A long hood has always implied a car's ability to dispense ample power. That implication usually comes with something else: a lofty sticker price. So check out the length of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Roadster's hood. Now take a gander at its base price: $206,000.
For the uninitiated, the SLS AMG debuted in 2010 with a look that pays homage to the rarefied 1954-62 Mercedes-Benz 300SL and delivers equally beguiling performance. It's a mesmerizing four-wheel missile, one that will make you wish that you had gone to law school. Especially this year.
Because for 2013, along with adding two letters to the SLS AMG's name, the folks at Mercedes-Benz's AMG performance division added 20 ponies under the hood. With 583 horsepower on tap from its 6.3-liter V-8, 0 to 60 mph takes a mere 3.5 seconds. Zero to "Sorry, officer" takes just a wee bit longer.
Power comes on effortlessly, as if unleashing the hounds of hell. You'll hear their fury as the exhaust growls and barks with a lethal yelp. Forget the audio system; this is the only music you'll ever need. Going to the corner for a gallon of milk has never been so much fun -- or taken so little time.
You'd expect this car's shifts to come quickly and imperceptibly, and they do, thanks to the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. As the name implies, this gearbox has two clutches: one for odd-numbered gears, the other for even-numbered gears. At the exact moment one clutch is engaged, the other is being disengaged. That makes a big difference when pouring on the power.
Such power brings with it excessive thirst and some may find this car's fuel economy wasteful. Let me say this: If dinosaurs had to give up their lives, this would be the perfect reason for their extinction.
Toss this droptop roadster into a corner and you'll find the steering is quick, nicely weighted and that body roll is nonexistent. For those who like to drive hard and fast, the SLS AMG GT delivers its performance with hard-body precision. But thankfully, opting for this model means more than speed and handling; it also means an exquisite veneer of civility. Just nestle in the firmly bolstered seats finished in sumptuous diamond-quilted leather. What a lovely throne from which to rule the road.
Clearly this car's long hood delivers on its promise. It has the power to overpower your will as well as the road.
SLS AMG GT ROADSTER
Base price: $206,000
As tested: Not available
Engine: 6.3-liter DOHC V-8
0 to 60: 3.5 seconds
Wheelbase: 105.5 inches
Length: 182.6 inches
Weight: 3,573 pounds
Cargo space: 6.2 cubic feet
EPA fuel economy: 13 mpg city/19 highway
Fuel type: Premium
Bottom line: Forget the price; enjoy the ride