2014 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG review

The Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG is a couple of years old now, so what better way to help it into middle age than by giving it a bit more power?

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The 2014 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG has just been given what it always needed – more power.

Okay, perhaps its 5.5-litre V8 didn't actually need much more in the way of out and out mumbo, but it's welcome nonetheless, as is the addition of a standard limited-slip differential to improve the handling.

All of this is designed to make the SL punchier, more nimble and more engaging, but it's still got to do the whole boulevard-cruiser-with-attitude thing, too.

What's the Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG like to drive?

The car was already searingly quick before, and the extra 47bhp the twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8 engine generates has only made it even more brutal. The 0-62mph dash is dispensed with in a vaguely absurd 4.2 seconds and it'll get to the limited top speed of 155mph even more quickly than before.

Changes up and down through the seven-speed automatic gearbox are smooth and quick when you leave the transmission to its own devices in Comfort mode; they are faster still and at higher revs if you engage any of the sportier driving modes. You can take control of shifts yourself as well, but that doesn't seem quite in keeping with the character of the car, which suits a more relaxed approach.

The only downside to leaving the transmission in Comfort is that it can take a second or two to sort out the right gear when you decide you need a burst of speed.

For a car that feels so wide, the SL is pretty light on its toes. It steers quickly and actually conveys some information back to your palms about what sort of a time the front tyres are having. It also grips pretty well, while the limited-slip differential helps with both traction and handling balance. 

It stops quickly too, although the enormous brakes could do with feeling a touch sharper at high speed and a little less grabby at low speeds.

Despite the presence of dustbin-lid-diameter alloy wheels, the SL63 AMG deals pretty well with bumps both when you're in town or on the motorway, and its body doesn't float or sway too much when the road becomes more interesting. It'll sit, rock-steady, for mile after mile on motorways too.

What's the Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG like inside?

You certainly do get a fairly classy-feeling interior for your £112,510 these days.

Pretty much everything is swathed in leather made from cows that have never even seen a barbed-wire fence let alone been near one, and the rest of the cabin is made up from high-quality metal or Alcantara.

There's plenty of space for two people, and all their paraphernalia. You'd have to be extra tall to need any more legroom and your head won't be very near the roof when it's up either.

Putting down the roof takes only a few seconds and allows you to savour the full-on Messerschmitt blare from the exhausts, although things can become a bit blustery unless you reach behind you and lift the mesh wind deflector into place.

You'll need to pack pretty light if you want to put down the roof though, because it collapses into the space in the boot where you'd ideally like your Louis Vuitton valise to reside.

Should I buy one?

The SL63 AMG certainly offers a vast amount of performance for your money; it also has quite a breadth of talent because it can entertain (up to a point) when you're in the mood, or cosset when you're not.

Other costs are pretty much as you'd expect, so although the Government figures suggest the SL63 AMG will do an average of 28.5mpg, it actually drinks like a man after a week in the Sahara when you put your foot down.

Carbon dioxide emissions of 231g/km also put it in the top band for company car tax, although if this is your company car you can probably afford to not care what the taxman demands each month for it.

However, for all the SL63 AMG's pace, poise and noise, we reckon you'd get most of what it offers in the standard SL500, which also has a turbocharged V8 engine up front. It'll hit 62mph in just 4.6 seconds and has the same 155mph top speed as the AMG version. It's also £20,000 less, so it's the one we'd go for.

What Car? says


Rivals

Bentley Continental GT Convertible

Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet

Specification

Engine size 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8
Price from £112,510
Power 577bhp
Torque 664lb ft
0-62mph 4.2 seconds
Top speed 155mph
Fuel economy 28.5mpg
CO2 output 231g/km

 
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