“It’s not what you do
It’s how you do it.
Be anything you want to be
It’s not what you got
It’s how you use it
You be you
And I’ll be me”- Cannonball Run theme song
There’s a red thread that runs through the cars that have served as our steeds of choice come time to hit our Prodigal Runs: they’re all Made in Germany.
We don’t believe this is a coincidence. It’s a downright necessity. You see, the Audi A4 convertible Quattro and BMW M3 that served us in our jaunts across the USA and Europe respectively were discreet, effective and built like brick shit-houses. As a result, nothing ever failed and we could concentrate on the task at hand: getting to the next destination as quickly as possible, with as little grief as possible.
Well, the Prodigal Run 2012 sees Deutschland back on driving duty, and we’re still pinching ourselves over the choice. And by Gott does it have presence, pace and panache. Why? It’s nothing less than the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster. In AMG Le Mans Red. With a Designo Sand leather interior.
We can hear you gasp from over here. We can also spot some of you giving us the one-fingered salute. No doubt there will be much more of both during the Prodigal Run itself. But we’re prepared to take it all, and more, given how much the game has been upped. This is a proper supercar, folks, one that Mercedes-Benz describes as a spiritual successor to the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing.
In other words, you get history, pedigree and enough muscle to crack asphalt from a thousand clicks away. So far, so good. But the real reason we pushed to have the SLS was to see how it could hold up to this most serious of tests. Simply put, the Prodigal Run is an endurance shake-down of both us and the car we’re driving. The point is to see whether we and the ride can deliver, and down to what depths. And we want to see how the SLS handles not only the performance and the pleasure, but the “pain” too; that it can deliver under this kind of road event, whatever the request. That it is the finest super GT out there?
The purists may comment that the Roadster lacks the iconic gullwing doors of the Coupe. They have a point, for sure. Equally the lack of those stunning doors means we’ll be able to enjoy lowering the roof in order to really hear – and feel – that magnificent 6.2-litre V8 bellow. And rearrange the organs of those unlucky enough to be inside the aural kill-zone.
You may be interested to note that the list price of our option-laden steed comes in at a fraction over 200,000 pounds, or exactly a quarter-of-a-million euros. Gulp. Then gulp again. Priciest option, you ask? The AMG ceramic high-performance composite brake system at 8,000 pounds. Second most costly item? Incredibly, it’s the Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG, featuring two illuminated (!) tweeter lenses and a sticker price of 5,055 pounds.
So far, so tasty. However, the Prodigal Run is also about pace. Serious pace. Enter the SLS’s 571-horsepower 6.2-litre V8 and a top speed of 317 kph. And while our heads are all spinning at the grunt and performance on tap our cooler side remembers we have thousands of kilometres to cover. And an 85-litre fuel tank to fill when we hit empty. Which will be often. Fuel consumption? Combined cycle apparently weighs in at 21.4 mpg. Cough. Sputter. Goodbye children’s college fund.
And if all this wasn’t enough, we’ve been invited to visit the Mercedes-AMG HQ in Affalterbach, Germany, this Thursday. We’re especially keen to witness part of the “One man, one engine” production approach. Be still our beating hearts…
We’ll stop there, folks, as the car will be delivered to us today ahead of our early departure Wednesday morning. And nothing beats the real thing.
There’s more to come. Much more.
Of course, you can expect full reports here on the site in due course on everything we do (well, er, most of it!) But if you want a more real-time account of this year’s Prodigal Run, follow the #ProdigalRun hash tag on Twitter. We’ll be providing live coverage throughout the week.
We’d be happy to see you along the way. Whether it’s Paris on Wednesday, the Swiss mountains on Thursday night, cocktails in Geneva on Friday night or the Finish Line party in London on Saturday night, we’d welcome a chance to say hi. For details of exactly where we’ll be when, just follow #ProdigalRun on Twitter.
The Prodigal Run 2012: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster draws the short straw
The Prodigal Run 2012 is happening this week and, though we say so ourselves, we think we’ve lined up our best yet. The real question was which car could possibly handle the trip and us as drivers while delivering the pace and presence we, and you, demand? As it happens, Sindelfingen, Germany, delivered the answer…
Eric (AKA Straight-Six) had a proper job as a journalist for Dow Jones before lowering himself gently into the warm, forgiving waters of The Guide. He’s our resident fanatic: he relished detailing his BMW M3 for two full days at a time before crashing it at Eau Rouge in the wet; he spends insane amounts on his home-cinema system and has thrown tens of thousands of euros at vintage Rolex sports watches. The little fool simply does not understand the concept of restraint or the meaning of excess. He also – following a legendary "heavy" lunch – once nibbled (yes, like little dogs do) a dear lady friend of ours.
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