2018 Mercedes-AMG SL 63 Review: An Old School High-performance Convertible


TrackWorthy - Mercedes-AMG SL 63
“…a rock-solid performance machine that is a joy to live with, day in and day out, top up or top down.”Michael Taylor, Co-founder, TrackWorthy Group Ltd.
The Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster is one of the most iconic two-seater convertibles of the past half-century. For more than six decades the SL, which stands for Sportlich-Leicht (Sport Lightweight in English), has represented prestige and success for the fortunate few who have the means to get behind the wheel of this legendary roadster. The first generation 190 and 300 SL are amongst the most beautiful and sought-after collector cars. A 1963 300 SL Roadster sold at auction last month for $3.7 million USD. The second generation 280 SL is also a design classic and as beautiful today as it was when it was first introduced in 1963. The 2018 Mercedes-AMG SL 63 carries on that legacy and delivers a shocking amount of performance that will press its passengers into the backs of their seats every time it is summoned from the eight barking, growling cylinders.

Handcrafted Engine

At the heart of every Mercedes-AMG is its handcrafted engine that bears the signature of the person who oversaw its creation at the factory in Affalterbach, Germany. In the case of the SL 63, that engine is a 5.5 litre biturbo V8 that produces 577 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm and a ground shaking 664 lb-ft of torque from 2,250–3,750 rpm. All of that power will launch this two-ton roadster and its two occupants, in a great deal of style and luxury, from 0-100 km in just 4.1 seconds.

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If 664 lb-ft of torque isn’t enough, one can always opt for the 12 cylinder 6.0 litre biturbo in the SL 65, which wields 621 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque. Interestingly, all of that extra horsepower and torque in the SL 65 only reduces 0-100 km/h acceleration runs by one-tenth of a second to 4.0 seconds verses the SL 63’s 4.1 seconds. One more fact to grapple with is that you can buy an SL 450 and an SL 550 for less than the cost of one V12 SL 65. Yes, the SL 65 carries quite a premium; but V12 engines are special, very rare, and will soon be relics of the past.

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TrackWorthy - Mercedes-AMG SL63 Performance

Retractable Hardtop Roof

The original SL’s were classic soft-top convertibles, but, with the introduction of the fifth generation SL in 2001, a retractable folding hardtop replaced the soft-top. It only takes about fifteen seconds to raise or lower the retractable hardtop, which you can accomplish at speeds of up to 40 km/h. The standard panoramic roof has a see-through panel and a sliding sunshade. But to really impress your passenger, you can use the Magic Sky Control, which, with the touch of a button, darkens the overhead glass electrically. With the retractable hardtop in place, passengers are well protected from whatever Mother Nature throws at them.

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The SL has the interior environment equal to that of a coupe, but with the added benefit of its ability to open up to the sky on perfect top down days. And to extend the convertible season into the fall or early winter months, you can drop the top, raise the windows and rear wind screen, turn up the heat and activate the Airscarf, which gently blows warm air onto the back of your neck. The SL 63 is a car for almost all seasons.

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Mercedes-AMG GT

The classic and elegant Mercedes-Benz SL always stood at the pinnacle of the Mercedes-Benz drop top food chain. Mercedes currently offers half-a-dozen wind-in-your-hair models, including three four-seater cabriolets and three 2-seater roadsters:

TrackWorthy - Mercedes-AMG SL63 Comp Models
The AMG GT is definitely the head-turner of the current group. It is a very modern two-seater with classic roadster lines, based on the 2-door coupe, and it is one of the most striking convertibles on the road. The GT is a see and be seen car, whereas the SL is a little more low key and has a bit more stealth factor, especially in its AMG incarnations. The AMG SLs have levels of high performance that their drivers, occupants and on-lookers would not expect. These are serious performance machines. If the goal is to drive a high performance two-seat roadster but not be on everyone’s radar, the SL is the more discrete option over the GT.
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Six Generations of the Mercedes SL Roadster

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Our Test Car

Prices do not include taxes, levies, fees, freight and delivery:

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Fuel Economy

Fuel consumption – city: 14.7 l/100 km
Fuel consumption – highway: 9.5 l/100 km
Fuel consumption – combined: 12.4 l/100 km

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Our Take

The 2018 Mercedes-AMG SL 63 offers a complete grand touring roadster package. It has an exquisite heritage that spans more than half a century; it exudes class and prestige; it is refined and understated; and it provides a TrackWorthy driving punch that never gets old. Mercedes introduced this generation SL half a dozen years ago and the switchgear reflects that, but in a good way. The interior is familiar, functional and extremely easy to use. The SL 63 is packed with technology and performance. Yes, the rear end likes to move around under acceleration, a byproduct of playing with 664 lb-ft of torque, but the driving experience is always manageable, never daunting. The SL 63 is a rock-solid performance machine that is a joy to live with, day in and day out, top up or top down.
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