From the November 2022 issue Car and driver.

The definition of a status symbol over 40 years old, Mercedes-Benz SL in the last generation has lost the ability to directly withdraw money from the bank accounts of the rich. This SL drove and handled better than any other, but after decades of elegance, the design—heavy nose, boxy look—made buyers want to spend their money elsewhere.

Enter the new SL, a sleek and svelte convertible that has ditched the retractable hardtop for a fabric roof. No longer a two-seater, the new SL adds a pair of small rear seats that may not be useful for hauling people, but will accommodate a couple of rolling bags. You’ll need to store them there, as the eight-cubic-foot trunk only holds one.

High specs: V-8 roar, aggressive handling, supple ride.

This reimagining of the SL makes it a bit more practical, but Mercedes doesn’t let the pendulum swing too far towards the sensible. Two versions are available, both AMG. The SL63 we tested uses the same twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 as the less expensive SL55, but increases horsepower from 469 to 577. It sprints to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds and turns traffic into a fog like only you enter the accelerator. Just remember to keep the nine-speed automatic in an angrier-than-Eco mode. To save fuel in this mode, the transmission’s economy programming finds the highest possible gear and does not want to downshift. The moderate regime has struck a much more satisfying balance.

The high beltline and hood tuck you and a passenger deep into the SL’s tub. The low seat doesn’t help with outward vision, but it does keep you out of the airflow when the top is down. Leather wraps most surfaces, and contrast stitching is a nice touch, although the stitching on the doors doesn’t even remotely match the stitching on the dashboard. Like any convertible, the SL63 lives its best life with the top down. The V-8 spits out a fiery and gutsy tune and the aromas roll in. Jasmine. Magnolias. Plumeria. Street tacos.

On the scarred streets of the Midwest, the SL63 rides softly despite its big wheels and thin sidewalls. Judging by the design, you’d never guess it’s a convertible. The windshield and steering never shook or shook. Turn the steering wheel hard and the SL63 carves corners with the agility of a smaller one AMG GT. Lean towards the nose and it will stick hard; keep pushing and the rear tires will start to lose traction before the fronts let go. It’s a cheeky handling balance, even for a sports car.

Cons: hard to see, a few incorrect interior details, tiny trunk.

Speaking of sports cars, Porsche 911 Carrera GTS The convertible is an obvious competitor here. The SL runs quieter, rides better, and comes with a track-based V-8. The 911 is faster, offers manual and is a more lively car. There’s definitely a place in our hearts for the SL63. If only there was room in the bank account.

Mark Urbano|Car and driver

Technical characteristics

Technical characteristics

2022 Mercedes-AMG SL63
Vehicle type: front engine, four-wheel drive, 2+2 passenger, 2-door convertible

Base/as tested: $180,450 / $204,885
Options: Carbon fiber exterior package, $5,300; Burmester 3-D surround sound stereo, $4,500; AMG black cross-spoke wheels, $3,300; Monza Gray Magno paint, $3,250; AMG Aerodynamic Package, $2,850; Driver assistance package with active safety equipment (Distance Assist, Steering Assist, Lane Change Assist, Emergency Stop Assist, Speed ​​Limit Assist, Cross Traffic Braking Assist, Steer Avoidance Assist, Lane Keep Assist, Monitor blind spots, route-based speed adaptation), $1,950; Performance trim (front axle lift system, surround-view camera, active LED headlights, head-up display), $1,800; AMG Night package, $1,300; microfiber upholstery, $1,600

32-valve DOHC twin-turbo intercooled V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 243 inches33982 cm3
Power: 577 horsepower at 6500 rpm
Torque: 590 lb-ft at 2,500 rpm

9-speed automatic

Suspension, L/R: multi-link/multi-link
Brakes, front/rear: 15.4-inch cross-punched ventilated disc; 14.2-inch cross-drilled ventilated disc
Tires: Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
F: 275/35ZR21 (103Y) M01A
R: 305/30ZR21 (104Y) M02A

Wheelbase: 106.3 inches
Length: 185.2 inches
Width: 75.4 inches
Height: 53.5 inches
Curb weight: 4305 lbs

60 mph: 3.0 sec
100 mph: 7.1 sec
1/4 mile: 11.2 seconds at 125 mph
130 mph: 12.2 sec
150 mph: 17.5 sec
170 mph: 25.6 sec
The results above are omitted 1 foot deployment 0.2 sec.
Start from 5–60 mph: 3.9 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 2.6 sec
Top Gear, 50–70mph: 2.9s
Top speed (manufacturer’s claim): 196 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 150 feet
Braking, 100–0 mph: 297 feet
Road resistance, 300-foot pad: 1.04g

Observed: 18 mpg

Combined/city/highway: 16/14/21 mpg


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