design of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Roadster pays
homage to the rarefied 1954-62 Mercedes-Benz 300SL.
A long hood
has always implied a car’s ability to dispense ample power. That
implication usually comes with something else: a lofty sticker
So check out
the length of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Roadster’s hood.
Now take a gander at its base price: $206,000.
uninitiated, the SLS AMG debuted in 2010 with a look that pays
homage to the rarefied 1954-62 Mercedes-Benz 300SL and delivers
equally beguiling performance. It’s a mesmerizing four-wheel
missile, one that will make you wish that you had gone to law
school. Especially this year.
2013, along with adding two letters to the SLS AMG’s name, the
folks at Mercedes-Benz’s AMG performance division added an extra
20 ponies under the hood. With 583 horsepower on tap from its
6.3-liter V-8, 0 to 60 mph takes a mere 3.5 seconds. Zero to
"sorry, officer" takes just a wee bit longer. And just
imagine the fine you’ll be paying. After all, it can reach 197
See? I told
you. Law school.
Of course, to
do that, you’ll want to lower the top. Like the car’s
acceleration, this happens quickly. How quickly? Count to 11. The
top will be stowed. Now the wind can lightly tousle your hair as
this car captures your soul.
Power comes on
effortlessly, as if unleashing the hounds of hell. You’ll hear
their fury as the exhaust growls and barks with a lethal yelp.
Forget the audio system; this is the only music you’ll ever need.
This car is so much fun to drive, even 0 to 30 mph is an event.
Going to the corner for a gallon of milk has never been so much fun
— or taken so little time.
this car’s shifts to come quickly and imperceptibly, and they do,
thanks to the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. As the name
implies, this gearbox has two clutches: one for odd-numbered gears,
the other for even-numbered gears. At the exact moment one clutch is
engaged, the other is being disengaged. Conventional transmissions
have one clutch. As it disengages from one gear and engages another,
there’s a brief interruption in power. With the dual-clutch
gearbox, one of the two clutches is always engaged, so power is
never interrupted. That makes a big difference when pouring on the
brings with it excessive thirst and some may find this car’s fuel
economy wasteful. Let me say this: If dinosaurs had to give up their
lives, this would be the perfect reason for their extinction. At the
same time, I wonder if this car is a last monument to power, itself
a dinosaur, before the tightening grip of federal fuel economy
requirements render it extinct.
Of course, it’s
hard to ponder such serious philosophical questions with the top
down, the engine howling, the wind blasting and your soul giggling
with the delight of a child who has just been given his or her first
roadster into a corner and you’ll find the steering is quick,
nicely weighted and that body roll is nonexistent. Just what you’d
expect for the price. For those who like to drive hard and fast, the
SLS AMG GT delivers its performance with hard-body precision. But
thankfully, opting for this model means more than speed and
handling; it also means an exquisite veneer of civility. Just nestle
in the firmly bolstered seats finished in sumptuous diamond-quilted
leather. What a lovely throne from which to rule the road. And, like
other topless vehicles that wear the three-pointed star, the SLS AMG
GT Roadster has "Airscarf," a heating system that blows
warm air from vents mounted under the head restraints.
features are well represented on the interior, and that’s to be
expected. After all, the 2013 SLS AMG GT Roadster is meant as a
distant successor to the original 300SL and, as such, is the very
best that Mercedes-Benz can offer.
car’s long hood delivers on its promise. It has the power to
overpower your will as well as the road.
If you need
proof, just take it for a test drive on the type of day that would
make the local chamber of commerce proud. It’s then that you’ll
realize that if you’ve been good in life, someday, you’ll end up
behind the wheel of an SLS AMG GT Roadster with the top down on a
sunny, 75-degree day.
MERCEDES-BENZ SLS AMG GT ROADSTER
6.3-liter DOHC V-8
space: 6.2 cubic feet
(city/highway): 13/19 mpg