The SLS AMG is the first Mercedes designed in-house by AMG, and it uses the well-known 6.2-liter V-8 from Mercedes' tuning division for propulsion. The coupe's gull-wing doors hark back to the 300SL, but the SLS replaces the more recent SLR. That car, produced in a joint venture with McLaren, cost nearly $500,000--or more than twice as much as the SLS--and didn't drive nearly as well. With dry-sump lubrication, revised camshafts and valves, and less restrictive intake and exhaust systems, the SLS V-8's peak output has been bumped to 563 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. The SLS is also a bit lighter than its predecessor and features a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission in place of the old five-speed torque converter automatic. The result is that the SLS is just as quick to 60 mph--Mercedes claims it can do the run in 3.6 seconds. To compensate for rigidity that was lost when the roof was chopped off, the roadster features thicker side sills, additional supports for the structural cross member at the base of the windshield frame, and a curved brace between the strut towers of the rear suspension. The SLS's balance is brilliant, its steering is quick and accurate, and its brakes are instantly responsive and fade-resistant. For 2012, a convertible SLS joins the gull-wing coupe.
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