2013 Mercedes SLS GT review
This new GT version benefits from a retuned engine that's liberated 20bhp of extra power - taking it to 583bhp. It also gets a reworked double-clutch gearbox – designed to provide quicker, slicker gearchanges – and suspension upgrades.
What's the 2013 Mercedes SLS GT like to drive?
Compared with the previous SLS, the GT doesn't feel that different to drive. You detect slightly more urgent gearchanges and a marginally firmer set-up, but the reality is that only connoisseurs will have a fighting chance of telling the GT apart from a standard model.
However, the SLS remains a uniquely satisfying supercar to drive. Because of the driving position and the front-engined, rear-wheel-drive layout, there's a real sense of sitting directly over the back wheels, with a huge amount of power directly under your behind.
So, just like in standard models, nursing all that power is still the overwhelming experience of driving the SLS GT. It still fizzes, pops and crackles, with a terrific soundtrack when you approach the redline. It still torpedoes you along with savage ferocity, yet it's docile enough to leave in 'D' and trickle effortlessly around town, too.
What it still doesn't do is feel quite as agile or as grippy as the best supercars. The steering feels quick and darty, but the SLS's body doesn't follow suit. This means that long, wide sweeping roads are its forte, rather than tight British B-roads. The SLS GT is a car that relies on smooth, subtle inputs to go quickly. Frenzied driving ultimately slows you down.
What's the 2013 Mercedes SLS GT like inside?
There's no doubt that raising and then climbing through the SLS's gullwing doors is still one of the most theatrical entrances in motoring. Whether you find them glamorous or annoying is a matter of personal opinion.
Less debatable, though, is that once you are ensconced behind the wheel and peering down the SLS's long bonnet, you are surrounded by many of the fixtures and fittings from less special Mercedes saloons. It all works well and feels as solid as you'd expect, but there's little notion that you are in the company's range-topping sports car.
It does, however, play the role of a practical GT rather well. The wide body has obvious benefits to the sense of space in the cabin and there's some useful stowage space behind the seats. The boot is also useful for several soft bags.
Should I buy one?
This is now undoubtedly the SLS to buy if you are in the market for one. Although, a more salient question is what else you can get for the money – or close to it. That question potentially propels you into all sorts of exotica, as well as some superb sports cars for a lot less.
However, just as it should be at this level, the Mercedes SLS GT remains an intoxicatingly unique experience.
What Car? says…
Aston Martin Vanquish
Engine size 6.2-litre V8 petrol
Price from £180,000
Torque 479lb ft
0-62mph 3.7 seconds
Top speed 199mph
Fuel economy 21.4mpg
By Chas Hallett