Building on the lightweight, aluminum-intensive architecture that underpins the new SL550 and turning up the performance wick a major step beyond the awesome SL63 AMG, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG makes its world debut in New York. This V12-powered overachiever will arrive in showrooms here this November as the unchallenged leader of the SL-Class pack.
Heart of the new SL65 AMG is a revised and even more potent version of the twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter AMG V12 used in its predecessor. The extensive revamp nets a pair of higher-capacity force-feeders, less-restrictive wastegate plumbing and new manifolds plus a lighter, freer-flowing exhaust system. The changes add 17 horsepower to the SL65's underhood corral, bringing that total to a stunning 621 at 4,800 rpm. Torque remains unchanged at a heady 738 lb-ft, which plateaus from 2,300-4,300 revs.
Backing this upgraded engine is a new gearbox: the latest version of the AMG Speedshift Plus 7-speed. Replacing the conventional five-speed automatic used before, this ultra-fast autoshifter sends power to the rear wheels and features four driver-selectable programs -- Controlled Efficiency/Sport/Sport Plus/Manual -- as well as a wider overall ratio spread to help improve fuel economy. Mercedes says the new SL65 AMG needs just 3.9 seconds to run 0-60 mph, 0.3 ticks less than the SL63 AMG, and has an electronically limited top speed of 186 mph compared to the SL63's 155-mph max. Like its eight-cylinder AMG runningmate, the V12 in the SL65 also is fitted with M-B's ECO Start/Stop system to further help bump its as-yet-undetermined EPA numbers and lower CO2 emissions.
Leveraging the fundamentally lighter aluminum core structure from the new SL-Class with a host of other low-mass alloy and composite bits shared with the SL63, the new SL65 AMG weighs in at 4,299 pounds, 254 less than the car it replaces. To further help exploit its formidable potential, this raging roadster also gets a similar AMG recalibration of its equally aluminum-intensive chassis elements. The revamp starts with SL65-specific programming/tuning of its standard ABC (Active Body Control) suspension that offers driver-selectable Comfort/Sport settings. Also fully integrated into the mix are a bespoke three-stage ESP stability control, variable assist power steering, AMG locking rear differential and AMG brakes. Those super stoppers are available in hugely powerful standard form or fortified with optional carbon-ceramic discs culled from the SLS AMG.
True to tradition, the new Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG also receives a number of specific visual enhancements to formally confirm its bad-boy status. Variations on the bolder front/rear fascia and side-sill treatments first seen on the SL63 are here as well, augmented by a tasteful application of high-gloss chrome accenting - including on the car's dual-paired rectangular exhaust outlets - titanium-grey painted and polished 19-inch AMG five-spoke alloy wheels wearing 255/35 tires up front and 285/30 rear rubber plus the requisite "V12 BITURBO" badges on its front flanks.
Inside, the new SL65 bolsters an assortment of AMG alloy and carbon-fiber accent bits with unique AMG gauges, AMG sport seats and door panels wrapped in monochrome or two-tone fine leather in an AMG V12 diamond stitching pattern, a motif also seen in the designo Nappa leather-covered headliner. The SL65 AMG is crowned by an electro-hydraulically actuated power-retractable hardtop that incorporates Mercedes new light-to-dark Magic Sky Control glass element. Other key standard features include M-B's Airscarf neck-level heating system, a Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG Surround Sound System with Frontbass, COMAND telematics with 40GB hard-drive GPS navigation, Mercedes-Benz mbrace2 connectivity, in-dash 6-disc DVD changer, IWC-design analog dashboard clock, power windscreen and automatic pop-up rollover bars. In addition to various custom cosmetic touches and the aforementioned carbon-ceramic brakes, SL65 AMG buyers also can opt for a wheel/tire upgrade, AMG performance steering wheel and the new AMG Performance Media system that provides real-time access to key vehicle dynamics/performance stats.
Pricing for the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG will be announced closer to its on-sale date.