The latest episode of ‘Auto Aficionado’ features the successor to the classic and elusive 300SL Gullwing
The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is in the history books as the first Mercedes-Benz automobile developed in-house by AMG. It is a front-end, 2-seater luxury, limited edition supercar built between 2010 and 2014. The latest episode of ‘Auto Aficionado’ features a pristine example of a 2011 model owned by race instructor and prolific car collector Bill Chalkias.
The Mercedes Benz SLS AMG is the successor to the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and ‘spiritual’ successor to the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing. Like the original, the SLS has gullwing doors and was mostly built by hand. SLS stands for “Sport Leicht Super” or Sport Light Super, in English.
The Mercedes-Benz SLS was revealed to the World at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show. Sales started shortly thereafter in Europe, in mid-2010 and a year later in the United States.
At the 2012 Paris Auto Show, Mercedes Benz unveiled the SLS Electric Drive, an SLS powered by 4 electric motors producing 741 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque. In its four year production run, 4 models of the SLS were produced in 14 different editions with the SLS AMG GT FINAL EDITION, being the last.
A total of 2,734 SLS AMGs were sold in the United States. That number was broken down into 1,837 Gullwings and 884 roadsters.
Completely designed and built by AMG, the SLS AMG was powered by the M159 engine. It was a 6.2 liter naturally aspirated double-overhead cam engine producing 563 horsepower. Based on the M156 block, the M159 engine had 120 different parts that were unique to the SLS. At the time, it was the World’s most powerfully naturally aspirated production series engine ever produced, according the AMG.
Over the life of the SLS, three different versions of the M159 were used. The SLS AMG, produced 563 horsepower at 479 lb-ft of torque, while the SLS AMG GT, introduced in 2012, produced 583 horsepower. The range-topping SLS AMG Coupe Black Series, introduced in 2013 put out 468 lb-ft of torque.
The baseline M159 engine powering the SLS AMG was capable of accelerating from 0 to 62 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds, topping out at 197 miles per hour. The vehicle ran through the quarter-mile in 11.7 seconds at 125 miles per hour.
Supercar performance by working with less
Tipping the scales with curb weight of 3,569 lb., the SLS AMG was almost 200 lb. lighter than the Mercedes-McLaren SLR. Built with an emphasis on light weight, the SLR tipped the scale at 3,860 lb. This can be attributable in part, to the lightweight aluminum space frame, the company’s first.
By comparison, the Mercedes SL65 AMG Black emphasized weight savings and did so through the use of carbon fiber and other lightweight materials. Despite the stated goal of keeping the weight down, the SL65 Black Series tipped the scale at 4.350 pounds, over two tons.
The light weight of the SLS AMG delivers where it really matters, in performance. The SLS AMG is considered more of a sporty track oriented car compared to other high performance vehicles in the Mercedes Benz family. It achieved a lateral acceleration of 0.99g compared to 0.97g pulled by the predecessor of the SLS AMG, the Mercedes-McLaren SLR.
Like its spiritual successor, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, the racing version of the SLS AMG, the SLS AMG GT3 has quite the racing pedigree. Since its launch in 2010, the SLS AMG GT3 has been competing in GT competitions throughout the World including the FIA GT3 European Championship, Blancpain Endurance Series, VLN 24 hours of Nurburgring, British GT Championship, Super GT and many more.
It also has several wins under its belt as well with the 2012 and 2013 Dubai 24 Race and the 2013 Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour endurance race. The SLS also holds the fastest lap record at the legendary Spa when it won the 24 Hours of Spa in 2013.
The Mercedes-AMG GT
As the production run for the SLS AMG was wound down in 2014, Mercedes-Benz released the Mercedes-AMG GT. The AMG GT is not a replacement for the SLS AMG as it is less expensive and less powerful and was designed to compete with the Porsche 911. Relying on forced induction or turbochargers, the AMG GT produces 456 horsepower while the sportier AMG GT S produces 503 horsepower.
Like the iconic Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing, the Mercedes Benz SLS AMG is virtually guaranteed to be a future classic. The performance of the vehicle put it into the leagues of the supercars of the era and the limited numbers produced make it a sought after vehicle by collectors and enthusiasts alike. You can see, hear, and feel what makes this car special in the latest episode of ‘Auto Aficionado’ here: https://youtu.be/8qUTFM3649Y