the 592bhp (later cars had 612bhp) 12C is none the worse for it with 200mph+ potential. Priced from £100k.

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> McLaren 12C review

What to pay

Prices for the SLS did dip below the £100k mark but last year saw a steep rise in values and they’ve stayed strong, too. Prices start at around £140k at dealers and rise to £170k for fully optioned low mileage machinery with ceramic stoppers and B&O sound systems. Roadster values tend to lag behind coupes, too. Watch out for Japanese imports that are beginning to filter their way onto the UK market, they should be priced lower than UK spec models. GTs cost £225k-plus while Black Series and Final Edition machinery are even more.

What we said

Group Test, August 2010 - evo 146

‘Hit the red start button, feel and hear the 563bhp, 6.2-litre V8 erupt, drop the stumpy, fat-headed gear selector into D, squeeze the throttle and... after a brief pause... you’re away.

‘It’s perhaps the SLS’s least enjoyable characteristic, the tardy responses of its gearbox. It makes smooth, snappy full- throttle upshifts when left to its own devices, but use the paddles and there’s a delay between pull and shift.

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‘That apart, the SLS feels at home here [on the evo Triangle] almost immediately. There’s an easy, natural feel to the well-weighted steering, and the ride is nicely judged, offering fine body control and the right degree of compliance. The SLS steers with accuracy, too, and so although it feels like a big car as you set off, you don’t think about its width again.

‘It feels brilliant over the faster, more flowing sections, dealing tightly with crests and compressions, all four corners planted, while the big V8 feels mighty, with terrific throttle response. Wrung out to 7000rpm, it feels as potent as anything here. Power and control: a compelling combination.’ – evo 146

'I bought one'

‘I bought my SLS four years ago. It was just over two years old and had 9000 miles on the clock. It’s one of the launch colours, Daytona Blue Metallic, and has the desirable ten-spoke wheel option.

‘It’s now done about 21,000 miles. I bought it as a car to use daily, which I did when I first had it, but to be honest I haven’t used it a lot in the last year or so. As is often the case when cars become collectible, you become more aware of the value and the effect that mileage has on that. So you end up not using it as much as you’d like to. It’s a shame, because it’s a really useable car.

‘Niggles? The gearbox was very lethargic in manual mode and jerky when manoeuvring. I took it to the AMG factory to have the software upgraded and this has made the gearchanges so much sharper and the rev-matching much better on downshifts. It cost 1500 euros but it sorted all the issues, so it was money well spent.

‘I’ve also got an Aston DBS, and it’s interesting to compare the two. The SLS is a lot more aggressive in the way it feels and drives, but it’s also a lot more accomplished and a lot more fun. It’s phenomenally quick and sounds wonderful. It’s also a mile-muncher, very comfortable on longer journeys, though at 6ft 3in my son’s head touches the roof. Taller people might find it a bit claustrophobic. Conversely, short people can find it a bit of a stretch to reach up to close the door, but the advantage is you can park much closer to something, because the doors open using far less space.

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‘A big service at the Mercedes dealer is around £1000, a small service around £300, which I think is very reasonable. The only problem I’ve had was the pads got stuck to the [iron] discs

 

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