Mike and I were driving along in his SLS AMG when all of a sudden he pulled over onto the shoulder of the highway we were on. I immediately thought….”hmm..did something go wrong with the car? Is he going to kick me out of the car? Do I smell bad?”
I was confused.
As we slowly came to a stop, he glanced over at me and casually mentioned that I could drive his car home.
I couldn’t believe it.
He decided to actually hand me the keys to a car he paid over $250K for when all was said and done and let me drive it. Seriously? Was I dreaming?
Well, actually there were no keys. All we had to do was swap seats.
In seconds, I found myself at the wheel of a supercar. Underneath the humongous hood of the Mercedes SLS AMG, was a monstrous 6.2L V8 producing 583 hp. And this was not just any SLS AMG – it was the final edition GT AMG with only 350 built in the entire world. I was now driving the last year of the SLS gull-winged monster. This is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating and coolest vehicles Mike has ever owned.
So, how did Mike end up with one of the last 350 final editions? He knew he wanted the SLS for a while but he wasn’t going to buy one for at least another couple years. But, when he found out that they were stopping production of the SLS AMG, Mike started searching for one everywhere. He has been a lifelong Mercedes fan and has owned many Mercs over the years with the first one being the Mercedes 280 in 1975.
He came across a few SLS AMGs but none of them had the exact options he was looking for. After all, if you’re spending money that you would typically spend on buying a house, I think you’d want it to be perfect.
Better than perfect.
He managed to get a purchase order through to be one of the owners for the final 350 models that were built. It wasn’t easy; as you can imagine, people from all around the world must have been lining up to buy one of the last SLSs to be built.
He got it loaded with everything except for the carbon ceramic brakes. He even upgraded to the Bang & Olfusen stereo but realized soon after that it’s something that he doesn’t really need or use. As I found out quickly, the 6.2L V8 sounds so incredibly amazing that you never have the urge to even turn on the stereo. Who needs music from a stereo when you have a 6.2L V8 providing all the music you could ever need??
Mike and I did something that anyone should do with a final edition SLS AMG GT – a 0-60 mph test – especially considering the fact that the car comes with a 0-60 mph time tracker and a “race start” mode.
After a not-so-hard launch due to lack of traction and the road being not that great, Mike managed to get there in 4.1 seconds. That’s really not that bad considering I was in the car as well. So the manufacturer-claimed 3.6 second 0-60 mph time seems accurate.
Besides being incredibly quick, the SLS AMG is unlike any other Mercedes or AMG I’ve driven before. In “comfort” mode the shifts are slower and the car is more tame, but in “sport” mode the SLS feels like a beast waiting to be unleashed. The throttle instantly becomes ultra sensitive and the steering tightens up – it’s precise and communicative.
On a regular road it goes something like this. As soon as the light turns green, you gently tap the throttle and before you know it you’re at the speed limit or beyond and then it becomes so tough to continue cruising that at speed. So boring. All that power and speed in the car – if only you could use it.
In fact, Mercedes has done a good job of letting you know how worthless it is to go at the speed limit. On the analog speedometer I could hardly tell what speed I was going because of this reason – take a look at where 40-50 mph is located on the speedometer. It is buried so low in the dash that Mercedes is basically telling you that any speed below 100 mph is insignificant and not even worth paying attention to.
I found it demoralizing driving at 45 mph – like I was somehow disrespecting the AMG.
After driving around in the car for a while I noticed two types of people looking in our direction stood out to me. First were the kids. They absolutely loved it – in the video I captured some of their reactions. They were pointing, smiling, clapping – they were literally euphoric to catch a glimpse of the SLS AMG.
Then there were people with utterly disapproving glares. They had this look like somehow driving this car was the same as committing a horrific crime. Or maybe they were unhappy with something else – I don’t know. Stress at work?
The 7-speed dual clutch transmission shifted so quickly – this was my first time to experience such quick shifts. It’s better than anything you could do with a manual transmission and was refreshing to feel such aggressive shifting pulling me forward.
Driving the car for a while, I eventually realized that this car truly belongs on a track. Here is proof! The AMG media center actually comes with an option to configure track layouts to monitor various driving parameters – it even comes with some pre-built German race tracks! I can’t imagine that many SLS AMG owners actually track their cars frequently but the fact that the car even has this feature means that the engineers built this car to master a race track.
I’m not sure if this worked but I tried to convince Mike that he should take the car to the Circuit of the Americas at least once! I think doing so will allow Mike to gain a new appreciation for the car (not that he doesn’t love it already).
At the end of the day, Mike had me sign his logbook. If some day this car is worth $50M and is considered one of the true classics of all time (which I think it will be) and the logbook goes with the car, I’ll be a tiny part in the long history of this AMG. What a car.
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