2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS-Class Expert Review
By KBB.com Editors
What's New for 2014
The SLS AMG GT is Mercedes-Benz's supercar, a $200,000-plus luxury rocket that combines blistering performance with exquisite fit and finish. Available as a 2-seat coupe or convertible, the SLS-Class has the power and pedigree to run with the finest from Ferrari, Aston Martin and Bentley. The SLS AMG GT boasts some of Mercedes' most advanced technology and highest power output while also infusing the provenance of its ancestor, the 300SL "Gullwing." Like that 1950s coupe, the hardtop version of the SLS is defined by its upward-swinging doors, while roadster versions enable top-down thrills. In coupe or convertible form, the SLS features a rubber-burning 583-horsepower V8 engine. For 2014, the SLS' second to last year of production, an even higher-performance Black Series coupe is available.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you desire a supercar with phenomenal power, a prestigious pedigree and plenty of pampering, the SLS AMG GT serves it up along with striking design and Mercedes' timeless badge appeal.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If the SLS coupe's $200,000 price doesn't dissuade you from getting in, its gullwing doors might. They look great but can be awkward to use when entering and exiting. For a more livable alternative, keep in mind that there are AMG versions of the Mercedes SL-Class retractable-hardtop roadster.
Just in case the SLS AMG GT isn't ferocious enough with its standard 583 horsepower, an even more powerful Black Series coupe is available for 2014. It boasts 622 horsepower, high-performance parts like ceramic brakes, and a roughly $276,000 starting price.
Driving the SLS-Class
Before driving the SLS AMG, we figured it would be similar to the Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG roadster, which shares the same engine but little else. That's definitely not the case....
... The SLS AMG GT is quintessentially its own. With a 0-60 mph time of just 3.6 seconds in both coupe and roadster form, the SLS's acceleration is ethereal. The fire-breathing Black Series edition is even quicker, shaving a tenth of a second off that time, but in reality either model has blistering acceleration in everyday driving. The SLS isn't just a straight-line performer. Its suspension adeptly tames the tremendous g-forces created as the SLS rips around corners. But be forewarned: Even with its traction-control systems, the SLS's rear end can easily be made to step out, especially when the throttle is quickly engaged or disengaged. On tamer, more real-world drives, we appreciated the car's well-padded steering wheel, plush leather seats, and the ability to adjust its adaptive suspension from "Sport Plus" to "Comfort."
Owning a Mercedes SLS-Class puts you in an exclusive club – one that won't grow much larger. Limited in its production to begin with, if you want to buy one new you'd better act soon. Next year's model will be its last, with only 350 made for the entire world.
EVERYTHING ELSE ABOUT IT, TOO
From its scintillating skin and rapturous roar to the way the roadster version can bathe your neck in warmth, the SLS AMG GT has the ability to awe on a daily basis. It's a modern masterpiece with more than a passing nod to its heritage as a car piloted by racers and flaunted by the famous.
2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS-Class Details
The 2014 SLS AMG GT's 2-passenger cockpit feels like any other modern Mercedes-Benz. That is, it's well-crafted with a logical layout, though it's not quite as inspiring as the car's exterior. Still, there is much to like, and this supercar also knows how to coddle. The interior is awash in the requisite plush leather and gleaming metal. A 7-inch display mounted in the center dash conveys navigation, audio info and more, and is controlled by Mercedes' COMAND system with a center knob mounted just aft the wedge-shaped gear selector. SLS AMG Black Series models boast carbon-fiber trim and red seatbelts and accents.
The 2014 SLS is offered in two forms: coupe or roadster. Both boast deeply sculpted sides and a long hood that houses the massive V8 engine. The most defining feature remains the upward-opening gullwing doors of the SLS coupe. Fully expanded, they are a sight to behold. Unfortunately, they are not the most practical things in the world. Opening and closing them requires a wide range of movement, from bending down to open them to stretching high to close them. The SLS roadster doesn't have this issue since it uses traditional doors, not to mention a triple-layer fabric roof that quickly retracts for open-air thrills.
As you might guess, features are aplenty on a $200,000 car, not the least of which is the admiration that usually comes with driving a $200,000 car. Among the tangibles you'll gain in the SLS are Mercedes' COMAND system with voice activation, a 7-inch display and features like navigation and Bluetooth streaming. In addition to storing music files on the hard-disc drive, there's an in-dash 6-disc changer and AM/FM/satellite audio system with iPod interface. Designo leather seating is standard, as is a rear-view camera, blind-spot monitoring, bi-xenon headlights, and dual-zone climate control. Roadsters include the Airscarf neck-heating system and a removable wind deflector.
There's no doubt the 2014 SLS AMG GT is impressively equipped out the door, but there are many ways to add to its performance or individuality. Among the offerings, which often come with price tags in the thousands, are carbon-ceramic brakes, an 11-speaker/1,000-watt Bang & Olufsen surround-sound audio system, carbon-fiber trim package, and specialty exterior paint colors. For owners who plan to take their Mercedes-Benz SLS to the track – or just make believe they're on one – there's the AMG Performance Media option. This system measures vehicle performance data and race results, and displays them on the screen.
Under the Hood
The heart of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT remains a naturally aspirated (non-turbocharged) V8 engine. It's technically 6.2 liters in displacement, but Mercedes still likes to dub it a 6.3. Among the hand-built engine's impressive facts – other than its 583 horsepower – is that it uses a dry-sump system for lubrication. This is allows the engine to be placed lower for a better center of gravity (and thus, better handling) and enables you to corner hard with less worry of damaging the engine due to low oil pressure. The SLS AMG Black Series uses the same engine but tunes it to make 622 horsepower. All SLS models are rear-wheel drive and use a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Top speed for both the coupe and roadster is 197 mph (196 for the Black Series coupe).
6.2-liter V8 (SLS AMG GT)
583 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
479 lb-ft of torque @ 4,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19 mpg
6.2-liter V8 (SLS AMG Black Series)
622 horsepower @ 7,400 rpm
468 lb-ft of torque @ 5,500
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/17 mpg
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS-Class coupe has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at over $202,000, while the SLS AMG GT roadster starts around $209,000. The top-dog SLS AMG Black Series, available only as a coupe, begins around $276,000. A gas-guzzler tax adds over $2,000 to each, and options can easily increase these prices by several thousand dollars. At these prices, the SLS is comparable to the Ferrari California, Aston Martin DB9, and 12-cylinder Bentley Continental GT. Cost-cutting probably isn't your highest priority if you're in the market for a Mercedes SLS AMG GT, but we still advise checking the Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying for this car. The SLS AMG's predicted resale value is not quite as high as that of other Mercedes models, but still comparable to that of the Audi R8 – and over time, who knows what collectors will do to the price.
To compare current market prices, check out KBB.com's car classifieds to view the new and used
Mercedes-Benz SLS-Class vehicles for sale near you.