2022 Mercedes-AMG SL63 Reconnects with Its Fan Base

From the November 2022 issue of Car and Driver.

The definition of a status symbol for over 40 years, the Mercedes-Benz SL lost its ability to directly withdraw from the bank accounts of the wealthy in its last generation. That SL drove and performed better than any other, but after decades of elegance, the design—a nose-heavy, squared-off look—had buyers spending elsewhere.

Enter the new SL, a smooth and shapely convertible that ditches the retractable hardtop for a fabric roof. No longer a two-seater, the new SL adds a pair of small rear seats, which might not be useful for hauling humans but will hold a couple of roller bags. You’ll need to store them there since the eight-cubic-foot trunk only holds one.

Highs: V-8 rumble, aggressive handling, supple ride.

This reinvention of the SL makes it slightly more practical, but Mercedes keeps the pendulum from swinging too far toward sensible. Two versions, both AMGs, are available. The SL63 we tested uses the same twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 as the less dear SL55 but raises horsepower from 469 to 577. It rips off runs to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds and turns traffic to a blur as soon as you roll into the accelerator. Just be sure to keep the nine-speed automatic in a mode angrier than Eco. To save fuel in that mode, frugal gearbox programming finds the highest gear possible and is reluctant to downshift. The Moderate mode struck a much more satisfying balance.

A high beltline and cowl put you and the passenger deep in the SL’s bathtub. Sitting low doesn’t aid outward vision, but it does keep you far from the airstream when the top is down. Leather wraps most surfaces, and contrasting stitching is a nice touch, although the seams on the door didn’t even remotely align with those on the instrument panel. Like any convertible, the SL63 lives its best life with the top down. The V-8 spits a fiery and gutsy tune, and the scents roll in. Jasmine. Magnolias. Plumeria. Street tacos.

On scarred Midwestern streets, the SL63’s ride is gentle, despite the large wheels and teensy sidewalls. Judging by the structure, you’d never guess this is a convertible. The windshield and steering never issued a shake or quiver. Turn the steering wheel hard, and the SL63 cuts into corners with the deftness of the smaller AMG GT. Lean into the nose and it sticks hard; keep pushing and the rear tires begin to lose grip before the fronts let go. It’s a daring handling balance, even for a sports car.

Lows: Hard to see out of, some misaligned interior bits, tiny trunk.

Speaking of sports cars, the Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet is the obvious competitor here. The SL is quieter, rides better, and comes with a V-8 backing track. The 911 is quicker, offers a manual, and is a livelier machine. There’s definitely a place in our hearts for the SL63. If only the bank account had the space.

Marc Urbano|Car and Driver



2022 Mercedes-AMG SL63
Vehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 2+2-passenger, 2-door convertible


Base/As Tested: $180,450/$204,885
Options: Exterior Carbon Fiber package, $5300; Burmester 3-D surround-sound stereo, $4500; AMG cross-spoke black wheels, $3300; Monza Grey Magno paint, $3250; AMG Aerodynamics package, $2850; Driver Assistance package with active safety equipment (distance assist, steering assist, lane-change assist, emergency-stop assist, speed-limit assist, brake assist with cross-traffic function, evasive steering assist, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, route-based speed adaptation), $1950; Performance trim line (front-axle lift system, surround-view camera, active LED headlights, head-up display), $1800; AMG Night package, $1300; microfiber headliner, $1600

twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 243 in3, 3982 cm3
Power: 577 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 590 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm


9-speed automatic


Suspension, F/R: multilink/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 15.4-inch vented, cross-drilled disc; 14.2-inch vented, cross-drilled disc
Tires: Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
F: 275/35ZR21 (103Y) M01A
R: 305/30ZR21 (104Y) M02A


Wheelbase: 106.3 in
Length: 185.2 in
Width: 75.4 in
Height: 53.5 in
Curb Weight: 4305 lb


60 mph: 3.0 sec
100 mph: 7.1 sec
1/4-Mile: 11.2 sec @ 125 mph
130 mph: 12.2 sec
150 mph: 17.5 sec
170 mph: 25.6 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.2 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 3.9 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 2.6 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 2.9 sec
Top Speed (mfr’s claim): 196 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 150 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 297 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 1.04 g


Observed: 18 mpg


Combined/City/Highway: 16/14/21 mpg


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