What is it?
AMG has got hold of the new SL and done good things to it. Very good things. The new SL63 AMG offers serious supercar pace as well as GT refinement. It's blend of driver-pleasing accomplishment and long-distance comfort is remarkable, making it one of the best fast all-rounders on sale.
What's surprising is how agile the car feels. Slip it into manual gearbox mode (which adds extra weight to the steering but not any extra feel), and it becomes a rewarding thing to thread through corners. The steering is sharp and, because AMG has replaced the normal SL's variable rack with a fixed-ratio, it's easier to place the 63 accurately. This doesn't feel like a big, front-engined barge - it's lithe and fun.
Harder than the non-AMG’d SL, but won’t turn your lower back into bone-powder unless you’re planning a spot of off-roading. The seats are brilliant and the driving position is spot on, but if you’re solely going to use your SL for long-distance cruising, you might want to consider a softer alternative. It’s a fair trade-off for the performance, though.
Out goes the old 6.2, in comes the new 5.5-litre twin turbo V8; 530bhp and 590lb ft equals 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds and a limited top speed of 155mph. Effortlessly fast and torque-rich - an AMG speciality. Spec the Performance Pack, and that engine power rises by 26bhp and 74lb ft, dropping the 62mph dash to 4.2 seconds. Supremely quick.
On the inside
The SL is quite practical in terms of two away for a weekend. Don't expect to get much IKEA flatpack in there though; while bigger than before, the boot-space sits at 364 litres.
Say what you like about Mercedes Benz, they know how to put together a car. They might have had a slightly dodgy reputation over the past few years, but cars like the SL make you realize that engineering is still very much a priority for the firm. Just don't go for a lairy interior combination.
High tax, high insurance, low mpg and high running costs. Sorry.