Mercedes-Benz SL63 S E Performance AMG is the most powerful SL of all time

By topgear, 22 December 2023

This is the most powerful version of one of the car world’s oldest and grandest names. Though, you’d literally never mention its full moniker out loud because it’s also the most annoyingly long-winded name for such a grand old car.

So, welcome to the [deep breath] Mercedes-AMG SL 63 S E Performance. With a full 816hp, 1,420Nm of torque and an unfathomable suffix, it slingshots itself right to the top of the SL’s illustrious history as the biggest hitter of all time.

You will not be surprised to learn its heavy hands come courtesy of a powerful V8 and electric motor setup – what you’d call a ‘hybrid’ in today’s parlance, or ‘a chuffing fast hypercar’ if you’re somehow stuck in the early Noughties.

There’s a 204hp electric motor that sits on the rear axle, powered by a lightweight 6.1kWh battery which, says AMG, was designed “for fast power delivery and consumption and not for the longest possible range”. Still, this most powerful of SLs still manages eight whole miles on electricity alone.

Obviously all the battery tech was ‘inspired’ by Merc-AMG’s adventures in Formula One, and it combines with the tried und very tested 4.0-litre biturbo V8 producing 612hp on its own.

Together - and with Merc's 4WD system - they enable this SL to go from 0-100km/h in 2.9 seconds and top out at 317km/h. Seven tenths and two entire miles per hour quicker respectively than the solely petrol-powered SL 63.

So this long-name SL is fast alright. AMG has also thrown a long list of tech and offered a long list of MODES, too, to ensure it stays pointing in the right direction, be that forwards, or even sideways.

There are massive ceramic brakes, an active rear-axle steering system, active aero (including an extendable rear spoiler), roll stabilisation and a patent-protected aero element on the front designed specifically for electricity that in short, creates a Venturi effect. Yep, it’s a ‘ground effect’ SL!

Ah, yes, modes. Eight of them: ‘electric’, ‘battery hold’, ‘comfort’, ‘smoothness’, ‘sport’, ‘sport+’, ‘race’ and ‘individual’. Each of them is fairly self-explanatory, and seven are probably redundant if you sort everything in ‘individual’ and then tape it shut.

It’s been treated to a few exterior mods of course – new badges for that name, new alloy wheels, new exhaust trims, that sort of thing – along with a typically Mercedes-AMG interior setup. Massaging sports seats. Leather. Contrast stitching. That sort of thing.

A long name and long list of tech and appointments, but really there’s a short way of describing this Merc mainstay. “The SL has always been an icon in the Mercedes-Benz portfolio,” said AMG boss Michael Schiebe.

STORY Vijay Pattni

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