Mercedes-Benz used today’s F1 test session at the Barcelona circuit in Spain as the backdrop for the unveiling of its latest performance car, the Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG.
Set to go on sale in the UK in June, the new two seat roadster was revealed before a throng of international press representatives in an uncharacteristic low key presentation in the Barcelona pitlane alongside the German car maker’s new F1 car, the MGP W03, by Mercedes AMG Petronas drivers, Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg.
Building on the developments brought to the standard SL shown at the Detroit motor show back in January, the SL63 AMG is based around a lightweight aluminium and magnesium structure that is claimed to reduce weight by 125kg over its predecessor.
Power comes from AMG’s latest M157 engine. The twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8, already used in the E63, CLS63, S63, CL63 and ML63, has been tuned to deliver 529bhp.
With the reduction in weight, the new car is claimed to possess greater performance than the old SL63, while returning combined fuel consumption savings of up to 30 per cent over the old SL63 AMG.
The new car is differentiated from lesser versions of Mercedes-Benz’s sixth-generation SL through an extensive body kit developed by the head of AMG design Volker Hellwig at the company’s headquarters in Affalterbach, Germany. It’s an aggressive and purposeful looking machine, lacking the elegance and grace of earlier go-fast versions of the German car maker’s up-market roadster.
Hallmark features include a deeper front bumper with larger cooling ducts, AMG-specific LED daytime running lights, a unique double-louvre grille, 'V8 BITURBO' badges along the flanks, widened sills, a subtle boot deck spoiler and an altered rear bumper housing an integral diffuser and four trapezoidal-shaped chromed tailpipes.
As with the last two generations of AMG’s performance roadster, the SL55 AMG and outgoing SL63 AMG, the new one receives an aluminium folding hardtop roof. It retracts back and stows within the top of the boot in 20sec. As with the smaller SLK55 AMG, it is expected to come with Mercedes-Benz’s new automatically tinting Magic Sky Roof as an option.
The 2012 Formula 1 season marks the first time that AMG’s name has been associated with parent company Mercedes-Benz’s F1 program, and it grabbed its first possible opportunity to attempt to link it with its road car business.
Mercedes-Benz plans to release further details, including official performance claims, for the new SL63 AMG tomorrow prior to a planned public unveiling at the Geneva motor show on 6 March.