The 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG comes with several new features that are nothing short of excellent. These include the tiny details like the rims, exterior colors and trimming. This supercar can now be equipped with AMG’s new Ride Control suspension. It will get adaptive dampers and its suspension isn’t just electronically adapted to the road as the driver could select from three modes: Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus.
The setting dubbed “Comfort" is recommended for cruising at moderate speeds such as in urban traffic or on motorway sections with speed limits. However, a good number of SLS AMG drivers still want to use the “Comfort” mode even on poor, bumpy road surfaces due to its softer damper setup.
The “Sport” mode offers the best compromise between satisfactory suspension comfort, low body movements and high agility. The “Sport” mode is applicable to most driving situations.
Meanwhile, “Sport plus" is recommended for quick lap times on a race circuit. This mode has higher damping forces and has special control algorithms configured for a distinctly sporty driving style on road surfaces that are uneven.
One of the most anticipated new technical features is a new shock absorber in the AMG drive unit, which is positioned on the center console. This optional extra costs EUR2,320 (about $3,200).
The AMG RIDE CONTROL sport suspension features an electronic damper control that employs acceleration sensors that could detect dynamic body and wheel movements -- both totally and in relation to the other one. High-performance control electronics also monitors and evaluates various parameters relevant to the driving dynamics like drive and braking moments, lateral/linear acceleration, and the steering angle as well as current vehicle speed, selected gear ratios and wheel rotation speeds.
To make sure that the forces of the four new shock absorbers are instantly adapted, the engine and transmission control unit are always in contact with the control electronics. Contingent on the chosen suspension mode, various control configurations as well as parameter weightings work to achieve a practical balance between dynamic performance and comfort.
Moreover, the oil flow between the lower and upper chamber is controlled by electromagnetically actuated valves in the shock absorbers. More oil flows through the valves in "Comfort" mode, and less in "Sport" and "Sport plus" modes.
On the other hand, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is fitted with double wishbone suspension made from forged aluminum. All wheels are supported by double wishbones with a track rod, making it possible to separate the wheel location and suspension functions.
The spring/damper struts, meanwhile are supported on the lower wishbone. This configuration features high camber and track rigidity, making it easy to locate the wheel with minimal elastic movements – resulting to a more optimal sense of road contact even when the car is driven at the limits. Since the wishbones, hub carriers steering and knuckles both at the front and rear are made of forged aluminum, they do not only reduce the unsprung masses but also enhance the suspension response.
Moreover, since the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG has a wheelbase measuring 2,680 mm, it is more stable when travelling on straight lines. This wheelbase length also allows for low wheel load shifts, which could substantially reduce the car’s tendency to dive and squat during braking and accelerating.
In addition, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG features wider tracks both on the front (1,682 mm) and on the rear (1,653 mm), which help ensure lower shifts in the wheel loads from the inner to the outer wheel while cornering, which means higher tire grip during the maneuver.
To ensure that the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG features an ideal front/rear weight distribution (47 percent to 53 percent), a front-mid-engine plus transaxle configuration was chosen. By placing the engine behind the front axle, the SLS AMG is capable of offering supreme driving dynamics, precise steering and excellent agility, as well as superb traction, low inertia with spontaneous directional changes.