Take a step back from the SLS AMG and take a look at the old SLR McLaren. It was more of a cruiser than an all-out performance vehicle, but it was pretty good nonetheless. Pretty good, as it turned out, wasn’t good enough.
Mercedes and McLaren took the SLR back to the garage and put their engineers to work and out popped the SLR 722. Taking a fast car and making it faster is the German way and they are at it again with their latest model. Unlike before though, the new SLS AMG GT3 isn’t road legal. This thing is a pure adrenaline pumping race machine.
We liked the basic SLS more than most performance vehicles on the market, including the Lexus LFA, so we should like this new version even more. Sadly, we have no idea how it drives because we aren’t racing drivers, even though we like to think we are sometimes. That’s not going to stop us though, as we take a look at the SLS GT3 and the LFA.
Hit the jump to find out.
The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 and the Lexus LFA are a tad more similar in terms of performance numbers than the normal SLS is to the LFA, but they’re still quite a bit different.
Though there are a few similarities here and there, it’s because the way these two sound, drive, and look that makes them very different indeed. Both of these cars are insanely fast and very equal. Each will hit 60 miles per hour in under four seconds and both are quick around a track. The big difference between these two machines is that one is a road car and other a track car.
That last sentence is key in this comparison. It’s never going to be easy to compare two cars when one can’t be used on the road. So obviously, to the normal person, the Lexus would easily win, So this will have to be an all new type of comparison, as we are going to compare numbers and lap times, rather than road driving dynamics.
Let’s start with the power under the hood. The Mercedes-Benz GT3 uses the normal 6.3-liter V8 from the road car, but it’s been tuned to put out 600 horsepower, which is a nice jump up from the standard 571 horsepower. The Lexus gets the 4.8-liter V10 with dual variable valve timing for 552 horsepower. Give these first numbers battle to the Germans, and considering the base SLS hit 60 miles per hour in 3.8 seconds, this new lighter version should beat or match the LFA’s time of 3.6 seconds.
The LFA has all sorts of toys that the driver can get. There are 30 exterior colors, 12 interior colors, and even six brake caliber colors. Lexus will sell you a car that can be equipped with three different configuration settings, with the third giving you Leather seats, a navigation system, Mark Levinson premium sound, and Lexus Enform with Safety Connect.
The SLS GT3 gets absolutely nothing. The seats aren’t leather, there is no navigation and Mark Levinson didn’t do up the sound system. On the upside, you get a neat looking racing wheel with a futuristic looking screen for dials. On the center counsel you get buttons for fuel and emergency stuff. It’s pretty easy to say that the Lexus wins by a massive margin, but if you really want a performance machine, the GT3 is waiting for you.
So, we’re tied up one to one. The GT3 is faster, but what do you expect, it’s a racing car. In the styling department, we have to go with the SLS. The new GT3 version features a deep carbon fiber splitter and a massive rear wing. The hood has cooling vents and there are air intakes for brake cooling in the side skirts. All of this stuff and the white paint job make this car look mean. This is a serious performance machine, but it’s also a work of art.
The LFA was never our favorite looking car and we’re more than happy to say that. That being said, it’s not ugly, but it’s a work of art that could be on the wall of a gallery. We are to give a point to the SLS here, but styling is a personal choice, so we understand if some of you disagree.
In the practicality department, the LFA wins, and if you can’t figure out why you need to go read a different sort of website. The LFA can be used on the track, as well as on the road. Drivers won’t be taking the GT3 home because it’s illegal. This machine is meant to stay on the track.
The LFA is fast around the world’s most famous test track, the Nurburgring. Really fast in fact, but the SLS GT3 has yet to be taken around around it, so we can’t compare the two at the moment. It should be pretty close though and the GT3 might edge ahead by a slim margin due to it being a performance race car that is lighter and more nimble.
All in the all the LFA wins in the real world, but on the track might be a different story. If we are playing a performance numbers game, which some like to do, the GT3 wins. It has more power, it’s lighter, and it’s a true racing machine. We have never been a fan of numbers though, hence our top tens, so the LFA takes this test due to it being the better all around car.