2011 Mercedes Benz SLS AMG

1 When open, the tall side section of the door interferes with entrance headroom.

2 This fuel-door cliché isn't worthy of Mercedes. It was cute on the original Audi TT, but it's kitsch in this case.

3 The straight top of the windshield is at odds with the rounder transverse section of the hood, giving the impression that designers had to use an existing windshield.

4 The center of the hood is slightly raised, with these two crease lines defining . . . what? True, GM stole the original Gullwing's bump for the '56 Corvette, but something more could have been imagined here.

5 A highly respected chief designer of another car company said that these headlamps make the whole front end look like that of a poorly designed kit car.

6 A definite carryover design element, the encircled three-pointed star with the one-bar grille is still great.

7 These lower scoops are nicely shaped, but the other inlets above aren't nearly as nice.

8 There's a single arced line from the headlamps to the tail, with no formal definition for the front and rear fenders.

9 This huge blind quarter betrays what was best about the original Mercedes-Benz Gullwing - the fact that it was a true GT. Austere, yes, but perfectly serious for high-speed travel and sightseeing.

10 The rear deck is curious, almost a straight line in profile and quite flat transversely, in contrast to the well-rounded rear plan view.

11 This sharp edge with a BMW-like undercut on the rear face owes nothing to classic Mercedes surface development.

12 This neat crease line helps diminish the tail's vertical mass.

13 The spidery wheels are the best single detail on the SLS. They look delicate and at the same time leave plenty of air space for brake cooling.

14 The highest part of the windowsill profile is near the passengers' heads, so they may feel claustrophobic.

15 This rising crease line is all the rage these days for cheap sedans. Here, it doesn't quite link to the crease across the rear end.

16 The ergonomic justification of a door handle at shin height is hard to fathom.

17 These chrome bars are similar to those on the SLR McLaren but aren't in character with M-B's bright trim detailing for the past five or six decades. New, yes. Good, not really

18 Beautifully made and carefully finished, the interior looks like a luxury sedan's. Except for these cheap-looking vents.

19 The steering wheel manages to avoid all semblance of sportiness.

20 The interior door handle echoes the shape of the exhaust outlets.

21 One of the best things about the 300SL was the idiosyncratic plaid seat fabric. Today, no company could get away with anything other than leather in a six-figure sports car.

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On the last point: grippy, lightweight alcantara/suede.
Edward A. Sanchez
Wow, a bit harsh. I saw the SLS at the L.A. Auto Show and thought it was quite striking. The only place I thought the styling came across a little awkward was the rear. Otherwise, I think this is quite an eye-catching vehicle.

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