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The 6.3-litre (yes, it’s called 6.3-litre, though it displaces only 6.2-litre – it’s just Mercedes nomenclature) pumps out 579 PS of peak power at 6,800 rpm and a colossal amount of torque, rated at 650 Nm at 4,750 rpm. The engine has been mated to the AMG SPEEDSHIFT seven-speed double-clutch transmission that moves between cogs in as little as 100 milliseconds.
Now, the interesting point to be noted here is that you get several drive modes on the SLS like C (controlled efficiency), S (sport), S+ (sport+) and M (manual). In the C mode, the car starts moving in the second gear for achieving better efficiency. While the S and S+ modes give quicker shifts through the gears, the M mode along with Race Start (can be toggled on/off with a button near the gear selector) ensure berserk acceleration from standstill that you never anticipated.
I had elected to drive on narrow, country roads first before getting on to the no-speed-limit autobahns to try the car’s flat-out acceleration. However, the flavour of AMG’s 579 PS motor was distinctly experienced from the moment I got my right foot working. The roar with which the SLS comes to life is phenomenal. And when you have the pedal floored, there is an extreme possibility of you getting a little frightened as the car darts forward with a wagging tail. The SLS is like a pile of dynamite that is ready to explode at the very input of the throttle. But this mind-boggling stuff is available primarily when the throttle is being used viciously. At lower revs, the SLS might feel a little slow as compared with the high rev experience, which is a good thing in case you are to face slow-moving traffic.
Another point to be noted is that if you are in the M mode, the transmission is aggressively moody, in the sense that if you are moving at, say, about 45 km/h and decide to shift up to the fourth gear, it will simply refuse to do so.
Getting round corners is a different experience altogether. First of all, look at the spaceframe chassis and body, both built with aluminium mostly, which ensures light weight and good strength. The double wishbone suspension at the front as well as the rear ensures great handling. However, even in the normal suspension set-up, the car felt a little bouncy on country roads. As you build up speed, though, you realise the advantages of the stiffer suspension. The steering is quick, really quick, precise and sharp. It is well weighted, too, be it at high speeds or at slow parking speeds. The well-balanced chassis aids the handling and so do other factors such as the dry sump, which allows the engine to sit really low and thus help in lowering the centre of gravity. With rear transaxle and 47:53 weight distribution front:rear, steering with throttle input is also possible.

 

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