Mercedes - SLS
The gullwing doors evoke the famous Mercedes Gullwing model from the 50s, while retaining a modern style, with the cabin mounted behind a long engine compartment like the outgoing SLR. It's low-slung, with a wide track that gives it a planted look and cuts an imposing dash on the road.
AMG has turned out one of the best-handling supercars on sale today and arguably the best driving machine ever produced with the three-pointed star on the nose. It turns in superbly and the wide track also means that it hugs the road with a great sense of security.
The SLS is supremely comfortable - probably more so for long distances than many cars at this level - and the suspension is clearly very well sorted. It might not be an S-Class when it comes to cruising, but it's very good for a supercar. It really comes into its own when pressing on, though: mid-corner bumps or potholes at speed that would have sent most supercars into the undergrowth not so many years ago are resolutely soaked up and the car remains on its original line.
Mercedes has made a return to its bulletproof build quality of old and, despite the addition of some familiar Mercedes switchgear from elsewhere in the company's parts bin, the SLS's cabin is exceptionally well screwed together. The only slight hiccup on the cars we drove was the lid of the central compartment situated above the transmission tunnel between the two seats. Irrespective of its finish (alloy or optional carbon-fibre), the lid felt too flimsy for a car wearing a £150k price tag.
The 6.2-litre V8 is an awesome engine is incredibly responsive, with the huge reserves of torque providing more urge than most drivers will know what to do with. For those who do, however, and can find enough road to use it legally, it's bound to raise a smile as the roaring, wailing powerplant revs up to 7,200rpm. The new double-clutch gearbox - also found in the Ferrari California - is equally superb.
With the inside of the roof of the doors hollowed out for extra headroom, it can also initially feel a little claustrophobic, but you soon acclimatise. Talking of headroom, anyone over 6ft tall is going to feel a little cosy, especially as you can sometimes brush the (lower) centre roof section when turning round. However, taller potential owners can opt for the sports seats, which sit considerably lower and free up extra space.
Nobody is about to buy a car like the SLS and worry about its effect on their bank balance. However an average fuel consumption of 18.8mpg for a car of this type is pretty respectable. Of course, gun the throttle - an all-too-tempting prospect - and that economy will soon drop to the low teens.
As ever when it comes to supercars, used values can be an inexact science. The fact is, however, that despite the first deliveries of the SLS not taking place until summer 2010, there is already a year-long waiting list and only 150 are due for UK roads in its first 12 months. All that of course, adds up to it probably commanding a premium over and above the £150K list price for at least the first six months (if not more).
The Mercedes-Benz COMAND infotainment is fitted in the SLS and has been tweaked and updated, so it's now easier to operate.