When thinking about sports cars and supercars, Mercedes-Benz is usually not the first name that comes to mind. The German brand is usually linked to luxury cars, Formula One and DTM race cars. However, the Stuttgart-based automaker has been meddling with the concept since the late 1920s, when the SSK was launched; a two-seater designed by Ferdinand Porsche himself. The Mercedes-badged sports car made a comeback in 1955 with the iconic 300 SL "Gullwing" and the Uhlenhaut Coupe. The latter was based on the W196 race car and at the time of its appearance - no official launch took place - was regarded as the world’s fastest car. Mercedes built a handful of concepts from the 1970s through the 1990s, but it didn’t offer a production supercar until 2003, when the SLR McLaren debuted.

Jointly developed with McLaren Automotive, the modern-day SLR was powered by a supercharged, 5.5-liter V-8 that made an amazing 617 horsepower. It had a top speed of 211 mph and it was awfully quick in a straight line, needing just over three second to reach 60 mph from a standing start. Retired in 2010, the SRL McLaren was replaced by another spectacular sports car, this time carrying the SLS AMG moniker.

While the McLaren-developed SLR was meant to be the spiritual successor of the classic SLR, the SLS AMG, the first in-house designed car from AMG, paid tribute to the 300 SL "Gullwing." Unlike the SLR, the SLS hid a naturally aspirated, 6.3-liter V-8 plant under its hood, with output ranging from 571 to 622 ponies. The exotic, gullwinged sports car remained in production until 2014, when the brand-new AMG GT replaced it as Mercedes’ halo sports car.

The new vehicle also marked the beginning of a new era for the Germans, who are no longer competing in the super-GT market, but are gunning for the lighter and smaller sports cars of the industry such as the Porsche 911. That being said, although the Mercedes-AMG GT is considered a successor to the SLS AMG, the two cars are in fact very different. How different, you ask? Well, you’ll have to read on to find out what sets the SLS AMG and the AMG GT apart. We have a full comparisons by the numbers to help you spot the differences.

Click past the jump for the full details.

Exterior: SLS vs GT

2010 - 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
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2016 Mercedes-AMG GT High Resolution Exterior
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2010 - 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
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2016 Mercedes-AMG GT High Resolution Exterior
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2010 - 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
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2016 Mercedes-AMG GT High Resolution Exterior
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2011 Mercedes SLS AMG by Renntech Exterior
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2016 Mercedes-AMG GT High Resolution Exterior
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Winner: AMG GT

While the SLS AMG looks downright heavy, the AMG GT evokes the "Sport Leicht" spirit of the 300 SL better than its predecessor did

The SLS AMG’s exterior is a brilliant combination of classic and modern cues. Just like the SLR McLaren before it, the SLS paid tribute to one of Mercedes’ iconic sports car; this time it was the 300 SL "Gullwing." The similarities are easy to spot. The long hood, the sleek appearance and the overall shape are clear indication the Germans have looked back on the 300 SL for inspiration. The front grille and the front fender vents are also, while the slim taillights and the trunk lid’s shape also remind us of the classic grand tourer, as do the gullwing-style doors. Of course, the modern lines of the SLS contribute to its appeal. Compared to the 300 SL, the SLS’ body is cleaner and sleeker, while the cabin is flatter. Naturally, a larger set of wheels - standard on all modern-day sports cars - were fitted to enhance its powerful character.

The Mercedes-AMG GT also pays homage to the SL 300, although the styling approach is slightly different than the SLS’. In fact, we could say the new sports car bears a closer resemblance to its ancestor. Unlike the SLS, the AMG GT features rear quarter windows and skinnier taillights. A major departure lies in the trunk lid, which is now more of a hatch that incorporates the rear glass. Another major difference between the two is that the AMG GT no longer sports gullwing doors. While this may be a turn off for SLS AMG enthusiasts, the change helps bridge the gap between the classic and modern designs of the Mercedes-Benz grand tourer. All told, the AMG GT manages to take the reinterpretation of the classic 300 SL design to a new level is a slightly more compact package. While the SLS AMG looks downright heavy, the AMG GT evokes the "Sport Leicht" spirit of the 300 SL better than its predecessor did.

Interior: SLS vs GT

2010 - 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
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2016 Mercedes-AMG GT Interior
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Winner: AMG GT

While the SLS AMG's interior can still be considered modern to today's standards, the Mercedes-AMG GT brings forward an "aviation design" theme

While the SLS AMG’s interior can still be considered modern to today’s standards, the Mercedes-AMG GT brings forward an "aviation design" theme that emphasizes on the company’s lightweight approach for its new sports car. The dashboard sports a wing-like design, the seating position is lower than before and complemented by a tall center console. While the cabin of the SLS AMG hints at a high-tech supercar, the AMG GT’s interior welcomes us to the cockpit of a fighter jet.

Adding further uniqueness to the AMG GT is the motorsport-inspired center console and the AMG Drive Unit controls that are arranged like eight cylinders in a V layout, mirroring the 4.0-liter V-8 mill under the hood.

Specifications: SLS vs GT

2010 - 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
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2016 Mercedes-AMG GT Drivetrain
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Visual differences aside, the SLS AMG is clearly the more powerful of the two. Built before Mercedes’ switch to more efficient, turbocharged V-8s, the SLS draws its juice from the company’s naturally aspirated, 6.2-liter V-8. Initially rated at 563 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, the mill was updated to deliver 583 ponies when the SLS AMG GT came out in 2012. Things became a lot more serious with the launch of the Black Series, in which the eight-cylinder was tuned to generate an amazing 622 horses with a 7,400-rpm redline.

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT Drivetrain
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Performance-wise, the SLS AMG is quicker, but not by much.

On the flipside, the Mercedes-AMG GT is motivated by a smaller, 4.0-liter V-8 paired to a couple of turbochargers. Naturally, output sits a tad lower; the base model comes with 456 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque on tap, while the GT S trim sees the unit’s power increased to 503 ponies and 479 pound-feet.

Performance-wise, the SLS AMG is quicker, but not by much. Although more powerful than the Mercedes-AMG GT, the SLS is also slightly larger and heavier, not to mention its underpinnings aren’t quite as fresh, albeit still modern to today’s standard. This is why the original, 571-horsepower model is only two tenths of a second quicker than the base AMG GT on the 0-to-60 sprint and on par with the AMG GT S. Specifically, the SLS AMG and Mercedes-AMG GT S need 3.7 seconds to cover the sprint, while the entry-level AMG GT takes 3.9 seconds for the same benchmark. As far as top speed goes, the SLS is superior to both AMG GT models at 198 mph, as the new sports car tops out at 189 mph and 193 mph, respectively.

Mercedes SLS AMG - official details
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2016 Mercedes-AMG GT High Resolution Exterior
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  Mercedes SLS AMG Mercedes-AMG GT
Engine Size 6.2 liter V-8 4.0 liter V-8
Horsepower 563 HP @ 6800 RPM 456 HP @ 6000 RPM
Torque 479 LB-FT @ 4750 RPM 443 LB-FT @ 1600-5000 RPM
Curb weight 3,723 LBS 3,600 LBS
Power-to-weight ratio 333.38 hp/tonne 279.25 hp/tonne
0-60 mph 3.7 seconds 3.9 seconds
Top Speed 198 mph 189 mph
Length 182.6 Inches 179.8 Inches
Width 76.3 Inches 76.3 Inches
Height 49.7 Inches 50.3 Inches

The Black Series: SLS Vs Absentee

2014 Mercedes SLS AMG Black Series High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The gap between the AMG GT and the SLS AMG grows bigger once the Black Series name is brought into the equation.

The gap between the AMG GT and the SLS AMG grows bigger once the Black Series name is brought into the equation. The 622-horsepower monster is not only more powerful than any other SLS, but it’s also about 300 pounds lighter than its standard sibling. In fact, the SLS AMG Black Series is lighter than the AMG GT as well, which explains why its 0-to-60 mph acceleration is no match for the latter at 3.5 seconds.

Once the Mercedes-AMG GT receives its very own Black Series version later in the decade, the SLS AMG will likely lose its 0.2-second advantage.

2014 Mercedes SLS AMG Black Series Exterior Spyshots
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2016 Mercedes-AMG GT Exterior Spyshots
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  Mercedes SLS AMG Black Series Mercedes-AMG GT S
Engine Size 6.2 liter V-8 4.0 liter V-8
Horsepower 622 HP @ 7400 RPM 503 HP @ 6250 RPM
Torque 468 LB-FT @ 5500 RPM 479 LB-FT @ 1750-4750 RPM
Curb weight 3,417 LBS 3,600 LBS
Power-to-weight ratio 401.03 hp/tonne 308.03 hp/tonne
0-60 mph 3.5 seconds 3.7 seconds
Top Speed 196 mph 193 mph
Length 182.9 Inches 179.8 Inches
Width 77.8 Inches 76.3 Inches
Height 49.7 Inches 50.3 Inches

Conclusion

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT High Resolution Exterior
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Mercedes-AMG GT is not here to replace the SLS, but it’s here to signal the German company has entered a new era

Is the SLS AMG better than the Mercedes-AMG GT? Judging strictly by the numbers, the answer is yes, but that’s not the purpose of this comparison. These sports cars have been created with different purposes in mind and aimed at distinctive markets. Just like you can’t compare the Aston Martin Vanquish with the Porsche 911, you can’t compare the SLS AMG with the Mercedes-AMG GT.

Sure, a true gearhead can’t help make comparisons between two somewhat similar looking cars, but what we need to focus on with this comparison is the way Mercedes-Benz sports cars have evolved over that past five years. The "there’s no replacement for displacement" saying can be applied with some success by looking at the output and performance numbers, but it is rendered useless once fuel economy becomes part of the formula.

Will the SLS AMG be missed? Hell yeah! The Mercedes-AMG GT is not here to replace it, but it’s here to signal the German company has entered a new era in which horsepower and fuel economy must work together better than ever before. The AMG GT is also supposed to make the Mercedes sports car more accessible to the public. It also focuses more on exploiting its skills rather than showcasing its exclusivity. There will be time for that once the special-edition models start pouring in. That being said, I think the Mercedes-AMG GT has reached its goal.

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