With 2013 SL63 AMG, Mercedes-Benz Brings Fight to BMW

Mercedes-Benz has introduced the 2013 SL63 AMG, the higher-performance version of the 2013 SL550 roadster, which had its public debut at the Detroit auto show in January. It is scheduled to go on sale at an undisclosed price after the SL550 arrives in American showrooms this spring.

Powered by a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8 developing 530 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque in standard trim, the SL63 can accelerate to 60 miles an hour in 4.2 seconds, Mercedes claims. As with other recent AMG products, a performance package brings heightened horsepower, up to 557, which would serve to shave 1/10 of a second from the car’s zero-to-60 number. And though top speed for the standard car is an electronically regulated 155 miles per hour, the performance version is allowed to run up to a claimed 186 m.p.h.

BMW released details this month of its 2012 M6 coupe and convertible. The latest high-horsepower product from AMG would be expected to compete against the M6, as well as outliers like the Jaguar XKR-S convertible and Maserati GranTurismo Convertible Sport.
The SL63’s V-8 is built on an aluminum block and utilizes spray-guided direct injection, variable valve timing and intercooling for the twin turbos. The attention to engine calibration yields an estimated 30-percent gain in fuel economy over the 2012 SL63 AMG, with its larger but less powerful 6.2-liter engine.

Handling gear changes is the AMG Speedshift 7-speed automatic transmission. Equipped with a start-up clutch that runs in an oil bath, the transmission features four shift modes: controlled efficiency, sport, sport plus and manual.

The SL63 AMG weighs in at 4,059 pounds, 275 pounds less than the model it replaces. Its body unit, constructed largely of aluminum, is virtually identical to that of the SL550. Mold castings and vacuum die castings combine with sheet aluminum, magnesium and high-strength steel in a body said to be the product of seven years’ development.

Managing that body’s behavior is a suspension system that includes electronically controlled damping. Suspension changes from the previous model include more negative camber at all four wheels. Steering adjusts automatically to the suspension setting, Mercedes asserts.

The same retractable hardtop found on the SL550, which can be raised or lowered in less than 20 seconds, is used on the SL63. The outward signifiers of AMG products are here, including quad exhaust pipes, a rear lip spoiler and AMG-badged alloy wheels. Inside, standard equipment includes AMG sports seats in single- or two-tone nappa leather.

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