What is it?
Mercedes-Benz’s successor to the six-year-old SL 55 AMG, the SL 63 AMG.
The new two seater, set to reach the UK next month, forms part of a five-strong facelifted SL line-up that also includes the 231bhp 3.0-litre V6 SL 280, 316bhp 3.5-litre V6 SL 350, 388bhp 5.5-litre V8 SL 500 and storming 612bhp twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre V12 SL 65 AMG.
As the name of AMG’s latest model suggests, the up-market roadster gets a new naturally-aspirated 6.2-litre V8 that replaces the outgoing model’s supercharged 5.4-litre V8.
Despite a lack of forced injection, the new powerplant’s larger capacity sees it trump its predecessor to the tune of 15bhp, putting out 525bhp at 6800rpm. It can’t match the old engine’s huge torque rating, though; the SL 63 AMG’s 450lb ft is 66lb ft down on the SL 55 AMG, and is developed some 2550rpm further up the rev range at a high 5200rpm, meaning it has to be worked fairly hard before you see its best.
All this muscle makes its way back to the rear wheels via a new seven-speed paddle shift gearbox. Designed to handle torque loads of up to 516lb ft, the new gearbox offers the choice between four modes; comfort, sport, sport plus and manual – the latter claimed to boast shift times of just 100 milliseconds.
Inside, there’s a new three spoke steering wheel with remote shift paddles, lightly altered instrument graphics, redesigned sport seats with optional Airscarf system as well as a new navigation and entertainment system. The centre console is reworked to accommodate the revised shift lever and its associated switchgear.
There’s also a striking new front end design that, to these eyes at least, provides the SL 63 AMG with an instantly more aggressive appearance than the SL 55 AMG.
What’s it like?
Vastly more fluent in its actions than the SL 55 AMG ever was. While the basic four-link (front) and multi-link (rear) suspension remains unchanged in its basic design, AMG have provided the SL 63 with new spring and damper rates as well as altered bushes more rigid front axle bearings.