The list includes new wheels and paint finishes (like the Sepang Brown Metallic pictured above), as well as the company's latest blind-spot warning system. But the salient point of the announcement (which you can read in full after the jump) is the new AMG Ride Control suspension.
Available as a ~$3,000 option over the stock setup, the new adjustable suspension offers drivers a choice between Comfort, Sport or Sport Plus settings. Some buyers will invariably revel in the choices, but then as Lotus founder Colin Chapman once famously quipped, "Make the suspension adjustable and they will adjust it wrong." Good thing, then, AMG has taken the guesswork out of the equation.
Groß-Dölln/Affalterbach – The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is now even more attractive and individual. The new high-tech option of the AMG RIDE CONTROL sport suspension with adaptive damping combines concerted performance-orientation with optimal comfort on long journeys. Blind Spot Assist improves active safety on board the gull-wing model. Further optional features such as AMG 10-spoke forged wheels painted in matt black, red-painted brake callipers or AMG high-gloss black trim make for even more exclusivity.
A glance at the centre console of the SLS AMG not only reveals the stylishly designed, new E-SELECT lever with its embossed AMG emblem, but also a new shock absorber symbol in the AMG DRIVE UNIT. This key symbolises the new AMG RIDE CONTROL sport suspension with variable, electronically controlled damping. Depending on the driving situation, speed and road surface conditions, this optional system almost instantly varies the damping characteristics and automatically reduces the body roll angles. For the driver this means immediate and variable adaptation between the greatest possible agility and the best possible ride comfort – for any driving style and route.
Maximum individuality: "Comfort", "Sport" and "Sport plus"
A small key with a major effect: pressing the shock absorber symbol allows individual, convenient adjustment of the damping characteristics. There is a choice of three modes: "Comfort", "Sport" and "Sport plus". The currently selected mode is shown in the AMG main menu.
"Comfort" is automatically active whenever the engine is started, and provides a sensitive damper responce with comfort-oriented characteristics. "Comfort" is recommended for cruising at moderate speeds – e.g. in urban traffic or on motorway sections with speed restrictions. But even on poor, bumpy road surfaces, "Comfort" mode will be the first choice of many SLS AMG drivers by virtue of the softer damper setup.
To select "Sport" mode the key in the AMG DRIVE UNIT is pressed once. The left control lamp in the key and the AMG main menu display tell the driver that "Sport" mode has been manually activated. In "Sport" mode the shock absorbers have a tauter response depending on the driving situation, which not only ensures better road contact when driving in a sporty manner, but also more effectively reduces body roll and pitching. In most driving situations, "Sport" mode provides the best compromise between satisfactory suspension comfort, low body movements and high agility.
"Sport plus" is recommended for fast lap times on a race circuit: apart from higher damping forces, this mode has special control algorithms configured for a decidedly sporty driving style on uneven road surfaces. The driver is able to store his personal setup using the AMG key in the AMG DRIVE UNIT. Sustained pressure on the AMG symbol stores the currently selected suspension mode and also the selected transmission mode. As before, the driver has four different transmission modes available: fuel economy mode "C" (Controlled Efficiency), "S" (Sport), "S+" (Sport plus) and "M" (Manual). Brief pressure on the AMG key quickly and conveniently activates the preferred combination.
With immediate effect, the new AMG RIDE CONTROL sport suspension is available on request for the SLS AMG Coupé and Roadster. Alternatively the gull-wing model is available with the basic AMG suspension or the AMG Performance suspension, both without variable damping characteristics.
Numerous parameters monitored by electronics
The electronic damper control is based on acceleration sensors which register dynamic vehicle body and wheel movements, both absolutely and in relation to each other. Other factors relevant to the driving dynamics, such as drive and braking moments, the steering angle and lateral/linear acceleration are continuously registered and evaluated. The current vehicle speed, wheel rotation speeds and selected gear ratios are also continuously analysed. High-performance control electronics in permanent dialogue with the engine and transmission control unit ensure that the forces of the four newly developed shock absorbers are adapted practically instantly.
Depending on the selected suspension mode, different control configurations and parameter weightings are active to strike the best possible balance between comfort and dynamic performance. Electromagnetically actuated valves in the shock absorbers control the oil flow between the lower and upper chamber. In "Comfort" mode more oil flows through the valves, and less in "Sport" and "Sport plus" mode.
Double wishbone suspension of forged aluminium
All four wheels are located on double wishbones with a track rod, a technology that has proven itself in motor racing right through to Formula 1. With a double-wishbone axle, the wheel location and suspension functions remain separate; the spring/damper struts are supported on the lower wishbone. The double-wishbone concept with its high camber and track rigidity positively locates the wheel with minimal elastic movements, providing the driver with an optimum sense of road contact when driving at the limits.
Wishbones, steering knuckles and hub carriers at the front and rear are made entirely from forged aluminium – substantially reducing the unsprung masses; this configuration also notably improves the suspension response. The long wheelbase of 2680 millimetres not only results in outstanding straight-line stability but also low wheel load shifts, significantly reducing the vehicle's tendency to dive and squat when braking and accelerating. The broad track width – front 1682, rear 1653 millimetres – ensures lower shifts in the wheel loads from the inner to the outer wheel when cornering, enabling the tyres to retain more grip.
The chosen solution with a front-mid-engine plus transaxle configuration ensures an ideal front/rear weight distribution of 47 to 53 percent. Mounting the engine behind the front axle has created the ideal conditions for consummate driving dynamics with precise steering, first-class agility, low inertia with spontaneous directional changes and outstanding traction.
Direct steering, differential lock and 3-stage ESP®
The rack-and-pinion steering gear provides a consistently direct steering feel with a constant mechanical ratio of 13.6:1, in tune with the high expectations placed on a super sports car. The power steering provides speed-sensitive assistance and improves feedback for the driver as the road speed increases: an indispensable factor for high-speed straight-line driving. Mounting the steering gear in front of the engine on the integral subframe enables the engine to be set down very low. The SLS AMG comes with 3-stage ESP® as standard, providing the driver with access to the three "ESP ON", "SPORT Handling mode" and "ESP OFF" modes at the touch of a button. In "ESP OFF" mode too, vigorously operating the brake pedal restores all the normal ESP® functions.
The acceleration skid control (ASR) system's traction logic is active in all three ESP® modes. If one of the drive wheels starts to spin, specific brake pressure is applied to improve traction significantly – especially in conjunction with the standard-fit mechanical multi-disc limited-slip differential. This means that the engine power is transferred to the road even more effectively when driving in a particularly dynamic style.
Blind Spot Assist increases active safety
The new, optionally available Blind Spot Assist is able to increase active safety. This visual and acoustic warning system uses the close-range radar sensors of the standard PARKTRONIC system to recognise vehicles in good time where visibility is restricted. When the system registers another vehicle in the blind spot, this is indicated to the driver by a red triangle lighting up in the relevant exterior mirror. An acoustic warning also sounds if the driver operates the indicators despite the visual warning.
Blind Spot Assist is operational from a speed of 30 km/h. It monitors the area around the vehicle to a distance of around 3.5 metres on each side and three metres beyond the rear. Vehicles in the process of overtaking are shown immediately when they enter the monitored area of the difference in relative speeds between the two vehicles is not more than 16 km/h. Vehicles that have just been overtaken are however shown with a delay of 1.5 seconds after entering the monitored area, thus preventing distraction by unnecessary warnings.
New optional appointments for more style and design
Available as an optional extra, the car's visual appearance is enhanced by weight-optimised AMG 10-spoke forged wheels shod with tyres in size 265/35 R 19 (front) and 295/30 R 20 (rear). Their matt black paint finish corresponds perfectly with the high-sheen rim flange. Optional red-painted brake callipers all-round provide a further visual highlight.
Single-tone or two-tone designo leather in espresso brown is available as a new interior colour – this dark shade of brown perfectly matches the new metallic paint finish AMG Sepang brown. New AMG high-gloss black trim (optional) is an exclusive alternative to the standard centre conslole in solid metal or the optional carbon-fibre trim.
All prices for the new features at a glance (incl. 19 % VAT):
AMG RIDE CONTROL sport suspension with adaptive damping: € 2320.50
AMG 10-spoke forged wheels with matt black paint finish and high-sheen rim flange: € 3272.50
Red-painted brake callipers: € 714.20
Blind Spot Assist: € 773.50
AMG Sepang brown metallic: € 2439.50
AMG high-gloss black trim: € 2320