Home / Features / 50 Years of AMG part IV – Taking Off

 

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT, Exterieur Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT, exterior

Half a century has gone by and AMG, the performance arm of German luxury icon Mercedes-Benz, have continued to deliver some enthralling cars. Our fourth part of the feature takes a look at the beautiful SLS: a reimagination of the glorious 300 SL, the AMG 45 line of four-cylinder powerhouses, and Mercedes-AMG’s return to Formula 1.


Story: Jim Gorde
Photography: Daimler, Mercedes-Benz, DPPI

 

In our previous feature, we took a closer look at the most hardcore models: the AMG Black Series, the magnificent SLR, SLR Stirling Moss, and the exquisite Pagani Zonda R and Huayra. AMG have become an iconic name in the performance car world and for good reason. Thus far, we’ve seen not just cars like the 300 SEL 6.8, the Hammer, and the CLK GTR, but also how their engines went on to build more legends — the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, the SLR Stirling Moss, as well as the Pagani Zonda and Huayra. However, it takes an almost unimaginable level of commitment to push the envelope even further, still staying true to your roots yet expanding the limits of the possible. And the SLS AMG went on to do just that.

Some call it brutal. Some call it sharp. Others call it wild. Yet, some even called it cute. Behind that smiling face, under that long bonnet, and inside those gull-wing doors was a monster waiting to be unleashed.

SLS 63 AMG (C 197) 2009

The M156 V8, the 6,208-cc naturally-aspirated brute of a baritone motor, already making headlines in the AMG ’63’ line-up with between 457 and 525 PS, was turned way up to 571 PS in the SLS; the first car indigenously developed by AMG in Affalterbach. With a weight of just 1,620 kg, it turned out to be a raw and engaging sport coupé with as much presence as it had performance. Built as a 2010 model, its styling harked back to the 1954 300 SL, a car which revolutionised the sports car category with its ahead-of-time engineering and detail, including its famous gull-wing style doors. So confident were Mercedes with this car and its performance, in terms of both acceleration and downforce, that they successfully managed a corkscrew manoeuvre inside a tunnel, with the car successfully driving upside-down for a brief moment!

For those who thought the gull-wing was a bit too much, the SLS Roadster arrived two years later, in 2012. It offered drop-top motoring with conventionally-hinged doors and had the same output too. What got a further boost, however, was the SLS AMG GT.

The winged GT that came about one year later got another 20 PS, for a total of 591, at the same heady 6,800 rpm. With the accompanying 650 Nm of torque, it delivered an even greater rush than before. There was also an SLS AMG GT3, which went on to heat up the racing scene. However, nothing could prepare the world for what came next: the SLS AMG Black Series.

A higher red-line and incredible 40 more horses was what the SLS Black brought to the table, or the track; more like it. With the 631 PS coming in at 7,400 rpm and peak torque actually dropping to 635 Nm, the SLS Black Series was the wildest and, seemingly, most tame-less naturally-aspirated beast to come out of Affalterbach.

Mercedes SLS AMG Electric Drive 01 web

Recognising the need to maintain a balance environmentally, Mercedes-AMG also introduced the SLS Electric — a pure electric car with four electric motors and a peak 552 kW (750 PS) and 1,000 Nm. It was quick, yes, and phenomenally so, hitting 0-100 km/h in just 3.7 seconds.

While the Black Series and SLS Electric were extreme examples of the car, 2014 also marked the end of the line. The ‘Final Edition’ was the swansong for the much-loved SLS.

Next page – AMG ’45’ >

 

About the author: Jim Gorde

 

Automotive Correspondent at Bike India and Car India.
Believes that learning never stops. Loves V8 engines as much as a good breakfast.
t: @BikeIndia / @CarIndia

 

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