Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG vs. Lexus LFA

Mark Bramley

The SLS boasts a small joystick-type drive-by-wire gear selector with a squared-off T-handle instead of a conventional transmission lever. To engage reverse, push the handle forward, pull it back to engage drive, and hit the button marked P to lock the wheels. Angled to the left is the AMG Drive Unit that is also found in the SL63 and the E63. The keyboard contains five round buttons that control transmission mode, engine start/stop, stability control, the rear wing, and AMG (to store your favorite settings). Last but not least, there's the familiar Comand system that provides access to communication, navigation, and entertainment functions. A similar setup can be found in the LFA.

As in other AMG cars, the SLS offers performance-oriented in-dash readouts for coolant, engine-oil, and gearbox-oil temperatures; the stability control setting; and the most recent lap and trip times. Above the two large main circular gauges are LED shift lights with one amber warning at 6900 rpm and two red dots that come on at 7100 and 7200 rpm, but only in manual mode.

The LFA cockpit looks and feels even more special than the cabin of the SLS. The starter button is conveniently placed on the carbon-fiber steering wheel, which boasts a squared-off bottom and two broad horizontal spokes with thumb rests. The LCD instrumentation features a large, round rev counter, a relatively small digital speedometer, and your choice of secondary readouts. You can summon the fuel, oil, and water gauges as well as a trip computer, a lap timer, a tire-pressure monitor, and more. The seats are comfortable, supportive, and generously adjustable.

Subjectively at least, the LFA feels a little roomier than the SLS, which combines C-class-style switchgear with instruments that are unique to the model, plenty of leather, and a high level of fit and finish. The gull-wing doors are true attention grabbers, but they're no more practical than the front-hinged apertures preferred by Lexus. In both cars, a glance in the mirror at autobahn speeds gives you a look at an imposing tail wing that extends automatically to increase downforce and stability. The luggage compartment of the Mercedes holds a fairly useful 6.2 cubic feet, but Lexus doesn't bother to quote a number for the LFA. The LFA tips the scales at 3460 pounds; the heavier SLS has a curb weight of 3573 pounds.

enthusiast8
Not really fare using a pre-production car that has been beat to hell (look at all the videos of this car) and comparing it to a fresh production car. Makes no sense declaring a winner until it's a production car vs. production car comparison. I think the results might be a little bit different.
dannag27
great cars but, dissapointing that lexus wasn't able to top the germans but maybe the next round they'll be able to prove themselves.

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