Don't let the three-pointed star on the hood bother you. This roadster is not a purebred Mercedes. Let's just say this: a close relative, based on an SL-class car. Before us is the product of the "court" tuning studio (AMG). That is, a company that finalizes and improves serial equipment with the approval and direct participation of the manufacturer. However, the proud title of “tuning studio” in this case is not at all what we are used to. The alliance with Mercedes implies a different scale: the staff is about 600 employees and the output is about 20, 000 cars per year. It is rather a tuning mini-factory, rather than workshops familiar to us. Only one parameter will immediately be appreciated by domestic tuning experts - the cost of a roadster from AMG is almost two times higher than the base model. So, the factory price of the Mercedes-SL350 is about 75 thousand euros, and the SL55 AMG will cost the buyer at least 125 thousand.
SPORT OR FITNESS
Before evaluating the work of AMG, we take into account that in this case they are improving not “consumer goods”, but such an expensive and perfect car as “Mercedes”. Not only that, they are trying to make the roadster even more “hot”, already at the factory it received the title of a sports model with appropriate appearance and filling.
Perhaps this explains such a modest intervention in the design of the car. Tuning “Mercedes” differs from its SL family members in exclusive 18-inch wheels, a different shape of thresholds, the inscription “V8 compressor” on the front fenders, slightly changed fog lamps. And the lower part of the front bumper has been adjusted and the air intake has been increased, a characteristic cutout is made in the rear bumper, covered with a mesh, and trunks are added to the exhaust system. If the outstanding engine capabilities of the factory Mercedes engine are demonstrated by two chrome-plated muzzle, the AMG flaunts two twin.
Even more modest is the interior refinement: the plastic visor of the instrument cluster is covered in suede so as not to glare in the windshield; the dials themselves became light, received silver trim and red hands. The center console is decorated with high-tech aluminum accents. One more innovation is felt not so much with the eye as with the body: sports seats upholstered in expensive leather. In general, despite the sporty focus, AMG has not lost Mercedes luxury. Power and everything, climate control, navigation system, expensive audio system, a hard roof that automatically fits into the trunk and other branded symbols of prosperity and comfort remained with him. So what are we paying for?
Of course, for the filling. Under the hood - a modified AMG V-shaped 5.5-liter "eight", equipped with a volumetric supercharger with a mechanical drive. The engine produces 368 kW / 500 l. with. and maximum torque of 700 N.m! With it, an almost two-ton roadster accelerates to hundreds in 4.7 seconds, and up to 200 km / h in just 16.1. Another worthy unit is the automatic five-speed adaptive AMG automatic machine - Speed-shift. One of its modes provides manual control - buttons on the steering wheel, almost like in racing formulas.
A sports car with Mercedes roots is equipped with a host of systems that make life easier for the driver. Here and brakes with electro-hydraulic control (SBC), and electronic stability control (ESP), and active suspension (ABC). In general, we are not talking about Spartan equipment. In this case, sports should probably be interpreted as an easy fitness in addition to comfort and luxury.
ACCELERATING UNDER THE SILENCERS BASS
To criticize the ergonomics of the Mercedes, albeit a modified AMG, is a thankless task. The seat and steering wheel adjustment range is unusually wide and allows you to quickly find a comfortable position. The only thing that somehow does not fit with the ideology of the car for an active driver is leather upholstery. The back and pillow seem to be comfortable, the lateral supports tightly fix the body, but still somehow slippery and not very comfortable.
However, it is worth starting the engine, as any extraneous thoughts disappear. For the sound that the engine emits from AMG is incomparable even at idle. If there was a nomination “the most American sound in a European car”, then AMG would definitely get it. The booming rumble immediately causes associations with overseas militants and legendary space eaters - “Mustangs”, “Corvettes”, “Camaro” and “Vipers”. And on the go, the slightest movement of the accelerator pedal AMG responds with sharp acceleration with a characteristic voice acting. At first, it even seems that the roar is too loud and after a while it will tire. But no, having traveled long enough, you see - just a couple of decibels would have been too much. And so - delight for the ear, not causing irritation.
Naturally, AMG most willingly demonstrates its capabilities on a smooth German autobahn. It is there, moving at a speed of 180 km / h, you can lightly press the pedal to shoot up to 250, leaving other cars far behind. However, AMG is also not bad on a winding mountain path full of "mother tongues". Of course, the dash from one “plug” to another, accompanied by intensive taxiing, is not his element, but he also copes with turns with dignity. I also liked the algorithm of the adaptive “automaton”.
Having adapted to the driver’s manner, he allowed to take turns, varying traction on the driving wheels, without fear that the gear would shift at the most crucial moment.
Of course, AMG can be criticized. But everything is relative. A short trip to the SL350 and SL600 dotted the i. The first one immediately after the transplant with AMG seems frankly sluggish, and yet it has a 3.5-liter engine with “only” 245 liters of power. with. Even more interesting is the comparison with the "six hundredth" itself. Its V-shaped 12-cylinder engine develops the same 500 liters. with. that the AMG motor, but gives more torque. The numbers say that acceleration to a hundred for both cars is the same - 4.7 s. But subjective sensations SL55 AMG seems more nimble. In the corners, “six hundredth” is also slightly inferior to AMG. It seems a little less collected and a little more straightforward. This is a consequence of more weight and a different weight distribution: the V12 engine is heavier than the V8.