2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

Don Sherman
Matt Tierney

I don't see the gullwing doors as such a big negative. Okay, I did bonk my head on the open door once (and on the center roof panel inside the car twice), but I did not find it to be a tremendous reach to close them. Also, consider that in many two-door cars with conventional doors, the doors are very long and you often can't open them very far in tight quarters; the gullwing doors, by contrast, don't seem to need much clearance.

Exotic looks (and doors) aside, there's much that's familiar here. The 6.2-liter V-8 (which, for reasons known only to itself, AMG insists on characterizing as a 6.3 liter) has a real stock-car rasp; it's an AMG staple (albeit with somewhat less power than the 563 hp seen here). The dual-clutch gearbox doesn't have quite the around-town smoothness of a torque-converter automatic, nor the involvement of an old-fashioned manual, but of course it whips off lightning-quick shifts and matches revs on downshifts.

Compared to the Mercedes-McLaren SLR, this new supercar makes every bit as much of a visual statement but it far easier to drive. Where the SLR was a nervous, twitchy beast that could barely be driven in a straight line, the SLS is as user-friendly as any SL63 AMG.

Joe Lorio, Senior Editor

I commend Mercedes and AMG for producing the car they want to build, not just the car the customers want.That being said, there's still too much Gee-Whiz tech here that detracts more than takes away. Rear view cameras are for trucks and rolling artwork that have a mail slot for a rear window. LCD screens and other electronic garbage will prevent cars like this from being appreciated many years from now because replacement parts will be unobtainable. Try to get a new motherboard for your 10 year old computer...same thing. Lastly, real drivers prefer three pedals. Yes, paddle shifters get you around a track the fastest, but if that is your concern, you aren't driving this 3,600 lb sled. I'm waiting for what this company is capable of when they embrace simple engineering, light weight, and the quality standards they set back when the first Gullwings were built.

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