Watching the inaugural Korean Grand Prix, I was unimpressed that the race started with the safety car out. It was, I noticed, the Merc SLS AMG and not the previous SL going all-out on the rain-soaked racetrack. A cranked-up volume allowed me to hear the unmistakable thundering of that 6.3-liter V8, drowning out the noise of even 24 Formula 1 cars. It was a cultured roar but very urgent, very angry nonetheless. Now I find myself behind the wheel of an actual SLS.
My arse is twitching, my tongue drying, my stomach filling with butterflies. I push the starter and the V8 engine snaps into an impatiently fast idle. I blip the throttle and it backfires perfectly, beautifully remastered by the electronic wizards of Benz. I take time to adjust the seats, steering wheel and side mirrors, and don gloves so as not to get the sweat from my excited tender juicy fingers onto the interior, which is one classy place to be in. It is simple, elegant and timeless, a nice departure from current Mercedes cabins littered with buttons and knobs for god knows what. The seats are equally impressive: well-sculpted and supportive yet comfortable enough for long drives. the tweeters and the LCD screen break the simplicity just enough to remind you that this is one high-tech supercar. Hitting the main road, I floor the throttle immediately to get over my initial anxiety. The next few seconds are sheer madness. The SLS proves it isn’t just another look-at-me supercar, all hype but no depth of character. It’s the epitome of the modern supercar.