An SL sports GT model has been part of the Mercedes-Benz line-up since the early 1950s, and after a five-year hiatus the Mercedes-AMG SL63 roadster is making a comeback to the Australian market.
Scheduled to arrive late this year, the new all-wheel drive SL63 features the latest iteration of AMG’s long-serving 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, producing 430kW at 5500-6500rpm and no less than 800Nm from 2500-5000rpm. This supersedes the previous SL63’s 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 (430kW/900Nm).
At the same time the previous seven-speed auto transmission, driving the rear wheels only, has been replaced by a nine-speed dual-clutch auto (with wet multi-disc start-off clutch) sending drive to all four wheels via Merc’s 4Matic AWD system.
And rather than a strict two-seater this time around the SL adds the flexibility of ‘+2’ rear seating while the previous folding hardtop has been binned, the new car returning to a traditional, electrically-folding (and weight-saving) soft top.
Mercedes-Benz design chief Gorden Wagener started the new model’s development from a ‘clean sheet’ and Mercedes-AMG says “not a single component comes from the predecessor SL, or any other model such as the AMG GT Roadsters”.
The new SL’s aluminium space frame chassis is part of a body structure mixing aluminium, magnesium, fibre composites and steel for maximum rigidity and lowest weight. Torsional rigidity is claimed to have been improved by 18 per cent.
Performance stats are suitably impressive with 0-100km/h acceleration taking 3.6 seconds, while the top speed is toupe-troubling 315 km/h.
Active aero has been integrated into the front apron and retractable rear spoiler, and the AMG ‘Active Ride Control suspension features active, hydraulic anti-roll stabilisation. The AMG high-performance composite braking system is standard.
Equipment highlights include a head-up display (with augmented reality nav), Burmester surround sound audio (11-speaker, 650-watt), ambient lighting (choice of 64 colours), dual-zone climate control, an 11.9-inch central multimedia display (running Merc’s latest ‘MBUX’ software) and 21-inch forged alloy rims.
Priced at $374,900, before on-road costs, the order book for the new SL63 is open now, and it will be battling an interesting mix of competitors including the twin-turbo V8 BMW M850i xDrive (390kW/750Nm, $307,100), supercharged V8 Jaguar F-Type R (423kW/700Nm, $284,550), atmo V10 Lamborghini Huracan Evo Spyder (470kW/600Nm, $422,606), V8 Maserati GranCabrio MC (338kW/510Nm, $355,000) and the turbo flat six Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet (353kW/570Nm, $387,700).
Keyword: 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL63 comes back to mix it with convertibles from BMW, Jaguar and Porsche