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