New Car: 2013 Mercedes SL65 AMG

In an age of engine downsizing and emissions-reduction mandates, one might expect the V-12 engine—volumes of which never were very high in the first place—to hit the endangered-species list. But Mercedes-Benz and AMG are keeping the breed alive at least for the near future, sliding the brands’ mighty twin-turbocharged twelve-pot into the latest SL roadster to create the latest SL65 AMG. With a price tag expected to top $200,000, the new super-roadster will create a veritable glut of six-figure, 500-plus-hp droptops in Benz showrooms, joining the $198,675 SLS AMG Roadster and the cheaper (at an estimated $140,000) 2013 SL63 AMG. The SL65 arrives this November. It will be available in 10 or so standard paint colors, the most important of which is brown.

While the fundamentals of the previous SL65’s SOHC 36-valve, 6.0-liter V-12 remain essentially the same, the 2013 model gets new turbochargers with optimized airflow and an additional 17 hp, for a total of 621. Instead of raising twist in turn, torque remains capped at a rear-tire-melting 738 lb-ft. Mercedes modified the cylinder heads and engine management system to optimize combustion, and those changes, along with a new catalytic converter and an engine stop-start feature, are said to help lower emissions. Also significant is the new model’s switch to an AMG-tuned seven-speed automatic transmission, complete with four operating modes (Controlled Efficiency, Sport, Sport Plus, and Manual), in place of the old five-speed auto. A locking AMG rear differential is standard, and the car adopts electrically boosted steering.

However controversial the sixth-generation SL body may be with its blunt, graceless front nose, its aluminum-intensive construction pays big dividends in terms of stiffness and weight loss. The SL65 AMG is said to shed 254 pounds, which would put the car at 4250 pounds by our estimate. The additional power and reduced mass should help the SL65 AMG hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, according to Mercedes-Benz. We clocked the previous SL65 AMG to 60 in 3.8 seconds, though, so we’re expecting the actual time to be in the mid-threes. Top speed is electronically capped at 186 mph, and a “considerable improvement” in fuel economy is promised. (We saw 13 mpg from the last car.)

Thanks to: Car and Driver


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