An awesome experience at Mercedes-Benz World brand experience centre in Brooklands, Surrey! This facility has been setup as a Marketing front for Mercedes-Benz and allows drivers of all ages to experience beginners vehicles right up to the £168k SLS AMG.
Starting off in the E63 AMG, I drove the usual AMG drivers package including straight line performance and breaking testing, wet circle and experiencing black ice simulation with driver aids switched off and finally the race circuit.
The 575bhp 6.2L Mercedes-Benz V8 is a monster and is such a different animal to the usually refined AMG cars such as the E63 I drove. The E63 was incredibly fast but the handling was very smooth and the suspension had an every day feel to it – I’m used to the E46 M3 ride as my every day car. The SLS on the other hand, had a much more uncouth idle and low speed engine noise and at full throttle there was a fantastic gurgle and crackle from the exhaust. The only car I can compare this to is a TVR Tuscan with the low windscreen, long bonnet and savage acceleration. The grip on the corners and steering feedback through the handling circuit was very impressive and didn’t feel as tail happy as was portrayed on Top Gear. It’s officially on THE list!
While you can’t experience the top end thrills in comparison to the likes of Silverstone and other track days, it is the only track experience I’ve encountered where you can drive a performance car with traction control turned off, have guides assistance at ‘hanging the back out’ and feel the thrills of actually driving 0-60 mph (and more) in 3.8 seconds while hanging on to the steering wheel. I never really did feel like I truly got to explore the Ferrari 355 at the Silverstone track day, whereas I had an E63 AMG in a full 180, a 3/4 wet lap with the back hanging out and really gave the SLS some stick and this means tyres screeching, the back stepping out and full throttle in 1st, 2nd and 3rd rather than just 4th-6th gear around a track. Missing the acceleration already.
Engine: 6.2L V8, 563 bhp
Performance: 0-60 in 3.8 and 197 mph limited
Cost: £168k + options