Mercedes SL63 AMG review

16 May, 2014 1:30pm Luke Madden

The Mercedes SL63 AMG now gets even more power for exactly the same price

Verdict

4
More relevant than the extra power – there was plenty of that already – is the fact that AMG has introduced a limited-slip diff and other upgrades without making buyers pay any more. The Mercedes SL63 AMG is still an expensive car – especially when the 911 Cabriolet is so good – but it leads the way for buyers wanting thumping performance and great long-distance comfort.

Mercedes' AMG tuning division is never shy about the amount of power its cars produce. So it should come as no surprise that out of the blue, the SL63 AMG now delivers 577bhp – an increase of 47bhp – and features a limited-slip differential as standard.

Firing up the SL63's newly tuned 5.5-litre V8, you’re instantly reassured by the fantastic bark from the quad exhausts – the SL63 sounds as good as ever.

Mercedes' power gains – plus the extra 100Nm of torque, taking the total to 900Nm – are noticeable, with the SL’s thunderous acceleration turned up a notch. Where it used to cover 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds, now it’ll do it in 4.1 seconds.

That makes the twin-turbo V12-powered SL65 AMG look even more redundant – it’s only one-tenth-of-a-second quicker to 62mph than the SL63, yet it costs more than £50,000 extra.

Mercedes previously offered the limited-slip diff as part of the AMG Performance Pack, which cost buyers an extra £12,350. Now it’s included along with the power boost, although the SL63 AMG’s price remains the same as before at £112,510.

The Mercedes SL63 is better value than the SL65, and the diff was always a must-have for serious drivers anyway. It makes the SL less prone to understeer and more predictable when accelerating hard out of a bend.

Our car was also fitted with carbon-ceramic brakes (a £10,205 extra), which not only offer enough stopping power to catapult you against your seatbelt, but also prove to be seriously resistant to fade. For track work, they’re essential.

Even with the differential and the brakes, the SL63 isn’t the car you’d pick if you’re after the best handling model in this class. The Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet is the better choice for that and it starts from about £20,000 less.

The Mercedes SL63 comes with a bespoke AMG gear selector as well as a host of buttons that allow drivers to tweak settings for the powertrain and suspension. However, the seven-inch infotainment system intergrated into the dash is controlled by a small dial and compared with the smartphone-style system on the new C Class, it feels a bit outdated.

However, the SL63 AMG still has plenty going for it; the cabin is fantastic – both in terms of design and build quality – and the ride comfort and refinement are better than anything else in this market.

Disqus - noscript

People keep comparing the SL 63 AMG with a Porsche 911, but what you dont seem to realise is that the SL is actually 2 cars in one. For example, its a highly sophisticated cruiser with a sublime level of ride that offers a level of smoothness the Porsche can only ever dream of. The relevance of this is that I regularly travel up to Scotland ( from London ) in my SL63 AMG ( around 600 miles and about 8 hours ) and when I get there, i get out of my car completely ache free and dont need to see a chiropractor. In the Porsche, I would lose the will to live long before I get anywhere near Scotland. My brother has a Porsche and you feel every small bump in the road and whilst it might go through a bend marginally faster than the SL, you would have to be going at illegal speeds to notice the difference and as it is so much harsher, you can keep your Porsche. Secondly, if you want to really go for it, you just hit the AMG button and then your car becomes a fire breathing monster that will give the Porsche a very good run for its money in terms of speed, but the difference is, I can switch the AMG settings off and revert back to my smooth cruiser whereas the poor Porsche driver dives off to the chiropractor. Of course, you choice of car is a very personal one, but in my view, the SL63 AMG doesnt have a direct competitor and when you have the roof down and you are cruising around, no other car comes close to the SL AMG experience.

I agree, Also you dont see many about unlike Porsche,s....Class Car, Its the best car ive ever owned

Key specs

  • Price: £112,510
  • Engine: 5.5-litre V8 twin-turbo
  • Transmission: even-spd dual-clutch, rear-wheel drive
  • Power/torque: 577bhp/900Nm
  • 0-62mph : 4.1 seconds
  • Top speed: 155mph
  • Economy/CO2: 28.5mpg/231g/km
  • On sale: Now
AEX 1334
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