The SLS AMG was designed by Mark Fetherston to be a modern 300SL Gullwing revival from October 2006 to April 2007. The SLS AMG has also adapted the feature of the gull-wing doors that swing open upwards on gas struts and must be closed manually as AMG engineers decided against the 41 kg (90 lb) of additional weight that auto-closing systems would have added to the car. In case of a roll-over, the doors can be fully detached to allow the occupants to leave the vehicle. Although there is some overlapping in price and performance, the lighter SLS AMG is considered more of a sporty track-oriented car, compared to the Mercedes-Benz SL which is a grand tourer, especially with its optional V12 engine. Compared to the SLS AMG Roadster, the SL is a hardtop convertible with technological and comfort amenities, and it also has available heated seats with a massage function.
The SLS AMG has won a number of design awards, including the 2010 red dot "best of the best" award, the iF product design award 2010 for the "Transportation Design" category, and the Auto Bild Design Award 2010 as "Europe's most attractive car". It is also the only automobile to have won the gold Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany.