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Car of the Year 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG

  • Robert Ross

Sport Light Fantastic
The SL progenitor, the iconic 300SL, firmly established the model’s heritage when it debuted in 1952. Today the original SLs are million-dollar-plus collectibles whose halos have cast a golden light on every SL that came after them. This is not to say that the 2013 SL63 AMG has much to do with any SL forebear. In fact, this sixth-generation SL, with its all-aluminum shell, is completely new.

Using the new SL550 as a springboard, the SL63 AMG proves that more SL—in this case, a lot more—is better. The heart of the SL63 AMG is a 5.5-liter V-8 with twin turbochargers and direct fuel injection. The engine is mated to a 7-speed automated manual transmission that engages seamlessly. The optional AMG Performance Package bumps the engine’s horsepower from 530 to 557 and its torque, the true measure of seat-of-the-pants performance, from 590 ft lbs to a whopping 664 ft lbs. Thus equipped, this SL not so gently nudges the flagship SLS AMG Gullwing, the car that took first place in our 2011 Car of the Year competition.

Luxury grand touring for two is the SL’s purpose, and while this car is not as spacious as other GTs, it does offer appealing lounge-like comfort. The cabin provides a quiet ride, as in a coupe, when the top is in place, and it includes a new sound system with bass drivers that are embedded in the firewall. The design turns the volumetric space into a precisely tuned chamber that propagates a prodigious bottom end while reducing spurious resonances to naught. This kind of attention to detail—along with the larger SL driver experience—proves that Mercedes-Benz is serious about setting every benchmark for personal roadsters.

SPECIFICATIONS
Configuration
Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive convertible Engine 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 Transmission 7-speed automated manual Power 530 hp at 5,550 rpm Torque 590 ft lbs at 2,000 rpm Curb weight 4,068 pounds Zero to 60 mph 4.2 seconds Top speed 186 mph Base price $146,000 Mercedes-Benz, www.mbusa.com

This article was originally published in the February 2013 issue of Robb Report. Click here to read more articles from this issue.