Amping up the adrenaline index of its hottest sports model, Mercedes-Benz will replace the existing SLS AMG in the U.S. this fall with a new 2013 SLS AMG GT variant that will offer ever higher levels of performance as well as an additional measure of style. Available in both Coupe and Roadster configurations, this new SLS AMG GT is scheduled to hit showrooms in Europe this October alongside of the carryover SLS AMG duo before turning up on our shores the following month.
At the heart of this GT-spec makeover is a more potent iteration of the original SLS AMG's 6.2-liter V8 coupled with a tweaked version of the car's rear-mounted 7-speed AMG SpeedShift DCT dual-clutch automatic transmission. Beyond a remapping of its computer control unit, the hand-assembled AMG engine features an increase in peak combustion pressures and "internal dethrottling measures," which we assume translates into a reduction in pumping losses. Those revamps help raise the GT's horsepower count from 563 to 583 while holding torque at a robust 479 lb-ft. Helping the cause, a rethink of the control logic governing the paddle-actuated SpeedShift automatic serves up even quicker cog-changes along with a more pronounced double-declutching action on downshifts. Collectively, these enhancements trim 0-60 mph times in the new SLS AMG GT from 3.8 to 3.6 seconds, although the electronically limited top speed of both the Coupe and Roadster remains at 197 mph.
Another pillar of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT's enhanced dynamics is its standard AMG Adaptive Performance Suspension. Comprehensively revised from the package that was optional on the 2012 SLS AMG, it complements the basic lightweight aluminum control arms with a new and even more aggressive match of springs rates and adjustable-shock absorber tuning. Offering driver-selectable "Sport" and "Sport Plus" modes that have been further optimized to deliver even better response with less body roll, these recalibrated AMG underpinnings materially improve the GT's at-the-limit handling response.
Visually distinguishing this more intense variation on the theme, the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT features darkened headlamp/taillamp lenses gloss-black accenting on its prominent M-B grille logo, hood fins and front fender vents, red-painted brake calipers on its standard AMG high-performance stoppers (or available carbon-ceramic upgrades) and a unique "GT" badge enhancement on the decklid. While the wheel/tire fitments carry over from the SLS AMG - 265/35R19 high-performance rubber up front and 295/30R20 boots in the rear - a unique matte-black/high-sheen combination finish on the GT's lightweight 10-spoke AMG forged alloys add a final flourish to the car's racier appearance.
Despite its more overt performance orientation, the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT will come with the same uber-roster of standard comfort/convenience touches as the outgoing SLS AMG -- including elegant premium designo leather/Alcantara interior appointments in standard black with porcelain trim. Along with the choice of several other color combinations, buyers also will be able to opt for a new designo Style package that features a diamond-quilted upholstery motif with contrast stitching on the seats and door panel inserts. Other key options for the 2013 SLS AMG GT include a Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG surround sound system, AMG Performance Media, AMG carbon-fiber exterior mirrors, an AMG Interior Carbon-Fiber package and AMG carbon-fiber engine compartment covers.
No word yet on U.S. pricing for the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT, but expect both the Coupe and Roadster variants to open somewhere beyond the $200,000 mark.