Mercedes SL63

Mighty Merc drop-top hits the road

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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...

Most Popular

EU demands speed limiters on all new cars from next week: know the rules and how they work
speed limiters

EU demands speed limiters on all new cars from next week: know the rules and how they work

Car industry body calls for UK government to adopt the new measures, but we’ll probably get them anyway…
29 Jun 2022
New MG 4 electric hatch arrives with 280 miles of range
New MG 4 2023

New MG 4 electric hatch arrives with 280 miles of range

The all-electric MG 4 hatchback rivals the Volkswagen ID.3 and introduces MG’s new MSP electric platform
28 Jun 2022
New Toyota Corolla prototype review
Toyota Corolla prototype - front
Road tests

New Toyota Corolla prototype review

We try out the updated Toyota Corolla hybrid ahead of its official arrival
30 Jun 2022