Is Mercedes SLS Worthy of Gran Turismo Cover?
The 2011 Mercedes Benz SLS AMG will appear on the cover of Gran Turismo 5 when the game ships later this year. The PlayStation 3 North American box art will feature a rear view of the car with its signature gull wing doors open, inviting the player inside to take it for a spin. Sony says the Mercedes SLS AMG was "chosen from a total of nearly 1000 cars recreated down to the finest detail" to be Gran Turismo 5's cover star. And that's probably true, since Gran Turismo 5 will feature a roster of some of the world's most exclusive supercars.
The 571 horsepower, rear-wheel drive coupe is due in North America this year. It features a design similar to the iconic Mercedes SL 300 from the 1950s, including the latter's gull-wing doors and long, protruding bonnet. However, this 21st century update includes cutting-edge innovations like an aluminum chassis, carbon-fiber driveshaft, traction control and on-board navigation. The original collector cars command a price in the range of $200,000 USD, and this new Mercedes creation will fetch a similar price.
Motorsport magazine Edmunds has taken the U.S. spec Mercedes SLS out for a test drive, and they had some pretty flattering things to say about the car:
"Once the first lap is in, the SLS immediately feels quick and spirited, solid and planted. It's a car you immediately feel at home in.... The 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG might look like the SL Gullwing of the 1950s, but it's clearly meant to challenge the best of today's exotic sports cars, like the Audi R8, the Nissan GT-R and the Porsche 911 Turbo."
Continued after the break...
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Clearly, the Mercedes SLS can hold its own against a wide variety of other very competent sports cars. But the question Gran Tursimo fans will undoubtedly be asking themselves is, 'does it belong on the cover of the world's definitive driving simulator?'
The way you answer that question will depend on what you think the role of video game box art should be. If Gran Turismo 5 should be represented by the most outrageous, incredible feats of engineering in the world of motorsport, then the SLS AMG is clearly outclassed. When we think of outrageous cars, our minds definitely don't go straight to Mercedes. For example, the Pagani Zonda C12 puts out 600 horsepower and costs around $500,000 (if you are lucky enough to find one). The Koenigsegg CCX (also featured in the game) puts out 800 horsepower and can travel at a top speed of 259 mph. In fact, looking over the list of cars in Gran Turismo 5, it is easy to find a number of more technically impressive cars that might have made great cover models.
However, there may be more reasonable folks who don't think the cover of Gran Tursimo needs to feature the fastest, most expensive, or most iconic car. Perhaps a less ostentatious but still lust-worthy automobile more accurately sums up the qualities of the game. Here, the Mercedes Benz is perfectly matched against rivals like the BMW M5, Corvette ZR1 and Audi R8. The Corvette would be a good choice for the cover, particularly in the North American market, but we can see the appeal of the Mercedes, given the historical pedigree of the SL design.
For historical comparison, the cover of Gran Turismo 4 featured the stunning Ford GT, while Gran Turismo 3 was represented by the more mundane Acura CL.
The Mercedes SLS AMG is a nice car, but it's not even the top model made by Mercedes, let alone the best car featured in Gran Turismo 5.