50 YEARS OF AMG — IV
The outstanding SLS, and the ‘45’ line
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 gullwing doors was a monster waiting to be unleashed.
The M156 V8, the 6,208-cc naturally-aspirated brute of a baritone motor, made headlines in the AMG ‘63’ line-up with between 457 and 525 PS. The M159, on the other hand, was dry-sumped and turned up to 571 PS in the SLS; the first car indigenously developed by AMG. 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-oftime engineering and detail, including its famous gullwing 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 SLS 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 conventionallyhinged 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.
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.
Natural M159 V8 in the SLS AMG GT made all of 591 PS and 650 Nm Some characters speak volumes
A customer SLS AMG GT3 in action at the 24 hours of Brno
Testing AMG’s own home-grown V8 is a hot-bed of activity. And it can get seriously hot! Extreme 631-PS SLS AMG Black Series saw the V8’s ability maxxed
The power of volts should never be underestimated