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Jan 09

Top Of The Line SL 65 AMG Delivers Power, Performance And Luxury

Endowed with the visual and engineering enhancements of its makeover at the AMG Performance Studio, the SL 65 AMG is a luxurious, top-of-the-line two seat convertible that more than holds its own against no less top of the line rivals the Audi R8 Spyder, Porsche 911 and Jaguar F-Type.

Having returned after a year hiatus with a mild facelift, the two seat 2014 Audi R8 maintains its status as a midengine exotic sports car that can be driven every day of the week, while the all-new two seat fabric-top 2014 Jaguar F-Type is the first roadster from Jaguar in 40 years. The Porsche 911, rather than being completely reworked every generation, evolves and the four seat 2014 Porsche 911 lineup sticks to this tradition.

Distinguishing the SL 65 from the Mercedes SL 63 is the strategic use of high-sheen chrome highlights – on the AMG radiator grille with twin louvre and lower cross strut, the surrounds of the special AMG daytime running lamps and the fins on the bonnet and side wings – and a suite of characteristic AMG styling cues that includes the front apron with large openings for the engine oil, water, charge air and transmission oil coolers, specially shaped side sill panels, AMG spoiler lip and diffuser-look rear apron with vehicle-colour insert.

Then there’s the AMG 5-spoke light-alloy wheels in high-sheen titanium grey finish or, if preferred, matt black with a high-sheen rim flange, the “V12 BITURBO” legend adorning the front wings, and the AMG sports exhaust system featuring two chromed twin tailpipes in V12 design which serve to accentuate the distinctive roar of the SL 65 AMG’s powerhouse.

And what a powerhouse it is. Pop open the bonnet and there crouches, at the waiting, an AMG 6-liter V12 biturbo engine that’s been significantly revised for the SL 65 AMG. New exhaust gas turbochargers with an increased spiral cross-section, new manifolds and wastegate ducts with optimized flow characteristics increase engine output by 13 kW (18 HP) to 463 kW (630 HP).

For the first time AMG has combined the 6-liter V12 biturbo engine with the AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC, a seven-speed automatic transmission with the four individually selectable driving modes of Controlled Efficiency, Sport, Sport plus and Manual.

The SL 65 AMG is also fitted with a newly developed AMG high-performance brake system that AMG says has all the qualities expected, these being excellent deceleration characteristics, optimum sensitivity and high resistance to fading.

Powering the Audi R8 Spyder is either a V8 or V10 engine and while neither engine’s output is exceptional for this class of car, they both sound exceptional. Depending on the trim, the Jaguar F-Type is powered by a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine or 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine that delivers a rush of acceleration and a glorious exhaust note. Among the Porsche 911 lineup, the base 911 Carrera models are powered by 3.4-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder engines, the Carrera S models have a 3.8-liter engine and the 911 Turbo has a turbocharged 3.8-liter six-cylinder.

The dynamism and exclusivity of the Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG exterior is – naturally – carried through to the car’s interior. The AMG distinction is immediately visible upon opening the doors, which sport AMG high-sheen chrome sills LED-illuminated in white and centre panels in AMG-specific V12 design. The interior upholstery is in nappa leather in an AMG-exclusive diamond pattern, the AMG Performance 3-spoke steering wheel is in nappa leather with silver coloured aluminium gearshift paddles and the AMG sports seats with AIRSCARF neck-level heating feature an embossed AMG badge in the backrests.

The AMG instrument cluster incorporates an 11.4 centimetre colour TFT multifunction display, there is designo leather headlining with partial quilting in an AMG V12 diamond pattern, AMG carbon-fibre trim elements and AMG velour floormats.

The sixth-generation SL from Mercedes retains the electro-hydraulically retractable vario-roof, by which the SL 65 AMG can transform between roadster and coupe in less than 20 seconds. There are three versions to choose from – painted roof, glass roof or the unique panoramic vario-roof with MAGIC SKY CONTROL with transparency that can be switched to light or dark at the touch of a button.

The Jaguar F-Type is every bit as satisfying to drive as its evocative styling suggests and delivers on a number of fronts, not least of all acceleration, luxury comforts and good looks. The Audi R8 continues to shine brightly among its exotic car peers, including those which carry a significantly higher price tag. The Porsche 911, for 50 years the quintessential sports car, remains true to its performance and racing heritage in its 2014 lineup.

The Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG represents a superb blend of luxury, technology, power and performance, with every drive feeling like a special occasion… and that’s precisely what this breed of car is all about.

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