Chasing a Mercedes SLS AMG prototype

Published: 27 April 2009

Had some fun chasing a disguised Mercedes SLS AMG prototype on the recent Porsche GT3 launch. As we turned around for some cornering shots the stealthy black coupe whizzed by – and we took chase.

And what did we learn about the SLS from the chase? Firstly, it’s fast. Easily a match for the GT3 we were driving. Secondly – the car disguises its dimensions well. It’s long and narrow, with an odd – but not unattractive extended snout. Also, the grafted-on rear spoiler of the prototype clearly points to some kind of pop-up version on the finished car.

And the noise! Following it at moderate speeds the SLS simply burbled – but when it took off it sounded like no other road car I’ve ever heard. Bassy but mechanical is one way to describe it; complicated, multi-layered and aggressive is another. The noise was definitely V8 – but old V8, not new.

It actually sounded like an old Silver Arrow – which makes me wonder if Mercedes has not only styled this car to look like an old racer, but its also tuned the exhausts to sound like one too. I hope so, because that noise will go some way towards justifying the proposed £135,000 asking price.

Sure, the world might not ready for a 563bhp V8 Merc at the moment, but when the SLS prototype driver gave it full throttle the petrolhead in me went a little weak at the knees.

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