Lake Bell Test Drives the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

Mercedes Benz AMG Lake Bell - H 2013

Mercedes Benz AMG Lake Bell - H 2013

THR's car correspondent draws "ginger chasers" while taking the soft-top convertible for a weekend trip to San Diego.

This story first appeared in the Feb. 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

I’m currently a redhead, which means I garner a certain kind of attention with these locks. It’s not the blond aficionados attracted to shiny things and not the lot turned on by the mundane accessibility of the brunette, but instead it’s the ginger chaser whose fetishlike curiosity is almost shameful. To compound this attention, my recent test-drive vessel was a gray 2012 SLS AMG Roadster, which might have seemed merely elegant if not for its undeniably sexy red soft-top.

To put this V-8 grand tourer to the test, I took it on a weekend jaunt to San Diego. Before hitting the road, I stopped at a gas station to pump in a cool $67 of premium and stowed the cherry soft-top. I was blessed with a comment from a winking onlooker: “Great day to go topless, huh?” I awkwardly nodded and took a Pepto-Bismol. Ginger chaser. I got on the highway only to be greeted by copious traffic, providing me with an opportunity to investigate the interior, which is replete with a $6,400 Bang & Olufsen sound system that was made to blast “Lucifer” on repeat. The only ergonomics problem is that the cup holders are inexcusably situated behind the natural kerning of one’s arm range, which might or might not have caused me to spill hot coffee all over myself -- adding to the already exhilarating stop-and-go ride. The interior also included a $9,000 carbon-fiber trim and leather upholstery option.

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Along the way, an elderly gentleman with a heavy accent yelled, “Why you don’t take me for a ride?” I laughed it off and lied, “Aw, I’m married, so …” He retorted: “Who cares. You have kids?” (As if that were the determining obstacle for our future life together and the hypothetical divorce I would get to be with him.) Ginger chaser.

For my return, the roadways had cleared, making the SLS a joy to drive. With 563 horsepower and 479 poundfeet of torque, the car’s “comfort mode” is sufficient for me, but the “sports plus” option boasts an aggressively punchier pickup that makes you forget your manners.

There’s something about a convertible Mercedes that used to make me think of suburban wives who join country clubs to pretend to play golf. But times have changed.

The SLS is undeniably gorgeous. It growls like a bear and has the body of a sexy fawn. (Can fawns be sexy?) As I pulled into Hollywood to refuel for the second time, a man screamed, “You’re amazing!” In short, if you’re single and searching for attention, you need to dye your hair red, save up $224,000 and go topless ASAP.