There are some very niche markets in the automotive world. Take, for example, the well-heeled Mercedes enthusiast for whom the V8-engined SL 63 AMG roadster is too feeble; but the SLS AMG
is not to his liking. Previously he would have had to kick his heels and moan about how unfair life is. Not anymore.
The sixth-generation SL is now available as a 12-cylinder, 6.0-litre Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG, neatly filling that yawning chasm, and our unhappy car buyer can, finally, open his chequebook and purchase the roadster of his dreams
The SL 65 AMG is the first model to feature the updated AMG face, comprising a twin blade V-shaped radiator grille in chrome. Its simple, unfussy and very distinctive and is echoed in the lines of the front air intake cross strut. Revised LED running lights are also fitted.
The V12 is further differentiated from its smaller sibling by the judicious use of chrome highlights that stay just on the right side of gaudy, which isnt something that can be said of the V12 BITURBO badges and the fins on the wings
The wheels are 19 in diameter and are joined by twin-exhaust tailpipes that are the visible end of a thin-walled, tuned sports exhaust system. A range of special colours is available including magno cashmere white, and magno alanite grey in a matt finish or mocha black and graphite in metallic paintwork, as well as the unique zircon red.
More seriously, Mercedes
makes great claims about the all-aluminium bodyshell, which is 110kgs lighter than before, a weight-saving that is helped by the barbon fibre and plastic (plastic?!) bootlid. There is also selective use of magnesium and variable-gauge sheet metal to ensure that the shell retains good rigidity while not piling on the pounds.
The V12 owner gets unique nappa leather seats with diamond quilting in a range of eight colours. They are, of course, also electrically-controlled and feature AMG emblems, AIRSCARF neck-level heating, memory and climate control.
There are some nods towards the SLS AMG in the four highly-styled air vents, E-SELECT lever and the AMG DRIVE UNIT too. Other treats include Active Parking Assist, a high-end Bang Olufsen BeoSound stereo, Intelligent Light System, KEYLESS-GO, power door closing, and automatic, pop-up roll-bars to protect the occupants in the event of an accident.
The engine is a fearsome twin-turbo V12 displacing 6.0-litres, 630hp and 737lb ft of torque. It streaks to 62mph in just 4 seconds, a figure that is presumably hampered by the cars inability to transmit all that power and torque through the rear wheels.
The electrically-limited top speed is just 155mph, but someone, somewhere, will remove the limiter and should then see 200mph+. Those who are happy with the top speed will still be left agog at the stunning in-gear acceleration that makes overtaking and showing off effortless.
The SL is 17 percent more fuel efficient than the previous SL 65 AMG thanks to the lightweight construction, efficient engine, AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC auto gearbox, and start/stop-system. As a result it now delivers 24.4mpg according to the official figures that Mercedes has released. That it wont in real life is unlikely to worry those who will be buying one.
The panoramic vario-roof is available with or without MAGIC SKY CONTROL, which changes the tint of the roof from light to dark at the push of a button. Very cool.
Price: To be announced, but it will be in excess of 150,000.
Available from: The Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG will be available in the UK from the Autumn.
The SL 65 AMG exists is a rarefied atmosphere and will attract buyers for whom the best is never big/fast/expensive enough. Mercedes-Benz wont sell many, but those that they do shift will probably find homes in the States and the far- and middle-East where millionaire petrolheads are flocking thick and fast to premium cars like this.
The rest of us will gawk from afar and wonder how long manufacturers will continue to be able to make cars like this.
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