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Mercedes Benz SLS Roadster AMG vs. McLaren MP4-12C 2dr

Mercedes Benz SLS Roadster AMG

Mercedes Benz SLS Roadster AMG

- £176,950

The way I see it if you have just under £180,000 to buy a supercar there's a number of things that will be on your checklist; Is it fast? Does it have a prestigious badge? Does it look incredible? Will the ladies wet themselves when you roar your engine at the lights?

In the case of the Mercedes Benz SLS Roadster AMG the answer to all of the questions above are YES. There really is no other car that you should consider if you're set on spending under £180k, because it offers superb quality and speed.

The Mercedes Benz SLS Roadster AMG isn't a supercar. It's a hypercar. It's got a 6.2-litre V8 engine that produces a whopping 563 bhp and 479 lb /ft of torque, and manages an official 0-62mph time of 3.8sec topping out at 197 mph. Unlike the Coupe, the Roadster has a retractable roof, so you can show the world the man behind the wheel of the car that's dreamt about by children all over the world. In their quest to keep the handling sublime in the SLS Roadster versus the Coupe version, Mercedes have over-engineered the rigidity process; the roadster actually handles and grips better than the Coupe, which is more than welcome on a warm summers day when B roads and tracks look as tasty as an ice cold glass of water.

Open up the throttle in the SLS and you'll be smashed back in to your seat by what feels like a hammer. Change up, and the exhaust pops and the engine snarls. Settle back down, lift the roof up, and the SLS transforms in to a GT car. It's comfortable, despite the roof there's negligible road / wind noise, and the seats are possibly the best ever created by Mercedes.

It really is a stunning car the SLS. The front is aggressive with a swooping bonnet and the sides feature which air intakes like the Mercedes McLaren. The rear end features two huge rear exhausts and a retracting spoiler for braking. Inside, the optional crème leather seats are perfectly set up for driver involvement and the centre console is a mixture of top quality metals and carbon fibre. It mixes sportiness and luxury perfectly, and it's perhaps the best looking Mercedes ever made. A future classic? I think it will be.

For £950 less than the SLS you could have a McLaren MP4-12C, a car so fast that it will make you soil yourself. It's not in the same league as the SLS AMG comfort or style wise, but it's a better track car and the noise produced is very much formula one versus muscle car. The SLS AMG is more appealing for me because it's simply beautiful in a way the MP4 can't match. It's also more comfortable and far more poster friendly. The SLS Roadster  is a car of dreams. If you can buy one, do.

McLaren MP4-12C 2dr

McLaren MP4-12C 2dr 

- £176,000

When the McLaren MP4-12C 2dr was released it was done so alongside the Ferrari 458, not the Mercedes-Benz SLS Roadster AMG. A track ready supercar, the McLaren MP4-12C is not in the same league as the SLS and even I'll admit that. It's not poster friendly as pointed out above and it's not a good GT car either. But what it is good at is thrashing tracks and scaring the sh** out of other cars on the road.

Powered by a twin-turbocharged V8 engine that produces 592 bhp and 443 lb /ft of torque the McLaren MP4-12C will smoke anything on the roads today and give even the most agile of superbikes a run for their money. Developed specifically for lapping a track, the MP4 is the ultimate supercar for anybody who wants to travel with a bee up their butt. With a specific output of 156bhp per litre and 117lb ft per litre, the McLaren provides a class-leading set of figures, ahead of even the Ferrari 458.

Inside McLaren have done an admirable job of providing some luxury for the driver. The centre console and dash is lined with suede and the steering wheel as well as doors are wrapped in leather with red stitching. As soon as you step foot inside the MP4 you'll know that you're in a hardcore racer. The dials are huge, the steering wheels is chunky, and you sit so low to the ground that you'll be scared of scraping your behind out on the road. The doors are awesome too, and are dihedral; in other words, they open upwards.

Out on the road the MP4 does a good job of absorbing potholes despite being designed for a smooth track surface. At idle the engine burbles rather quietly compared to the SLS or the 458 but at full chat that's another matter, as all you'll be able to hear is the V8 engine redlining to 8500 rpm. The 7 speed gearbox is smooth and does a fantastic job both out on the road and on track. McLaren have done a great job of bringing some civilized qualities to the MP4 but make no mistake, this car is designed to be driven hard and fast.

The steering on the MP4 is sublime. It's slick and responsive offering great feedback for the driver.

SLS and MP4 buyers are going to be two very different people at the end of the day. The SLS is a car for all occasions and will look incredible everywhere it goes. The MP4 is a car for 90% track and 10% UK roads and will turn heads, but not in the same way the SLS does. I prefer the SLS Roadster to the MP4 styling wise however if I was given a choice between the two for 24 hours of fun, I'd go for the MP4. Can you afford both? That way, you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

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