Vital Stats

Engine:
400-Volt, 60-kWh Battery
Power:
740 HP / 737 LB-FT
Transmission:
Single-Speed
0-60 Time:
3.9 Seconds
Top Speed:
155 MPH (Limited)
Drivetrain:
All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
4,774 LBS
Seating:
2
MPG:
155-Mile Range
Base Price:
$544,000 (est.)
Reading the stats for the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive is like looking at the Prada storefront on Rodeo Drive – it is an extravagance tinged with Electrobeam gaudiness that's so far from normal it makes the average viewer declare, "Interesting, but..." before trying to find the stargate back to Earth.

It's a shame if the SLS AMG Electric Drive comes off as an otherworldly bauble for the moneyed – most of whom won't appreciate it beyond the early-adopter and top-tenth-of-one-percenter status it confers – because it's almost 2.5 tons of passionately engineered electric fun and optic-smashing vinyl wraps. To overlook it is to miss out on technology that is, we hope, headed for a more prosaic AMG soon. We drove this car on the same day as the SLS AMG Black Series, and there was so much to learn and enjoy that we almost regretted having to leave it to drive the Black Series. Almost.

Driving Notes
  • It weighs 4,774 pounds, nearly 550 kilograms more than the 3,573-pound SLS AMG GT. The weight difference comes from the heft of the lithium-ion battery array, composed of 12 modules of 72 cells that weigh 1,208.1 pounds. The batteries change the weight balance of the coupe by one percent: the SLS AMG GT is balanced 54/46 front-to-rear, the Electric Drive is 53/47.
  • It's an energetic beast: The 400-volt, liquid-cooled, 60-kilowatt-hour battery is rated at 552 740 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of immediate torque. According to Mercedes PR, that makes it "the most powerful AMG high-performance vehicle of all time." The run from stationary to 60 miles per hour takes 3.9 seconds, top speed is limited to 155 miles per hour and range is pegged at 155 miles. For comparison's sake, take the aforementioned SLS AMG GT with its 6.2-liter V8 blending up 583 hp and 479 lb-ft that gets from naught to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and will run out of acceleration at 197 mph. Also compare the Electric Drive to the philosophically similar Tesla Roadster (a two-seat electric sports car) that weighed 2,723 pounds, had a 53-kWh battery, 288 hp, 273 lb-ft of torque, a 245-mile range and performed the same sprint in the same time. But remember, we're just putting these cars on a piece of paper together to see where they fall; the SLS AMG Electric Drive has zero interest in being a Tesla or its GT kin.
  • Those batteries juice four synchronous electric motors – a pair in front and another pair in back that sit astride the center line of the car, each pair flanking a single-speed, direct-drive transmission. In front, the setup necessitated a new multilink suspension with horizontal pushrod dampers replacing the aluminum double wishbones of the standard car.
  • The AMG Drive Unit knob takes its usual place and is inscribed with its usual markings: C for Controlled Efficiency, S for Sport and S+ for Sport plus. They alter the linear, straight-line driving characteristics by changing the amount of power delivery: the coupe uses 60 percent of its power in Comfort, 80 percent in Sport and the whole shocking lot of it in Sport plus.
  • Behind the AMG Drive Unit are the buttons for ignition and traction control. The next illuminated circle is the AMG Torque Dynamics button, which has three settings for altering the cornering dynamics. Each wheel can be driven and retarded by its dedicated motor to optimize the vehicle's cornering properties – go into a tight right-hander and the right-side wheels are slowed down to expedite the pivot. The three settings provide conspicuous differences, each step up delivering tighter cornering and wider tail-sliding latitude than the rung below. At its sportiest, the 4,774-pound coupe becomes freakishly capable through high-frequency trials like the slalom.
  • Behind the Torque Dynamics button is one for AMG E-sound. Potential customers told AMG that they wanted the same kind of aural feedback in the SLS AMG Electric Drive as they get in their gas-powered rides. The result is an augmented whine that we thought not only hard to parse from the other various whines of the electric powertrain, but unnecessary and a refusal to embrace the future-fantastic nature of the car. You can listen to it in the Short Cut video below.
  • The steering wheel is affixed with paddles, but they don't change the single gear. Rather, they let you choose any one of four levels of brake regeneration. When you lift off the throttle at the max setting, the car responds as if you were giving the brakes in a traditional car a not-inconsequential push.
  • It's a hoot to drive, satisfying not only because of its performance, but also in how far away that performance is from convention: It feels like a high-dollar sportscar, goes like a hi-performance sportscar, corners like a much lighter hi-performance sportscar and sounds like a desktop computer. There are a jillion different ways Mercedes could have built an electric sportscar, and the SLS AMG Electric Drive represents an approach from the "fabulously berserk" end of the spectrum. Still, all of its components utilize current technology, so there's no reason they couldn't tone it down and produce an electric-drive version of the next-generation C63 AMG. Hint...
  • The price in Germany will be 416,500 euros (about $544,000 US). Buyers might as well add $10,000 for the 22-kilowatt quick-charger wall box. Otherwise it takes about 20 hours on a 220-volt plug, and that's just silly.

Autoblog Short Cuts: 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 45 Comments
      mycommentemail
      • 1 Year Ago
      If you can, check out Chris Harris testing this thing (also here on AB: http://www.autoblog.com/2013/04/11/test-drive-the-mercedes-sls-amg-electric-drive-with-chris-harris/) It is amazing. A different approach from Tesla (who I think are awesome themselves) in how they lay out the car. The torque vectoring and four separate motors is really interesting.
      Cory Stansbury
      • 1 Year Ago
      552 HP would not make it the most powerful AMG of all time considering most, if not all 65 AMGs have been >600 HP. Good thing it's 552 kW. I wouldn't expect autoblog's writers to make that connection.
      desinerd1
      • 1 Year Ago
      Introducing the brand new color - Highlighter Blue
      sloturbo
      • 1 Year Ago
      It looks like a blue raspberry air heads' candy wrapper.
      Mike
      • 1 Year Ago
      You cannot compare this to the Tesla as they are completely different cars... This is a Luxury sports car which is designed to develop and show the engineering potential of EVs. This as one in-board motor per wheel, possibly the best solution you can have on a car from a dynamics point of view... It is just in a completely different league to anything else on the EV market that you can buy today...
      BipDBo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Compared this to the Tesla S: * 2 seats vs 5 to 7 * Range: a bit less * 0-60 time: about the same * weight: about the same * price: for one of these, you could buy 5 Teslas How is it that a small start up company can offer a product that, at least on paper, is superior, yet at 1/5 the price of a comparable product made by a company that has been building cars longer than anyone else in the business? Telsa\'s product is amazing, but I worry about their long term profitability and stability as a business. If Tesla ever shuts their doors one day (and I really hope this doesn\'t happen), it won\'t be that their product wasn\'t worthy of success. It will be that their product was under-priced.
        Exiges
        • 1 Year Ago
        @BipDBo
        Low Volume+Brand Prestige+Modifying an existing (and expensive) car to electric awd without changing it's looks=High Price. Idiotic to expect financial symmetry between these cars.
          BipDBo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Exiges
          Most companies are using existing ICE platforms like the Versa--> Leaf, Focus EV, C-max, etc. to save money on their EVs. Tesla is doing everything with a clean drawing board, and having to build the entire company with a new assembly line, everything. You would expect all that to cost more, not 80% less.
        Marcopolo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @BipDBo
        @ BipDBo Tesla has a site for fans of Tesla. AB is about other products as well as Tesla. Why do you always compare every vehicle to one model as if there is just one 'approved' design ? Relax, Tesla is not about to go broke, certainly not because it's under-priced ! Humans are diverse creatures with different aesthetic values, you should rejoice in diversity, not see every new EV as an attack on your chosen vehicle. Don't be so insecure ! Tesla maybe a small US auto-manufacturer, but is part of a group capitalised at $12 billion, with additional approved lines of credit of totalling more than $ 1billion. With production at a rate of 4-500 units per day, Tesla has grown beyond a 'small start-up' company !
      Levine Levine
      • 1 Year Ago
      Another over priced Mercedes junk is being over hyped, and hoodwinked on consumers. Priced over $500k for this heap of junk, you can buy 5 top-of-the-line Tesla Model S with better styling and equivalent performance for the same price. Tesla Model S will eat Mercede\'s lunch.
      kEiThZ
      • 1 Year Ago
      The automakers are making Tesla look better everyday.
      ferps
      • 1 Year Ago
      So it has the same performance and half the range of a Tesla for 5x the price.
        mycommentemail
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ferps
        Why does this have to be a zero sum game? Tesla is awesome and is producing real, marketable EV's. This is mostly an engineering exercise (that happens to handle like crazy). Love them both and can't wait for the tech to become more democratized.
          Rob Mahrt
          • 1 Year Ago
          @mycommentemail
          They are both great, yes. And it is not a zero sum game. I just think that people are allowed to be surprised that a company with enormous capital and a storied history produces their first EV sports car 5 years after some random ass company in california that no one has ever heard of released an at least slightly similar car (on paper, I have driven neither) and the Tesla seems to destroy it on a full package point of view (price, range, performance, looks which are both great, imo).
      desinerd1
      • 1 Year Ago
      2 Ghetto cars in 2 days.
      edward.stallings
      • 1 Year Ago
      155 mile range. So if you drive 80 miles away, you need a tow truck. Are there idiots dumb enough to buy these?
        mycommentemail
        • 1 Year Ago
        @edward.stallings
        I dunno, are there idiots who keep repeating the same pointless post over and over in every EV thread?
        Chris M
        • 1 Year Ago
        @edward.stallings
        That's the range assuming average driving speeds. Reduce speed and the range can be increased. And of course, there are numerous places to recharge - just don't take it 155 miles out into the wilderness...
        eeenok
        • 1 Year Ago
        @edward.stallings
        seems that it's mostly the idiots who need to loudly opine what idiots other people are. usually it's people remarking what an obviously stupid idea evolution is, but occasionally it's someone who can't imagine that there are people who do vast amounts of driving that's very comfortably within an eighty mile range
      Hernan
      • 1 Year Ago
      That paint makes it look like a cheap diecast model...
        eeenok
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hernan
        i think it's ridiculous color is deliberately part of the "you can't afford this" image ... it says "we don't care about the opinion of people who can't afford it" and of course "yes it looks like the hotwheels car which is what you'll have to make do with"
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