By: Greg Kable on 2/21/2012
Mercedes-Benz used Tuesday's Formula One test session at Barcelona as the backdrop for the unveiling of its latest performance car, the SL63 AMG.
Set to go on sale in North America in July, the new two-seat roadster was revealed before a throng of international media representatives in an uncharacteristic low-key presentation in the Barcelona pit lane alongside the German carmaker's new F1 car, the MGP W03, by Mercedes AMG Petronas drivers Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg.
Building on the developments brought to the standard SL shown at the Detroit auto show in January, the SL63 AMG is based around a lightweight aluminum-and-magnesium structure that weighs 276 pounds less than its predecessor.
Power comes from AMG's latest M157 engine. The twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8, used in the E63, the CLS63, the S63, the CL63 and he ML63, has been tuned to deliver 529 hp.
With the reduction in weight, the new car is claimed to deliver greater performance than the previous SL63 while returning 30 percent better fuel economy than the previous SL63 AMG.
The new car is differentiated from lesser versions of Mercedes-Benz's sixth-generation SL through an extensive body kit developed by the AMG design chief Volker Hellwig at the company's headquarters in Affalterbach, Germany. It's an aggressive and rather purposeful-looking machine, lacking the elegance and grace of earlier go-fast versions of the SL.
Hallmark features include a deeper front bumper with larger cooling ducts, AMG-specific LED daytime running lamps, a unique double-louver grille, "V8 Biturbo" badges along the flanks, widened sills, a deck spoiler and an altered rear bumper that houses an integral diffuser and four trapezoidal-shaped chromed tailpipes.
As with the last two generations of AMG's performance roadster, the SL55 AMG and outgoing the SL63 AMG, the new one receives an aluminum folding hardtop roof. It retracts and stows within the top of the trunk within 20 seconds. As with the smaller SLK55 AMG, the SL63 AMG is expected to come with Mercedes-Benz's new automatically tinting Magic Sky Control roof as an option.
This marks the first time that AMG's name has been associated with Mercedes-Benz's F1 program, and the company grabbed its first possible opportunity to attempt to link it with its road-car business.
Mercedes-Benz plans to release further details, iGeneva motor show.