Mercedes-AMG is keeping the V8-powered sports car alive and not quietly. The SL63 S E Performance debuted last week. It’s not just a hybrid V8 supercar, but the most powerful SL ever conceived.
It has more than 800 horsepower and four digits of torque pumped out of the biturbo engine. Its performance makes this a potential titan on the tarmac.
Engineers at Mercedes-AMG made this possible by combining a handmade, 4.0-liter V8 with a Formula 1-inspired hybrid system. The engine produces 600 horsepower which exceeds the Porsche 911 Turbo or a Bentley Continental V8. Paired with the hybrid system, the horsepower increases to 805. It’s astounding for the car’s size and class.
A 200-horsepower electric powertrain Mercedes says was developed through a decade of F1 dominance was designed to prioritize power over efficiency. A two-speed motor uses energy stored in the 6.1-kWh battery. Don’t expect to take any lengthy drives solely on electric power; the motor has an eight-mile range.
The SL63’s power, combined with 1,047 lbs/ft of torque, makes it capable of 0-60 mph acceleration in 2.8 seconds. The car sends power from both sources to all four wheels through AMG’s Speedshift nine-speed automatic transmission. The 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive system can also temporarily prioritize electric power to the front wheels if a wheelspin is detected in the rear during hard acceleration.
Mercedes’ 0-60 mph acceleration estimates lean toward the conservative side, so expect a few tenths of a second shaved off in real-world testing. Even before proper acceleration tests, the hybrid SL63 stands tall in Mercedes’ lineup. The 0-60 time trumps the non-hybrid SL63 by seven-tenths of a second and is 1.2 seconds faster than the recently debuted CLE 53.
Braking occurs as fast as acceleration thanks to massive AMG carbon ceramic brakes. Six-piston calipers clamp down upon 16.5-inch discs up front and one-piston floating calipers on 15-inch discs in the rear.
Getting behind the wheel introduces drivers to a blend of opulence and performance. Massaging leather seats with contrast stitching stand out the most. Not pleased with the launch specification? Single and two-tone Nappa leather seats are available options alongside AMG Performance seats. A deeper look reveals the carbon fiber center console and door trim, eight driving modes and rear wheel steering.
The drive modes: Electric, Battery Hold, Comfort, Slippery, Sport, Sport+, Race, and Individual, all serve a different purpose, most of which are self-explanatory. Drivers who might be tied between Sport or Sport+ can curate preferred driving settings in the customizable Individual mode.
Rear-wheel steering and active roll stabilization further accentuate cornering abilities. Track enthusiasts should appreciate the aerodynamics package which goes beyond the standard active spoiler. The AMG Aerodynamics Package provides a spoiler on the underside of the car to lower it by 1.6 inches at 50 mph, sucking the car to the ground. This Venturi effect is the same way current Formula 1 cars stay glued to the road at high speeds.
Pricing hasn’t been announced for the SL63 S E Performance. The non-hybrid SL63 starts at $184,150; the hybrid option should exceed $200,000.
Article Last Updated: December 19, 2023.
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