2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class SL65 AMG Roadster Review By Larry Nutson
2013 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class SL65 AMG
2013 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Roadster
60th Anniversary of the Iconic SL Review
by Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, New York Bureau
The Auto Channel
The opportunity doesn’t come along often for auto writers to
drive an exotic. When it does you have to grab it.
In May I had the chance to get up close, get inside, and drive the
Mercedes-Benz very beautiful and very expensive 2013 SL65 AMG Roadster.
This drive opportunity occurred first at the International Motor Press
Association (IMPA) Spring Brake in Bear Mountain, New York, which is
located just to the south of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The
second was at the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Spring Rally
held at Road America Race Track in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But, price is
very black and white and for the SL65 AMG it starts at $212,240. So what do
you get for all that cash? For motivation-power how about a 6.0-L, V12
Biturbo engine cranking out 621HP and a whopping 738 lb-ft of torque. The
engine is mated to a 7-speed AMG Speedshift automatic. The powertrain will
rocket the SL65 from stop to 60mph in 3.9secs, and top end comes at 186mph.
EPA test fuel economy ratings are nothing to brag about. But, you
don’t buy this car to hypermile. And although equipment includes an
ECO Start/Stop System, EPA highway test rating is 21mpg, EPA city test
rating is 14mpg, for an EPA combined test rating of 17mpg. So… the
19.8 gallon fuel tank should easily take you on a weekend road trip from
your garage out into some nice country driving roads and back without
refueling. For this road trip one should pack light. If you figure on
top-down driving there is only space for 8.5cuft of cargo in the
trunk…but that should work out just fine on a day trip. The trunk
picks up 5cuft with the top up.
This is the sixth generation of the iconic Mercedes-Benz
SL now with an all-new aluminum unit body. Although the new SL for the 2013
model year is about two inches longer and wider, its aluminum frame is more
than 200 pounds lighter than the previous model. Most of the body panels
are also aluminum, while high-strength steel is used in the roof pillars.
Overall, the new SL body is about 20 percent stiffer than the car it
replaces. A continuum of the original meaning of the SL designation
“super” and “light”.
I have mixed views on matte finish paint schemes with no doubt a lot
depending on body style. I happened to like the designo Magna Alanite Grey
on this SL65, especially paired with the Red/Black Exclusive Leather
interior. The paint cost $3950 more, the red painted brake calipers another
grand, and the AMG exterior carbon fiber package rings up at $3570.
The diamond pattern on the seats was much to my liking,
perhaps because it’s not often seen in cars. I got the feeling I was
in my living room. The list of standard safety equipment is pretty much all
inclusive. There’s a rearview camera and a nice Bang & Olufsen
Premium Sound system that I am sure is best enjoyed with the top up, lest
you share your music tastes with the entire neighborhood. Seats are both
heated and ventilated to go along with the sun-reflecting leather
upholstery. A Power Wind Blocker helps keep his and her hair in place. The
Command System with navigation will help you find your way.
If you’ve got the top up because perhaps it’s just too
darn hot, the MAGIC SKY CONTROL features a glass roof panel, in which the
tinting of the panel can be controlled by the driver or passenger. In an
instant, a button above the rear-view mirror can change the roof panel from
transparent to heavily tinted, using technology similar to automatic
MAGIC VISION CONTROL sounds somewhat exotic but is quite
simple. The wiper arms and blades in the new SL feature laser-cut passages
along the entire length of each blade, which distributes washer fluid
directly in front of the moving wiper blades. A separate electronic control
unit ensures that washer fluid changes its flow each time the wipers change
direction. This targeted washer fluid improves cleaning without impairing
driver visibility during the spray process…think about cleaning the
windshield at 186mph. The control unit also changes the amount of washer
fluid as vehicle speed and outside temperature change. The volume of fluid
is also reduced automatically when the top is down, so occupants can clean
the windshield without getting sprayed with washer fluid. How courteous!
So I enjoyed my opportunity with the SL65 AMG, although
it was short and sweet. I can tell you that 100 mph comes on real fast.
Ride and handling on some twisty-windy-hilly roads was very comfortable.
The SL65 AMG is not a handful to drive but can deliver a bunch very
quickly. If you want to shop exotics you can do that right here on
TheAutoChannel.com. For more detailed information and specs on the complete
Mercedes-Benz model range visit www.mbusa.com.
Wave as I wiz by you on the Autobahn.
© Larry Nutson