Monday, February 8, 2010

Virtual Test Drive - 2009 SL65 AMG Black

2009 Mercedes SL65 AMG Black
Power - 661hp
Torque - 738lb/ft
Weight - 4215lbs
Top Speed - 189mph

PI Class - A548

Ladera Full - 56.979
Quarter Mile - 12.864
Kaido Stage
C - 2:03.886

I must say that I went into this really expecting to dislike this car. I have never been a fan of Mercedes and I just cannot get behind their idea of just adding horsepower to make a car “sporty” without bothering with weight or balance. I must say that within the first twenty seconds or so, I was eating crow…and I loved it. The car supremely agile and much more balanced than you would think with a car that heavy and with over 700 pound-feet of torque. There is pretty bad turbo lag that you really feel before four thousand RPMs, but it usually is not a big deal. It did catch me off guard a couple of times in the middle of a corner in Ladera, but you learn how to feel the car fairly quickly. Once those turbos kick in, the power just doesn’t stop until it is time to shift again. With all the torque though, you have to be careful of either burning the tires off the rims or ending up backward, at 100 miles an hour, going toward a wall. Again, the stock tires really hurt the quarter mile time as all that torque, and turbo lag, really made it hard to modulate wheelspin. And the car also was pleasantly surprising in the Kaido downhill section. Although it is super tight, and the car is fairly heavy, it handled incredibly well and was an absolute blast to drive at its limit.

Next comes the most controversial part, which is the look of the car. Honesty, I really do not like it. I feel the wheels are too big and it really lends a “cartoony” look to the car. I know I am in the minority here, but I honestly do not like the style of the car at all. The little wing on the back just doesn’t fit with the rest of the styling of the car and it just feels like there is no cohesive “theme” that flows through the car. Mercedes, and especially the AMG tuned models, really were always about the style of subdued power. You know they were insanely powerful, but they never looked that way. This car breaks that mold, and not in a good way. Nothing on the car fits together. If they were to remove the wing and lower the rims to maybe 17s, I think the car would look much better. Right now it still looks too much like a German version of a boy racer.

All in all, the car surprised me in many ways. I expected it to be barely drivable and a handful, however it was anything but. Yes, it will attempt to kill you if you stop paying attention but it rewards good driving with an absolute thrill. It has one of the best sounding engines and you just cannot keep a grin off your face as you scream it around each corner.

(Note: Click the photos to view them in full resolution)

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