Exotic car; Built in Germany
  • 2-door convertible
  • 2-door coupe
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $140,000 – $350,000*

2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Front

2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Rear

2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Interior

2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Front-2

2011 Merceds-Benz SLS AMG Profile

2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Interior-2

2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Profile-2

  • Acceleration
  • Interior materials
  • Steering/handling
  • Entry/exit
  • Passenger and cargo room
  • Ride quality

It’s difficult to justify any car in the exotic class on the basis of value, but the SLS AMG seems more “challenged” in this regard than most. Yet it’s hard to argue that the gull-wing, retro-look SLS doesn’t stand out in this very opulent crowd, and in this price strata, that counts for a lot.


Mercedes-Benz had long been known as a purveyor of expensive luxury cars, but the SLS AMG, introduced for 2011, took “expensive” to a new level. Starting at $183,000 — nearly twice that of the company’s famed SL roadster — the SLS AMG was clearly in exotic territory. And it looked the part. Its long nose covered a 563-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 engine mated to a seven-speed automated-manual transmission, and its unique gull-wing doors (mimicking those of the famed SL coupes of the 1950s) opened to an opulent two-passenger cockpit. There was only one trim level, and all the expected luxury accoutrements were standard. Options were limited to upgraded leather upholstery, extended carbon-fiber trim, an up-level sound system, sport suspension, ceramic brake discs, and unique wheels. At its lofty price, the SLS AMG played against other exotics such as the Aston Martin DB9 and DBS, Audi A8, Bentley Continental GT, Maserati GranTurismo, and Porsche 911.

Yearly Updates

2012 SLS AMG
A two-seat convertible was added to the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG lineup. It had a power-folding soft top and included Mercedes’ AIRSCARF, which provided heated air via high-mounted vents in the seat backs.
The car’s name switched to SLS AMG GT for the 2013 model year. It also added 20 horsepower, and the 7-speed automated-manual transmission and adaptive suspension were recalibrated. Exterior changes included blackened headlights and taillights, new 10-spoke wheels with matte black inserts, red brake calipers, and gloss black on the grille, exterior mirrors, and hood and fender fins. Inside, it received red seat belts, red accent stitching, and expanded Alcantara faux-suede interior trim. Blind-spot alert was also new.
The big news for 2014 was the addition of a limited-edition SLS AMG Black Series model. It had a host of high-performance upgrades including a 622-horsepower 6.2-liter V8.


longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive

The main powertrain offered in the rear-drive SLS AMG was a 563-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 mated to a seven-speed automated-manual transmission. The new-for-2014 SLS AMG Black Series used a modified version of the 6.2-liter V8 with 622 horsepower.

dohc V81
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 6.2/379
Engine HP 563
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 479
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
7-speed automated manual



dohc V82
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 6.2/379
Engine HP 622
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 468
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
7-speed automated manual


1. SLS AMG, SLS AMG GT. 2. SLS AMG Black Series

Road Test

The SLS AMG typifies the “Iron fist in a velvet glove.” Acceleration is vivid from any speed, aided by a quick-shifting transmission that included steering-wheel-mounted paddles for manual control.

Not that it probably matters in this type of car, but the SLS AMG returned fairly decent fuel economy for such a high-powered car: 17.8 mpg in our tests, which included a mix of city/highway driving. Premium fuel is required.

Suspension tuning is aimed more at performance driving than luxury touring, though three settings (Comfort, Sport, and Sport+) allow the driver to vary the amount of stiffness. Still, even the Comfort setting provides a fairly stiff ride while allowing some unwanted body movement, making our drivers prefer the Sport setting.

In coupes, at least, road and wind noise are fairly well muted. We have had no opportunity to test a convertible. Like the suspension, the exhaust note leans toward the sporty side, with a raw, aggressive note.

While the gull-wing doors are novel, they don’t help ingress and egress, which is made even harder by the wide door sills. Low-set seats don’t help, either, and shorter drivers may have difficulty reaching the door handle. Once inside, accommodations are snug. On the positive side, passengers are greeted by an interior awash with classy, high-end materials that appear to be assembled with care. Some audio and climate controls are shared with other Mercedes models. That’s bad from the standpoint that many are complicated and require familiarization, but better if you’re moving out of a “lesser” Mercedes and you’re already used to them. In either event, some drivers complained that the steering wheel blocked the tops of the gauges, and accessing the climate controls required an awkward reach over the shift lever.

Opening the small trunk lid reveals a tiny cargo area with a floor that has creases and depressions rather than being flat. As such, it’s best for soft luggage — and not very much of it. Cabin storage is likewise meager, consisting of a glovebox, map pockets, and three small console bins.


Model Tested: 2012 SLS AMG coupe

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 10
Fuel Economy - 4
Ride Quality - 4
Steering/Handling - 8
Quietness - 5


Controls/Materials - 8
Room/Comfort Front - 5
Room/Comfort Rear - -
Cargo Room - 2


Value - 4

Total: 50


2-door convertible
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
105.5 NA NA NA
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
6.1 NA 2
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
105.5 NA NA NA
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
6.2 NA 2
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.1 41.7
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2011 Not tested 2-door coupe


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots


Recall History

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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