Merc SLS roadster vs Bentley GTC vs Aston Virage Volante
West Scotland is icy, dark and dangerous this time of year. The perfect place to head with £500k of lairy supercabrio metal...
Posted: 10 Feb 2012
Tackling these roads at pace in the SLS initally seems sure to end in a large, fiery crash. But, once you've accustomed to its strange dynamics - like a sail ship, you twirl the wheel from way back on the stern, watching the bow, furlongs ahead, swing a distant arc - not to mention its pace, width and wriggling rear, the Roadster actually proves an easier car to drive fast than its coupe cousin. It's set up a fraction softer than the coupe: less jittery, more planted. In the hard-top SLS, you feel hemmed into the narrow cockpit, far away from the front wheels, but in the Roadster you're part of the action, more confident of your corners, more aware of the odd effect of that mighty engine just ahead of your knees.
Even more so than the SLS coupe, this car is all, all about the engine. With AMG, like the rest of the world, switching cubic inches for turbochargers, this may be the end of the line for Merc's naturally aspirated V8. If so, what a way to go: this thing is fast enough to cause permanent facial disfigurement, loud enough to melt ears. Though peaceable enough if you treat it gently (provided you can avoid twitching the hyper-sensitive accelerator as you jolt over potholes, an action that sets the SLS on a mad kangaroo-bounce down the road), you're always conscious this car could at any time deposit you in a ditch before nicking your lunch money, just for giggles. It might have the vague profile of a lazy, convertible GT, but make no mistake: this is a brilliant, brutal berserker of a supercar.