St’a SL-A Sport Hybrid Black Series prototype review
Greenland isn’t known for much more than snow and fishing, so when the CarAdvice team were invited to a sneak preview of a new prototype vehicle for the light utility segment, we made a list, checked it twice and grabbed the first flight to the North Pole.
Pagani in Italy have shown that a craftsman cobbler can produce a world-beating hypercar. Similarly the small workshop of St’a, with a history rooted in building handmade toys and trinkets, have turned their hand to develop the curious SL-A. As was the way with the Lexus IS-F and Holden Monaro, the SL-A has been a side-project of the St’a staff who produced the prototype during their toy manufacturing down time with view to a worldwide launch on 24-December this year.
Development engineer Rudolph Rohrl says the SL-A is a way for the St’a team to showcase their technical prowess and silence critics of the historic workshop who suggest their unique skills are no longer relevant in a modern world.
At first glance the SL-A is certainly striking, if not somewhat ‘festive’. An eclectic mixture of classic phaeton layout with modern Bangle-esque flame surfacing, the flowing curves trail into 50’s style fins to add some polar character. The prototype is finished in sparkling red and gold pearl paint which helps to enhance the retro effect.
Inside, the Recaro sourced bench seat provides excellent support and is electronically adjustable with integrated heating standard in all models. The instruments are clean and simple, the navigation setting a new standard for simplicity offering only ‘naughty’ and ‘nice’ as destination options.
Storage space is an impressive infinity litres, although there is no tonneau cover which makes parking the SL-A unattended a potentially risky proposition.
Powered by an environmentally efficient 9-reindeer team, the SL-A leaves only a small methane trace and needs only organic carrots for fuel. Range is impressive on highway cycle but around town the SL-A seems to fill up at every house in the street! St’a assure us the powerplant was an inhouse design, but industry rumors suggest it was sourced from Volkswagen.
On the road, the SL-A feels very doe’y at low speeds and even at a trot the ride is quite harsh as the SL-A almost skids along. Get moving and things change quite rapidly; the performance is astonishing and the ride so smooth it is almost as if you are flying. Not quite on par with the new Mercedes S-Class but certainly impressive.
Turn in and steering feel are very direct, although the turning circle makes city driving a chore you’ll only feel like doing once a year. At the limit, the chassis supports very controllable oversteer and the SL-A is great fun to throw into corners. Brakes are a bespoke 36-piston setup and feel confident and firm even after some spirited use.
Local pricing and distribution have not yet been announced, but according to Rudolf, you better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout; I'm telling you why… St’a is coming to town
The Car Advice Team