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Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: Buying guide and review (2010-2015)

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: Buying guide and review (2010-2015) Classic and Performance Car
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
We’ve always been suckers for a classically configured big-capacity V8, and the SLS’s is one of the best. Even on a light-throttle overrun, it rumbles and crackles like distant thunder and lightning. The mighty 6.2 was, of course, the first designed-from-scratch AMG engine – the original made its debut in the E63 supersaloon in 507bhp tune. Thoroughly re-engineered for the SLS, with 120 unique parts and a dry-sump oil system, the net result was a mighty 563bhp.
Prodigious power and an evocative soundscape aren’t the only things that give the SLS its unique sense of drama. The gullwing doors, harking back to the legendary 300SL of the 1950s, endow it with genuine supercar presence. The SLS was also the first car to be designed and built from the ground-up by AMG, and the last with a naturally aspirated engine. For these reasons, it has always had future classic written all over it.
All that power feeds through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox with several driving modes to sharpen its responses. However, even using the ‘Race Start’ launch control, evo magazine couldn’t match Mercedes’ claim of 0-62mph in 3.8sec, though 0-60 in 4.1 is hardly to be sniffed at. The SLS backed up its immense performance with terrific all-round ability – and usability. When it was tested against a range of rivals, including Aston’s V12 Vantage, Ferrari’s 599 HGTE and Porsche’s 911 Turbo S, the Merc’s broad range of talents won the day.

Which SLS to buy?

Sales started in mid-2010, and a Roadster with a powered fabric top followed roughly a year later. The drop-top SLS lost the gullwing doors and thus a little of its appeal, but none of its all-round brilliance. The immensely rigid aluminium structure was key here – both outer body and main structure are aluminium, another first for a Mercedes. 
An up-specced GT version arrived towards the end of 2012, available in coupe or Roadster body styles. A 20bhp power hike to 583bhp knocked a tenth off the claimed 0-62mph time and was accompanied by tweaks to the transmission and suspension, new trim options and some extra toys. 
In 2013 came the even rarer, stripped-out, carbon-slathered and ferociously expensive Black Series with a near race-spec 622bhp engine. For the last few months of production in 2014 there was a GT Final Edition, featuring some of the Black’s carbonfibre battledress. Again, rare and expensive. 
But the regular SLS coupe has bags of appeal, tons of character and a winning combination of supercar performance and GT levels of refinement.

Performance and specs

Engine V8, 6208cc
Power 563bhp @ 6800rpm  
Torque 479lb ft @ 4750rpm  
Transmission Seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox
0-62mph 3.8sec (claimed)  
Top speed 197mph (limited)
Insurance group 50

Dimensions and weight

Wheelbase 2680mm
Length 4638mm
Width 1939mm
Height 1262mm
Weight 1620kg

Common problems

• Most SLSs will be out of the original three-year manufacturer’s warranty, so you might want to consider a Mercedes-Benz extended warranty or a third-party alternative (budget £1000-1500 annually, depending on the level of cover). 
• That said, the powertrain is well-proven and is so far proving immune to major maladies. Nigel Seopardie at independent Mercedes specialist NJS Solutions describes them as ‘bulletproof’. Simon Gregg at Bramley Motor Cars knows a car with 100,000 miles with no apparent issues.
• The M159 engine is a close relation of the M156, which appears in a number of AMG models and over the years has proved generally trouble-free, provided it has regular (usually annual or 10,000-mile) oil-changes with the recommended Mobil 1. 
• The valve-gear problems that afflict some M156s don’t appear to be an issue here. Servicing costs are reasonable for a car with this level of performance, and servicing can be carried out by any official Mercedes dealership as well as by specialists with the latest Star diagnostics.
• The Speedshift DCT transmission is a recalibrated version of the Getrag twin-clutch transaxle used in the Ferrari California and 458, joined to the engine by a carbonfibre propshaft. As with the engine, it’s proving robust and largely issue-free.
• On the test drive, auto shifting should be virtually seamless. Check all the paddle-actuated changes, both up and down the ’box, and the modes that sharpen the response. 
• The changes were never the slickest when the SLS was new, and if the car has had the AMG factory software upgrade, that’s a definite plus. Any clutch glitches can usually been cured by resetting the clutch-positioning sensors and updating the software.
• Clutch life can be checked via diagnostics, and with replacements costing several thousand pounds, this would be wise. A specialist like NJS Solutions will carry out a full inspection for around £300.
• Most SLSs feature iron discs, but carbon-ceramics were an option – and add considerable value today. As ever, they’re fiercely expensive to replace, so it’s essential to get them inspected, particularly if the car has been used on track.
• The standard wheels were a seven-spoke design, while five-twin-spoke and ten-spoke forged rims were options – all should be checked for damage on both the outside and inside edges. 
• No corrosion issues as yet, so you’re looking for signs of accident repairs and also for stone-chipping on the nose and sills. Inspect the gullwing door alignment and all the surrounding panel gaps: adjustment is tricky, even for a specialist.
• Ensure all the electronics work and there are no warning lights, as rectification can be extremely costly. And if you’re not particularly tall, check that you can reach the door to close it from the driver’s seat!

The rivals

Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano – Closest in concept to the SLS. Its front-mounted naturally aspirated 6-litre V12 produces 611bhp, giving 0-60mph in 3.5sec and a top speed of 205mph. Currently from around £100k.
Porsche 911 Turbo S (991.1) – With its 552bhp twin-turbo flat-six, PDK ’box and 4WD, the Turbo S is phenomenally quick (0-62mph in 3.1sec, 197mph) and still the most useable supercar of all. From around £100k.
McLaren 12C – One of the fastest and most sophisticated sports cars ever built, the 592bhp (later 612bhp), 200mph+ 12C is currently priced from £100k and makes for a fantastic first McLaren.

Owners clubs, forums and websites

• mbclub.co.uk
• mbworld.org
• mercedes-amg.com
• mercedes-benz.co.uk
• njs-solutions.com
• ddrsurrey.co.uk

Summary and prices

Having dropped to as low as £90k, values rose sharply last year and have generally stayed strong. Dealer prices currently start at around £140k, rising to £170k for the very best low-mileage examples with desirable options such as ceramic brakes and the B&O hi-fi. Coupes tend to fetch more than equivalent convertibles. Also be aware that Japanese imports are starting to creep into the UK market and should be priced lower. GTs are a lot more (£225,000-plus), Ultimate Editions more still, and as for the Black Series, if you have to ask…

Words: Peter Tomalin
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
Last updated: 23rd Feb 2017
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Mercedes-Benz SLS
139950 199995 GBP
  • MERCEDES-BENZ SLS SLS 63 2dr Auto Semi-Auto

    £189,980 £189,980

    Type: Used Year: 2011 Make: MERCEDES-BENZ Model: SLS Trim: SLS 63 2dr Auto Semi-Auto Body: Coupe Trans: Semi Automatic Mileage: 18603 Engine Size: 6208 Ext Color: Silver

    • Mileage: 18603 mi
    • Engine size: 6208
    For sale
    £189,980 £189,980
    Mercedes-Benz of Birmingham - Used Cars
    01215146763 View contact number

    £149,950 £149,950

    Comand including Satellite Navigation AMG Carbon Fibre/Piano Black Trim Reversing Camera Blind Spot Assist Interior Mirror and Drivers Exterior Mirror Automatic Dimming Memory Package AMG Performance Steering Wheel Airscarf Tyre Pressure Monitoring Electrically Folding Mirrors Media Interface Roof Liner in Dinamica Black AMG Spoke Alloys Beautiful Condition Air Conditioning Delivery Available Financing Available Full Service History

    • Year: 2011
    • Mileage: 10000 mi
    For sale
    £149,950 £149,950
  • Mercedes - Benz SLS AMG Coupe

    £149,950 £149,950

    The Mercedes-Benz SLS “Sport Leicht Super” AMG is a front engined, two seat luxury sports car developed by AMG as a direct replacement for the SLR McLaren. The SLS was launched at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show as a spiritual successor to the 300SL ‘Gullwing'. The SLS was assembled largely by hand with the chassis and aluminium body shell produced by Magna Styer in Graz, Austria before being transferred to Sindelfingen Germany for assembly. The elegant, long bonnet, sculpted sides and the short yet muscular rear section make the SLS an outstandingly beautiful car. Powered by 6.2 litre V8 engine that propels the SLS AMG to a top speed of 197mph and allowing you to blast from 0-62mph in a mere 3.8 seconds. A plethora of active safety measures, from the Electronic Stability Programme to auto-dimming rear lights, help keep the driver stable, comfortable and focused on the road ahead. The Mercedes Benz SLS AMG Coupe offered here at Hofmann’s is a 2011 “60 plate” which has covered a mere 18239 miles. Finished in Imola Grey Metallic with Black leather interior. This stunning SLS boasts a comprehensive Mercedes main dealer service history having been carried out most recently by JCT600 Merc

    For sale
    £149,950 £149,950
  • Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupe |

    £175,850 £175,850

    Specification MAKE Mercedes-Benz MODEL SLS AMG Coupe COLOUR Designo Blue Metallic with Porcelain Single Tone Hide Interior YEAR 2010/10 MILEAGE 9000 DESCRIPTION We are delighted to be able to offer for sale this stunning Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG presented in Designo Daytona Blue with Single Tone Porcelain Hide Interior. This example has had a total of just two registered keepers and comes with a comprehensive history file. Supplied with our 12 months written warranty and a fresh MOT. STANDARD EQUIPMENT Anti Locking Brakes, Driver and Passenger Airbags, Daytime Running Lights, Auto-Dimming Rear View Mirror, Electrically Adjustable Front Seating with Memory Function, Luxury Climate Control, COMAND APS Navigation System, Tyre Pressure Monitoring, Electrically Folding Exterior Door Mirrors, Anti-Theft Alarm, Media Interface, Headlamp Wash, Bi-Xenon Headlamps, Head Lining in Alcantara, AMG Aluminium Trim, Adaptive Brake Lights, Remote Central Locking with Alarm/Immobiliser, Heated Seats, Cruise Control, Electric Windows, Keyless Go, 6 Disc CD Changer, Rain-Sensing Wipers, Bluetooth Connectivity. OPTIONAL EXTRAS Designo Porcelain Single Tone Hide Interior, Designo Daytona Blue 950, Reversin

    • Mileage: 175850 mi
    For sale
    £175,850 £175,850

    £149,950 £149,950

    19'/20' AMG 5-Twin-Spoke Alloys Finished In Black AMG Interior Carbon Fibre Package Reversing Camera With Guidance Lines Telephone Pre-Wiring With Hands Free Facility Bi-Xenon Headlights Exterior Mirrors Electrically Folding And Auto Dimming Electric Drivers Seats With Memory Function COMAND APS With Navigation Media Interface Black Alcantara Roof Lining Luxury Automatic Climate Control Enhanced Anti-theft System DAB Radio Stunning Delivery Available Financing Available Full Service History

    • Year: 2011
    • Mileage: 31000 mi
    For sale
    £149,950 £149,950
  • Mercedes-Benz SLS

    £164,994 £164,994

    Variant name:AMG Roadster ,Variant: Performance Studio Limited Edition SLS 63 2dr Auto Performance Studio Limited Edition! 1 of 6 Ever Made. Designo Mystic White 2, Designo Black Leather Interior, Garage Door Opener ( Integrated in rear view Mirror ), Daytime Running Lights, AMG Performance Steering Wheel, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, Exterior Mirrors Electrically Folding, AMG Carbon Fibre Exterior Mirrors, Fire Extinguisher, Red Brake Calipers, Reverse Parking Camera, Automatically Dimming Rear View Mirror & Wing Mirrors, Electric Driver & Passenger Seat, Airscarf, Heated Seats, Switchable Driving Modes, Paddleshift, Satin Black Alloy Wheels & Exterior Trim, DAB Digital Radio, Bluetooth Phone, AMG Interior Centre Console Trim,

    • Year: 2012
    • Mileage: 9100 mi
    • Engine size: 6.2
    For sale
    £164,994 £164,994
  • Mercedes Benz SLS AMG Roadster


    2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster 6.3 This front-engine, 2-seater luxury, limited production supercar developed by Mercedes-AMG and was the first Mercedes-Benz automobile designed in-house by AMG. This beautiful SLS AMG Roadster, was the successor to the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and was described by Mercedes-Benz as a spiritual successor to the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing. SLS stands for “Sport Leicht Super” (Sport Light Super). Assembled largely by hand, with its chassis and aluminium body shell produced by Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria and then transferred to Sindelfingen, Germany for assembly. The engine being hand built by AMG in Affalterbach, Germany This stunning car has only travelled 5,670 miles and it is available for viewing at our showroom in Kew, London. Optional extras fitted to this car: Designo Mystic White II (048M) 19″ AMG Twin Spoke (764) AMG Black High-Gloss Trim (H80)

    • Mileage: 5670 mi
    • Engine size: 6200
    For sale

    £145,995 £145,995

    This is One Owner Car From New, Mercedes SLS 2011/61 Plate, Finshed in Metalliac Obsidian Black With Two Red Black Designo Leather Interior also AMG Carbon Fibre Interior, Upgrades 20" AMG 10 Spoke Forged Alloy Wheels, Graphite Brake Calipers, Blind Spot Assist, Telephone Pre-Wiring with Hands-Free Facility, AMG Carbon Fibre Mirrors, Trim, Tracker Anti-Theft System, Full dealership history, Standard Features, COMAND Online System with 7-Inch Colour Display, Hard Disk Drive (HDD) Map Navigation System, Heated Front Seats, Linguatronic Voice Control, Luxury Automatic Climate Control Two Zone, with Digital Display, Parktronic , Audible and Visual Parking Aid, Front and Rear, Alarm System, Drivers and Front Passenger Seats - Electrically Adjustable with Memory, Electric Windows (2), Keyless Go, Radio/CD/DVD Changer (6 - Disc)/MP3 Compatibility/SD Memory Card Slot/AUX IN/USB and iPod Connectivity, Display, Rain - Sensing Wipers, Tyre Pressure Loss Warning System, Just had A Full Serviced at AMG Mercedes Guildford at 21000. ;;145995.00 P/X Welcome ONE OWNER CAR FROM NEW

    • Mileage: 21000 mi
    • Engine size: 6.208
    For sale
    £145,995 £145,995