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Mercedes-Benz SLS

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Mercedes SLS Roadster
9/10

Latest
Road Test

Mercedes-Benz SLS Roadster driven

Driven May 2012

Additional Info

Hold on. Haven't you reviewed this already?
Yes we have. Jeremy drove it on the show, and it's even taken part in a group test where it did very well indeed against an Aston Martin Virage Volante and Bentley Conti GTC. Despite not having doors that open upwards. But this is about something else. I have a point I want to make.

Which is?
I've just realized that I've had commuting all wrong. For too many years I've gone with the general assumption that the best way of tolerating the daily grind in and out of work is to drive a car that distances you as much as possible from what's going on around you. Something hushed. Something smooth. Something aloof.

Like a Range Rover?
Yes, that. Or better still a chauffeur. My argument falls down if we look at chauffeurs, because being able to nap your way to work is only one step away from not having to leave your bed in the first place. But I digress. My point is boredom.

Commuting is boring. Most days I do it in an Audi A6 Avant and it's close to being the perfect tool for the job in many ways: it has radar cruise to prevent you crashing into the car in front and active steering to stop you drifting out of lane, plus a kick-ass stereo, massage seats and many other gizmos. Despite all this, commuting in it is still something to be endured. But there is another way.

Come on, out with it.
Get yourself an SLS Roadster. Do so and I promise you will never be bored on your daily drive again. It's impossible. Unthinkable. This is arguably the most amusing road car in existence. I'm not saying it's the best, just one of the naughtiest. It looks naughty, it sounds naughty, it rumbles and farts hilariously, it charges around full of the joys of being alive. It has a GSOH.

A good sense of humour, I assume?
Exactly. It makes you giggle from the moment you open one of the small doors - no earlier, from the moment you catch the first glance of that impossibly long snout. Everything about it makes you tingle. Although what you'll remember about it is the noise, this epic crackle and bellow, a sound that's more Greek mythology than internal combustion.

But only with the roof down, presumably?
Nope. Although the hood insulation is excellent at preventing truck tyres messing with the motorway harmonics, the naturally aspirated V8 has no trouble making itself heard. It is better with the roof down, though. In second gear. In a long underpass. Or next to a dry stone wall. Or near anything that can reflect the shockwaves of sound back at you.

OK, I get the picture, anything else I need to know?
Useful stuff: the dynamics haven't really suffered at all with the roof removed. But the same issues remain. The ride is stiff, the nose is very sharp and in the wet the back end is rather wild. But in essence this is all part of the fun. Unlike an equivalent Ferrari or Porsche the SLS AMG doesn't take itself too seriously, it's just out to have a good time, all the time. Even in traffic.

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