600kW Mercedes-AMG SL 63 S E Performance debuts as brand’s most potent roadster ever

Published Dec 12, 2023


It has been almost 20 years since Mercedes unleashed its SL 63 AMG, a 450kW, V12-powered sledgehammer that became the world’s most powerful and torquiest roadster.

Now the Affalterbach based performance division has created something that could potentially be seen as a spiritual successor: the new Mercedes-AMG SL 63 S E Performance hybrid.

With system outputs of 600kW and up to 1,420Nm, it ties with the similarly-engined Mercedes-AMG GT S E Performance 4-Door as the fastest-accelerating Mercedes product ever, surging from 0-100km/h in a claimed 2.9 seconds, and hitting a top speed of 317km/h.

It’s a full second faster to 100 than the regular, non-hybrid SL 63, which is good for 430kW and 800Nm.

The SL performance hybrid’s drivetrain pairs 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine with a rear axle-mounted electric motor. Positioned above the e-motor is a 6.1 kWh battery that, when fully charged, allows an EV range of up to 13km.

Which is not much. But then this hybrid is really about the performance on offer and any electric creeping that you manage is really just a bonus.

The 150kW rear-mounted e-motor pairs with a two-speed transmission and mechanical limited-slip differential, and can act directly on the rear axle to provide an instant boost under hard acceleration.

However if the rear end starts to lose traction, its driving force can also be transmitted to the front wheels if required.

Thus the AMG-specific 4Matic+ all-wheel drive system is fully variable, and together with the AMG Active Ride Control suspension with semi-active roll stabilisation, aims to make this sledgehammer of a roadster as agile as possible.

It’s also as adjustable as you could expect from a modern sports car with eight driving modes giving owners the full Jeckyl and Hyde spectrum from Electric, to Battery Hold, Comfort, Smoothness, Sport, Sport+, Race and Individual. Furthermore, the braking energy recuperation can be set through four stages.

Engineers also spent some good quality time on the aerodynamics package, which includes an active aero element beneath the front of the engine as well as an extendable rear spoiler integrated into the boot lid.

Visually there isn’t too much to tell this hybrid hurricane apart from the regular SL 63, apart from the electric cable flap and red model badging. The vehicle rolls on 20-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels painted in matt black, with a high-sheen finish.

The 2+2 seater cabin is equipped with electrically adjustable AMG sports seats, but customers will have to pay a bit more for the AMG performance seats with integrated headrests.

As for the electronics, the SL 63’s MBUX infotainment system boasts numerous AMG and hybrid-specific displays and functions as well as exclusive menu items such as “AMG Performance”.

“The SL has always been an icon in the Mercedes-Benz portfolio. The latest version of the legendary roadster transfers this status into the future,” says AMG head Michael Schiebe.

“With this unique concept, we offer our customers not only superior performance but also the option of all-electric driving. Extensive equipment options and the high-quality materials used also make the SL one of the most exclusive roadsters on the market - a real dream car.”

IOL Motoring