The Mercedes-Benz SL has always been a wonderfully excessive machine, a symbol of personal success as much as a totem of German engineering. Long our choice among the modern folding-hardtop versions, the burly SL63 AMG gains even more power for 2015 as AMG endows its M157 twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V-8 with the latest tuning.
Turn It Up
The SL63 received its last major update for 2013, when it placed second to a Porsche 911 cabriolet in a four-car comparison test of high-performance luxury droptops. The highlights then were the SL63’s sportier demeanor, a significant weight savings, and the addition of the turbocharged V-8—good for 530 horsepower in standard trim and 557 with the optional AMG Performance package. That engine’s 664 lb-ft of torque still punishes the SL’s driveline from about 2000 rpm, but Mercedes has turned up the boost to a full 577 horses at 5500 revs, in line with the latest S63 coupe and sedan. (Most previous buyers opted for the uprated engine anyway, so there’s no longer a higher-performance option.)So the car may not have been performing to its full potential. /p table border="0" cellpadding="2" cellspacing="0"x">
Like It Matters
Not that that should deter any potential buyers. The SL63 is magnificently quick on the open road, and listening to its snarling V-8 pulse with the top down is pure joy. This is still a lord of open-air motoring, with a regal price tag to match: $148, 975 to start, or more than 40 grand above the gentlemanly SL550.
Our test car’s figure quickly ballooned with the carbon brakes, as well as carbon-fiber exterior trim ($3570), Designo white nappa leather upholstery ($3100), the electrochromatic Magic Sky Control roof ($2500), Night View Assist Plus ($2260), and several other gadgets and driver aids. Total: a properly lavish $172, 755. Of course, if true excess is your thing, Mercedes will also sell you the 621-hp, V-12 SL65 AMG for $217, 475.