Mercedes AMGs v Goodwood – part five of five
Sean goes back to where he started with the SLS Roadster to show knowledge is power and then gets brought back down to earth again with a bump. Literally…*
*OK, it wasn’t him!
Going full circle
For the final instalment of my AMG extravaganza I finish my day in the vehicle in which I started: the SLS Roadster. Having got up to speed with the technical aspects of learning the track, I could get up to speed in the car.
Pedalling the SLS along at a much increased pace than I was around six hours earlier, the whole chassis feels much more alive. It's a seriously moreish car. That bonnet is so long – it’s like a modern day E-type in terms of its proportions – and you sit as far back towards the rear axle as possible, giving great feel through the seat of your pants, as well as sensational balance thanks to its front-mid-engined layout.
One of the main points of any driving experience in an AMG Mercedes is noise. With a little less soundproofing over the Coupé due to the cloth roof, the SLS Roadster’s deep resonant blare from the naturally aspirated 571hp 6.2-litre V8 is plain awesome.
If you played this through your car’s speakers or in your home, you’d get an ASBO.
It cracks on demand with a flick of the right hand paddle, initiating an upshift from the impressively smooth seven-speed double-clutch ‘box, and pops with a roll of the throttle or a few judicious down changes sending the motor spinning back up the rev range.
There’s a fair old induction howl too – it’s a real mechanical sound that plain exudes menace inside and out, just like the Black Series.
We’ve touched on the new 5.5-litre BiTurbo V8 bearing the same character as the big-bore 6.2, and that it’s just a touch more muted in its cry due to the addition of two turbochargers to its exhaust. But it’s this that gives the turbocharged SL and E 63 their distinguishing huge-lunged performance.
If you opt for the power pack in the SL, you’ll have an astonishing 663lb ft of torque to try and turn the drive shafts into a spiral. But just like the larger and arguably crisper engine in the SLS (due to its naturally aspirated nature), there’s still enough noise fired out of those square quad tailpipes to fool wildlife into thinking there’s a serious seismic event on the way.
Leave it to the professionals
By chance Mercedes has also wheeled out its AMG Driving Academy founder and FIA GT racer Thomas Jager for a few hot laps.
It’s this guy’s day job to hustle an SLS AMG GT3 racer around and having won the previous weekend – as well as leading the Nürburgring 24 hours until a few hours from the end when a suspension damper failed – he’s bloody fast.
Forget how fast you think you can drive a car – this guy can go faster. He’s happy to be in an SLS Coupé too, as it actually has more power than his racecar. With carbon-ceramic discs compared to Jager’s car’s steel items, it stops better as well.
And he’s not shy of the brake pedal. Straight out of the pits we easily reach three figure speeds in what feels like just a hundred metres before he mashes the left pedal. The Coupé feels the same from the passenger seat as the Roadster does to drive.
Turn-in is good, there’s plenty of grip and you can carry mega speed. All the way round the lap Jager is on it – late on the brakes, accurate and firm with the steering, but not upsetting the car – and early and liberal with his throttle application.
We see the blurry side of 165mph down the back straight before the technical last couple of corners – the only place where the racer makes a slight error.
Running through the final chicane he clips the trye wall on his inside (in fact, it was more of a proper bump), I glance to my right and he looks at me, but I can see his eyes screwed up in a smile beneath his helmet and a glint in his eye. He’s still flat on the throttle too...
We pitched AMG’s finest against one of the most antiquated and outmoded but special and unique circuits in the UK. There were no losers.
The circuit didn’t claim any victims, but it proved a challenge in some effervescent vehicles brimmed with character. And vice-versa – the cars didn’t truly have the edge on the track (partly because of the weak point behind the wheel) but they proved some of the best companions to have a crack at mastering it.
Engineers are using robots to test Ford vehicles through some of the most strenuous obstacles in the industry.
Date 18/06/13, Duration 2:20, Views 366
What anti-social motoring behaviour do you most hate?
Thanks for being one of the first people to vote. Results will be available soon. Check for results
- Queue jumping
- Mobile phone use
- Middle lane hogging
- Forgetting to indicate
- Flashing headlights