It’s long, sleek and oh so pretty!
But what the Mercedes-Benz SL has over many other luxury roadsters is performance, particularly when you’re talking about their AMG models, the SL 63 and SL 65.
AMG is the performance arm of Mercedes-Benz, headquartered in Affalterbach, Germany and when you see the AMG badge on a Mercedes you know it means business.
Our tester was a 2018 Mercedes-AMG SL 63 roadster, boasting a handcrafted 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8, putting out 577 hp and 664 lb/ft of torque. It is teamed with a seven-speed automatic transmission.
The SL 63 is one of four SL variants, joining its more powerful AMG counterpart, the SL 65 with its AMG biturbo V12 engine that produces 621 hp and amazing 738 lb/ft of torque.
The two non-AMG models in the SL lineup are the SL 450 with a 3.0-litre biturbo V6 and the SL 550 that has a 4.7-litre biturbo V8 engine. These two power plants put out 362 and 449 hp respectively.
With its retractable hardtop roof that stows neatly in the trunk with the flick of a switch, the SL can transform itself from a sleek coupe to an open-top roadster in a matter of seconds.
As Mercedes says in its promotional literature, “for generations few cars have inspired desire like the SL lineup.”
Well let me tell you that this trend continues on with the 2018 SL 63, as I can’t begin to tell you how many “nice car” comments I got during my week with it.
Of course, living in a small community in southwestern Ontario, there aren’t any others like it in the vicinity so it’s certain to draw its share of attention.
But even at a couple of stops in Metro Toronto where exotic vehicles are the norm rather than the exception, the classic roadster elicited more than its share of nods and smiles. It’s that type of vehicle.
Up front, long and modern high-performance LED headlamps sweep back from the grille. The special AMG grille has the iconic Mercedes-Benz star front and centre.
A special AMG front apron with A-wing trim strip in high-gloss black sets the SL 63 apart, while the rear has an AMG spoiler lip and AMG sport exhaust system with twin chrome-plated tailpipes.
Our test vehicle was equipped with the optional AMG Performance Package ($9,000) that raises the top speed and adds a performance suspension, exterior carbon fibre trim, a special AMG Nappa performance steering wheel, red brake calipers and a matte carbon fibre rear spoiler.
The Premium Package ($6,100) adds climate comfort seats, the Airscarf neck-level heating system, multi-contour seats with massage function, soft close doors and a unique feature called Magic Sky Control.
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While it may look like simply a huge glass sunroof, the ‘magic’ roof has an electrical current passing through that with the press of a button can switch the panoramic roof from tinted to clear.
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Other options included brilliant Bengal Red Nappa Leather ($2,500) and the Intelligent Drive Package ($2,700) that provides a number of safety tech features.
All this takes the as-tested price to $186,900, up from the base of $166,600. Not an insignificant sum, but when you consider the overall package, you’re getting a lot of car.
The list of standard features is mind-boggling as are the technology and safety features included.
Inside, it’s all luxury, particularly sporty and elegant looking with the red Nappa leather package.
From the driver’s seat, the cabin has the look of an aircraft cockpit with four huge familiar-looking chrome vents that have become a Mercedes-Benz staple.
Almost everything is ergonomically placed within easy reach of the driver who pilots the machine with a beautifully finished flat-bottom AMG steering wheel, also done in premium Nappa leather.
All in all, there’s a refined, premium look to the cabin that is actually more spacious than one might expect for a two-seater.
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And while the SL 63 is about as nice a grand tourer as can be found on the market, for many buyers it’s all about the AMG badge and the power and performance the big V8 delivers.
Punch the start button and the engine comes to life. With no high-speed Autobahn to cruise in these parts, there are few opportunities to appreciate the power under the hood.
But just knowing it’s there with a 0-100 km/h time of about four seconds might just be enough to satisfy the speed-demon in some of us.
A weekend getaway to the country becomes even more enjoyable in the SL 63, which has luggage space for two in the boot, even with the roof neatly stowed in the trunk area.
On the expressway or on winding country roads, the SL 63 is a treat to drive with wonderful handling and power to spare when needed.
There are few, if any, luxury roadsters that offer everything the SL 63 can provide. It can be a coupe or a convertible, a quiet and comfortable grand tourer or a fire-breathing monster when you punch the throttle.
But whatever it is, it is simply a wonderful car to drive. Period.
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2018 Mercedes-AMG SL 63
Premium luxury performance roadster.
5.5-litre bi-turbo V8 (577 hp, 664 lb/ft of torque) with a seven-speed automatic transmission.
8.5 cu ft
14.7/9.5/12.4 L/100 km city/highway/combined.
$166,600, as tested $186,900.
WEB SITE: Mercedes-AMG Roadsters