The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT is soon to be replaced with a very different, but still entirely AMG-developed new sports car, the Mercedes-AMG GT. But that doesn’t mean the SLS AMG GT is old hat. Far from it.
Styling for the 2015 model remains very close to the existing Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT, though for the limited 350-unit Final Edition, some special colors and accents are added to the sleek, low-slung, cab-rearward proportions-and of course, the iconic gullwing doors. Final Edition models get a "carbon fiber effect" hood in black, a carbon fiber front splitter, a fixed rear wing, and exclusive alloy wheels. The air inlets in the front bumper are also slightly tweaked for Final Edition models.
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT carries forward the core of last year's car, which was itself updated last for the 2013 model year, raising output from its 6.2-liter V-8 engine to 583 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. Transferred to the rear wheels through a seven-speed AMG Speedshift dual-clutch transmission, the SLS AMG GT accelerates to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds and can hit a top speed of 197 mph.
The SLS AMG Black Series turns the power and performance up considerably. An upgraded version of the 6.2-liter V-8 generates 622 horsepower and 468 pound-feet of torque, reaching 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. Top speed is reduced slightly (196 mph) thanks to the greater drag and downforce created by the SLS AMG Black Series' aerodynamic additions, but those some aerodynamics translate to greatly improved grip and stability in high-speed maneuvering. Even in lower-speed maneuvers, the suspension changes to the Black Series result in a much more controllable, manageable, and easy-to-drive super-performance car-which might be counterintuitive to the words "Black Series, " but nonetheless holds true in our experience.
Like the previous SLS AMG GT, the 2015 model offers the same advanced suspension tuning, bred from the best of AMG's design expertise. As AMG's first fully in-house design (i.e. not based on a production Mercedes-Benz vehicle), the SLS AMG started life as a performance-first supercar, but quickly developed a bit of a reputation for biting those who weren't careful with its power and knife-edged balance. The 2013 model-year updates smoothed some of those edges, but the latest SLS AMG GTs retain bit of a tail-happy nature when pushed to the limits. It makes for an engaging drive if you're willing to grab it by the scruff of the neck and refuse to be intimidated.
And while the cabin itself is very nicely finished, with comfortable (if low) seats, beautiful upholstery, and most of Mercedes-Benz's latest infotainment and connectivity gear, the ride can be a bit rough over anything but perfectly smooth pavement.
Aside from the sacrifices you'll make in most supercars regarding ride quality, there are few other sacrifices to make. In the SLS AMG GT Roadster, that's especially true, with some of the performance-only compromises dialed back a half-notch and the luxury and style quotients turned up to 11. The switch from gullwing doors to normal side-opening doors alone makes ingress and egress much easier and more comfortable in the Roadster.
Like most other modern Mercedes-Benzes, the SLS AMG GT range's infotainment and other functions are controlled through the COMAND interface in the central display. While the COMAND system isn't as futuristic in appearance as some competitors' solutions, it's relatively easy to use and learn, with a simple control knob-and-buttons interface and consistent menu structure.
The SLS AMG GT hasn't been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), but it is built with a super-rigid structure for performance, and is put through the same engineering analyses and internal requirements of every other Mercedes-Benz vehicle-and has its own host of standard safety equipment as well.
As with any supercar, if you're looking for great gas mileage, you'll want to look elsewhere. Official figures for the 2015 SLS AMG GT haven't been released yet, but with the same powertrain as the 2014 model, it will almost certainly rate the same as well: 13 mpg city, 19 mpg highway, and 15 mpg combined for the coupe and roadster; the Black Series comes in at 13/17/14 mpg.
As the last opportunity to buy a new SLS AMG GT, the 350 units of Final Edition production will reach showrooms in March 2014, so if you want to be on that list, you might want to put your order in now.