Mighty Merc drop-top hits the road
AT £100,000-plus, the SL63 AMG is very expensive. But the 6.3-litre V8 delivers incredible pace and a rumbling soundtrack, while the new MCT transmission is a real gem. Plus, the AMG chassis tweaks have made the car more involving in corners.
It's a big claim, but Mercedes says the new SL63 AMG is the sportiest roadster it has ever made. Better even than the open-top SLR McLaren.
Out on the road, you can see why. Trademark AMG styling cues such as deeper side skirts, a black grille and unique bumpers work with the latest SL’s angular lines to give real presence.
The big exhausts and pronounced bonnet bulge are the visual giveaways to the 519bhp 6.3-litre V8 which is at the heart of this car’s appeal. But it’s not until you press the gearlever-mounted starter button and hear the rumble of the unit that you get a true sense of the performance potential.
The 0-60mph sprint takes less than 4.6 seconds, and the 630Nm of torque gives a seemingly endless amount of overtaking punch. What’s more, the SL63 is the first car to use AMG’s new SPEEDSHIFT MCT-7 transmission – and it’s a revelation. Doing away with the standard car’s torque convertor, the seven-speed gearbox uses multiple clutches to provide smooth shifts and give the driver better control.
And this isn’t the only thing that makes the Merc feel like a supercar. AMG has worked its magic on the SL’s Active Body Control, fitted a switchable three-stage ESP stability system and revised the damping.
Our car also featured the £8,230 Performance Package, which includes composite brakes, a limited slip differential and enhanced suspension.
As a result, pressing the throttle to the floor doesn’t cause the car to squirm as it did in the old SL55 AMG. The Merc now turns in with agility, while the reassuring levels of grip and the gearbox control allow you to exploit the engine’s power as never before. Body stiffness is impressive, too, and it’s a great tribute to AMG’s damper tweaking that the 63 rides as well as the standard SL.
An array of sporty materials such as Alcantara, carbon and leather give the cabin a racy feel, too, and means the SL63 can rightly claim to be one of the most desirable roadsters currently available. At least, that is, until the rumoured AMG Black edition arrives in 18 months’ time...