Alex Kersten profile picture Alex Kersten 7 years ago
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David Coulthard Hot Laps In A 622bhp SLS Made Me Question The Laws Of Physics

I was recently given the chance to experience the ferocity of an SLS Black Series at the hands of former F1 driver David Coulthard. I'm glad I remembered fresh pants...

Remind me later

David Coulthard is a level-headed and extremely friendly bloke; perhaps that comes from being Scottish, or maybe he’s just like that. Anyway, I was fortunate enough to meet the former F1 star properly at a recent Mercedes AMG driving event, after which I had the opportunity to be thrown around by him in the seat of an SLS Black Series. As you can see from the video above, it was an offer I simply couldn’t refuse.

Niceties out of the way, I strapped in, ready for three hot laps in the vitriolic and utterly beguiling SLS Black Series. To recap, the most hardcore SLS is powered by a 622bhp naturally-aspirated 6.2-litre V8. Because there’s 70kg less weight to haul compared with the standard SLS (thanks to greater use of carbonfibre), the Black tips the scales at 1550kg, which helps the supercar hit 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds, ahead of its 196mph top speed.

The SLS Black Series redlines at 8000rpm and has a top speed of nearly 200mph
The SLS Black Series redlines at 8000rpm and has a top speed of nearly 200mph

The first thing that gets you is the noise of the V8 and the rigidity of the chassis. Both are dialled up to 11, even at speeds under 20mph. But I wasn’t here to be chauffeured, I was here to experience exactly just how capable a car like the £200k SLS really is at the hands of someone who is programmed to drive fast.

I was not disappointed. The Merc’s 468lb ft of torque (slightly lower than standard) and 600+ power is astonishing, propelling my organs against the back of my rib cage with violent momentum. Again, the Black’s incredible V8 soundtrack is all-encompassing and a joy to hear; especially thanks to its 8000rpm redline. The ride is racecar-like rigid and the cornering speeds almost defy physics. With DC pushing on (I’d estimate he never really pushed above 85 per cent) the SLS skips its way through corners, such is the undulating nature of our Goodwood race track.

But the brakes…oh, the brakes. You can’t really see it in the video, but the car’s AMG ceramic brake discs (402 x 39mm front and 360 x 32mm at the rear) scrub off 150mph+ speeds in milliseconds. The result is that my organs are now pummelling the front of my rib cage while my eyes struggle to focus.

As for Coulthard himself, he’s the same person behind the wheel as he is sitting at a table sipping tea: cool, calm, collected and completely self deprecating - just what a supercar like the SLS Black Series needs, especially with an excitable puppy in the passenger seat.