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Mercedes SLS: sold out
The Mercedes-Benz SLS has officially sold out. Well, nearly, anyway. Though there might be a few stragglers lurking around in dealerships, officially, it’s gone.
That’s the word TG.com got from the floor of the Los Angeles Motor Show, where Mercedes terrified us with the AMG Vision GT concept, and made us sad with the SLS ‘Final Edition’. The, erm, final edition of the SLS AMG.
“As of now, we’re sold out of model year 2014 production,” Paul la Penta, product manager for Mercedes US says, “so this ‘Final Edition’ will be the last opportunity customers have to buy a brand new SLS, across the world.”Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for our favourite, 591bhp rear-wheel-drive gullwinged hero. It was only last week we realised that as of next year, the SLS would be no more. A life cut too short? It’s only been three years since it arrived in a haze of tyre smoke, but the plan was always to live (very) fast, die young. And sideways.
“In general we’ve learned with sportscar enthusiasts that you don’t want to string out a model too long,” la Penta says, “it should be special, exclusive. It’s why we kept such a short life cycle for the SLS. Typically a Mercedes life cycle is seven years, sometimes some of our speciality cars will live for five years, but a car like this? Limited. It’s supposed to be rare.”
As noted when we drove the C63 AMG Edition 507, it could also be one of the last hurrahs for that glorious 6.2-litre V8, and potentially the end of the AMG naturally aspirated engine. Don’t forget, all the big AMGs have switched to the 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8, while the little ones are the most potent turbocharged four-pot petrols in the world. “Will the 6.2 be phased out? Eventually. Nothing’s certain of course, but like all things, technology’s advancing,” Michael says. “Now we’ve got that twin turbo direct injection which is what the industry’s moving towards. As for the end of natural aspiration, I can’t say for sure.”
So what does this mean for the future? Well, there are just 350 models of the SLS ‘Final Edition’ up for grabs, with around a third heading for the US. After that? There’ll be another Mercedes supercar that won’t operate “in the same space as the SLS, it will enter a new segment”. Paul was maddeningly tight-lipped, but we know for sure a smaller SLS will debut next year, possibly sporting a 500bhp twin-turbo V8 engine, to battle with the Porsche 911.
“We’ll see ‘it’ next year,” Paul says, “and I can’t say whether that’ll be a concept or production car, but ‘it’ will be very cool”.