Hottest version of the all-new Mercedes-Benz SL-Class that debuted in Detroit earlier this year, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG gets its moment in the limelight at Geneva. Like the standard version of this two-seat retractable-hardtop, the new SL 63 AMG benefits from an extensive weight-reduction program, stronger- yet-more-efficient engine and superior handling that Ola Källenius, CEO at Mercedes-AMG GmbH, calls "a giant leap forward."

The move to aluminum-intensive construction for its body structure complemented by the significant use of high-strength steel and carbon-fiber has trimmed 275 pounds from the curb weight of the new SL 63 AMG compared to its predecessor. While sharing new SL's sleeker and more contemporary basic styling, this ultra-version boasts a healthy measure of unique AMG enhancements. A bolder front fascia treatment brings a deeper apron and larger air dam, AMG-specific radiator grille and LED running lights while custom badging and more sculpted side sills add interest to this hot roadster's profile. In the rear, the new SL63 AMG sports an AMG decklid spoiler lip, diffuser-style rear apron and unique chrome twin paired dual exhausts.

Inside, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG gets a similar high-performance makeover that starts with AMG multi-contour sport buckets in monochrome or two-tone Nappa leather, an assortment of carbon-fiber trim bits, flat-bottom AMG sport steering wheel and a unique instrument cluster that includes AMG Racetimer functionality. The mix also includes loads of AMG logos including those in the car's illuminated door sills along with the same kind of jet-engine styled air vents, E-Select lever and AMG Drive Unit found in the M-B's SLS AMG supercar. One element that carries from the standard SL-Class is a power retractable top that can cycle in less than 20 seconds. It can be had in either the standard glass configuration or with a panoramic Magic Sky Control electrochromatic roof that can change from clear to dark tint at the touch of a button.

On the motivational front, the new Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG is fitted with AMG's 5.5-liter direct-injected twin-turbocharged/intercooled V8 that also appears in the CL63, CLS63, E63, ML63 and S63 models. Here, it's tuned to make 530 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. For the record, output stats of the current 6.2-liter V8 were 518 and 565, respectively. This new engine is fitted with an ECO start/stop function and backed by AMG's sophisticated 7-speed Speedshift automatic transmission that replaces the torque converter with a special startup clutch and offers four different shift modes. Collectively, they make the new SL 63 AMG 30 percent more fuel efficient than its outgoing, less-potent iteration and still hustles the new car from 0-60 mph in a blistering 4.2 seconds and gives it an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. Abetted by the optional AMG Performance Package -- that also includes a limited-slip differential lock, red brake calipers and an AMG Performance Steering Wheel -- pony count on the force-fed V8 jumps to 590 and peak torque to 664 lb-ft, gains that also trim the 0-60 mph interval to 4.1 ticks and raise maximum velocity to 186 mph.

To facilitate full use of its capabilities, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG features an AMG-spec sport suspension package that incorporates a bespoke version of Mercedes' dual-mode ABC (Active Body Control) active suspension system, custom three-stage Electronic Stability Control with exclusive AMG Sport Handling setting, an electro-mechanical AMG speed-sensitive power steering system with a quicker ratio and unique chassis geometry calibrations. Rounding out the mix here are huge high-performance antilock disc brakes and a set of 19-inch lightweight AMG cast alloy wheels with 255/35 front and 285/30 rear performance tires. Stepping up to the AMG Performance Package brings staggered-size forged alloy rims and sees the rear fitment move to a 20-inch diameter wheel, still wrapped in 255/35 rubber.

In typical Mercedes-Benz fashion, the 2013 SL 63 AMG boasts a full measure of standard features including the Attention Assist, Pre-Safe, a COMAND telematics system with DVD changer, harman/kardon Logic7 surround sound audio, Magic Vision Control windscreen cleaning system, and a power windblocker. Heading the options list are M-B's Airscarf neck-level heating, climate-controlled seats, premium Bang & Olufsen BeoSound audio upgrade and a Driving Assistance package Plus that brings Distronic Plus adaptive cruise/distance keeping control, Pre-Safe braking, Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Blind Spot Assist as well as a Keyless-Go. 

The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG will arrive in U.S. showrooms later this year. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.

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