Piers Ward01 May 2012

Driven: the Mercedes SL63 AMG

It’s another iron fist in a velvet glove from the AMG stable - Piers Ward reports

Mercedes SL63 AMG

Haven't I read about this car before?

Sort of. We drove the Mercedes SL back in April, but this is the AMG version. Think the grace of the SL, mixed with the brutal power of the AMG brand. An iron fist in a velvet glove, if you'll pardon the cliché.

So what's so brutal about it?

529bhp and 590lb ft do the trick for you? The SL63 has got AMG's epic 5.5-litre, twin-turbo V8, and with all that power on tap will sprint from 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds, and hit 155mph (limited). It's safe to say it's really quite fast, devouring tarmac as quickly as you'd ever want without being in serious danger of losing your licence.

See more pics of the Mercedes SL63 AMG

And if all that power isn't quite enough for you, then you can fork out another lump of cash and get the Performance Pack upgrade. This will take your SL to 556bhp and 663lb ft, which reduces the 0-62mph time to 4.2 seconds. If nothing else, your pub ammo stats will be considerably enhanced with this option.

Pricing is yet to be confirmed, but it looks like the normal SL63 will cost about £112,000, and the PP version will be about £120,000. There are cheaper ways to get your speed thrills, but none do it with the SL's grace.

You keep talking about ‘grace'. Is this car not all about POWWWEEEEER?

OK, you're right. This is a monstrously quick car, but it does that speed thing with such little fuss and with such a good chassis underneath you that it's really relaxing to drive. The 63 is a GT at heart, happy to pootle along and take all the strain out of your journey. The V8 can be quiet, the suspension can be soft and accommodating, the roof can arc back and leave you with the wind gently ruffling your hair. Even the wind deflector is electric, gracefully rising out of the gap between the roll over hoops.

But then there's also the AMG part. The auto gearbox has hardcore modes - sport + and manual. The dampers can be stiffened up. The V8 can be worked round to its full 6,000rpm red line. The car can be picked up by the scruff of the neck, the light steering helping you, so that it dives and points into the corners with far more agility than you'd think possible from something weighing 1.8 tonnes. For a GT car with a long bonnet, it feels surprisingly well balanced.

And then you're into why this SL is so good. Other turbo'd cabrios will give you more focused thrills, but none of the others will do the relaxed part as well. It's brutal luxury here.

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