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2015 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Final Edition REVIEW

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 4/4/2017

Con: Gullwing doors are hard to close; cockpit is snug for taller drivers; twitchy handling at the limit.

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Interior: Style has its price, and that's made evident with the SLS AMG GT coupe's famous gullwing doors. The door opening itself is fairly generous, but the wide doorsill forces passengers to slide awkwardly over it to reach their seats. Closing the doors also requires a long vertical stretch to reach. The roadster's doors are conventionally hinged, though not nearly as cool.

The SLS's interior leads most to assume that Mercedes-Benz pulled out all the stops for this special undertaking. Nearly every panel is covered in flawless leather or carbon fiber, while the diamond-stitched upholstery lends a flashy but classy impression. Switchgear is typical for current Mercedes vehicles, with a sturdy and upmarket look and feel.

Both body styles suffer from compromised outward visibility, though the roadster's small rear window and reduced headroom further obscure the view. The triple-layer fabric top does stow in a quick 11 seconds, though. The sporty seats offer an abundance of lateral support, yet are comfortable enough over long distances, but road tripping is limited by the small 6-cubic-foot trunk capacity. It takes some wrestling, but a set of golf clubs or small suitcases can fit.

Body: The 2015 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Final Edition is available as either a two-seat coupe (with those unique gullwing doors) or as a roadster with conventional doors. Standard features include alloy wheels (19-inch up front and 20-inch for the rear), an exposed carbon-fiber hood, front splitter and fixed rear spoiler, a limited-slip differential, adaptive suspension dampers, bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, keyless ignition/entry, auto-dimming and power-folding mirrors, a blind spot monitoring system, front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera.

On the inside you'll find dual-zone automatic climate control, heated eight-way power front seats (with power lumbar and bolster adjustments), driver memory settings, leather upholstery, the COMAND electronics interface, Bluetooth, voice control, a navigation system and a six-speaker sound system with a six-CD changer, satellite radio, an iPod interface and auxiliary and USB audio jacks.

The SLS AMG roadster adds a three-layer power-folding soft top, a removable wind deflector and the AirScarf neck-level heating system.

Options include several different forged alloy wheels, carbon-ceramic brakes, various carbon-fiber exterior and interior trim pieces, AMG Performance Media (onboard telemetry that displays performance data and lap times on the COMAND screen) and an 11-speaker Bang & Olufsen surround-sound audio system. A variety of optional AMG "designo" packages offer numerous interior color combinations, upgraded leather and carbon-fiber or aluminum trim on the dashboard and center console.

Driving: The 2015 SLS AMG GT Final Edition elicits a wide variety of emotions from drivers. In straight-line acceleration, startled excitement easily takes over seasoned pilots as they're pinned to the seatbacks. The massive V8 engine roars with uncommon bravado, and a quick cough and thud accompany every gearshift. In the everyday commute, the SLS is reasonably well mannered, though its abruptness does take some getting used to. By supercar standards, it's one of the more comfortable choices for longer distances. With the suspension and drive settings in comfort modes, it is far more willing to smooth over ruts and bumps.

We were lucky enough to spend nearly a year with an SLS AMG Roadster as part of our Long-Term test fleet. At the end, we were so impressed that it earned a coveted Edmunds "A" rating. But when the road begins to bend the SLS's shortcomings become apparent. The combination of abundant torque and abrupt handling characteristics at the limit make it a handful in hard cornering. Disabling the traction and stability controls is a task best left to the brave or foolhardy. It feels more like a beast tugging at its chain rather than a balanced and athletic supercar, and has a tendency to terrify drivers and passengers alike.

In any case, the 2015 SLS AMG GT Final Edition is inspiring to drive and a fitting send-off to the model. Of course, Mercedes-Benz wouldn't simply sunset the SLS without a proper successor, and the 2016 AMG GT might not be as theatrical as the SLS, but it promises to be sharper performer at a significantly lower price.

What’s New: The SLS AMG GT rides off into the sunset, as it's set to be replaced by the 2016 AMG GT. Only 350 examples of the Final Edition will be offered worldwide, and it receives a few cosmetic flourishes to distinguish itself from the previous year.

Powering the rear-wheel-drive 2015 SLS AMG GT is a 6.3-liter V8 engine that produces 583 hp and 479 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual mounted over the rear wheels is the only available transmission. In Edmunds testing, the Roadster version sprinted to 60 mph in only 4.0 seconds.

Fuel economy is understandably poor, with the EPA estimating only 15 mpg combined (13 city/19 highway) for either the coupe or convertible. But most other rival sports cars are similar.

Safety: Standard safety features for the SLS AMG GT include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, side airbags, side curtain airbags (the roadster substitutes these with taller side airbags), knee airbags and a blind spot monitoring system. Also standard is Mercedes-Benz's "mbrace" emergency telematics system, which includes automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location assistance, alarm notification, remote lock/unlock and a variety of other app-based services.

In Edmunds testing, an SLS AMG GT roadster with the standard brakes stopped from 60 mph in 113 feet, which is longer than normal for this class of car. In previous testing, a 2011 SLS AMG coupe with the carbon-ceramic brakes stopped from 60 mph in an exceptionally short 98 feet.

Pro: Awesome V8 engine and exhaust note; luxurious interior with easy-to-use controls; coupe's exotic gullwing door design.

Edmunds Say: The 2015 SLS AMG GT Final Edition marks the end of the line for a raw and raucous supercar. With blatant power, heritage-based styling and a near flawless interior, it sets a high bar for its replacement.

Introduction: When the Mercedes-Benz 300SL debuted in the early 1950s, it caused quite a stir with its gullwing doors and race-bred performance. Some 60 years later, Mercedes revived that spirit in the form of the SLS AMG. With breathtaking power from a burly V8 tucked beneath a seemingly endless hood, the SLS was an instant hit. But after a five-year run, the SLS is headed to retirement.

For its last hurrah, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT receives the "Final Edition" moniker, along with special leather upholstery, carbon-fiber exterior elements and unique wheels. Only 350 Final Edition examples will be made available worldwide. Mechanically, the SLS AMG GT Final Edition is identical to the previous year's car. It's offered as either the coupe or as a convertible, both of which are powered by a hand-built 6.3-liter V8 engine that churns out an impressive 583 horsepower. Straight-line performance is awe-inspiring, but when it comes to handling, the SLS is demanding and tricky, even for the most seasoned of drivers.

Inside, the SLS has always featured a sporty interpretation of the luxurious Mercedes interior. The two-seat cabin is covered in top-notch materials that are as enticing to the eyes as they are to the touch. Race-inspired carbon fiber and simulated suede trim elements further enhance the experience.

As the last of the breed, the 2015 SLS AMG GT Final Edition will certainly have no shortage of wealthy suitors lining up to purchase one. For the price, however, there are other exotic coupes and roadsters that may also be considered. The all-new 2015 McLaren 650S and 2015 Lamborghini Huracan are fresher options alongside mainstays like the Aston Martin Vanquish, Bentley Continental GT Speed and Ferrari 458 Italia. But for the sheer theater and fury that supercars of this ilk provide, the 2015 SLS AMG GT Final Edition is still one of the best for making a grand entrance (or getaway).

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