The stage is set for the new Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG. The new version of the high-performance Roadster impresses on several counts: systematic lightweight construction, a boost in output and driving dynamics, and 30 percent lower fuel consumption and emissions. Thanks to an all-aluminium bodyshell, similar to that of the SLS AMG super sports car, the vehicle weight has been reduced by 125 kilograms. With a kerb weight of 1845 kilograms and an output of 395 kW (537 hp) or 415 kW (564 hp), the new model has the perfect recipe for unparalleled dynamism and a superior driving experience. A further boost in performance comes courtesy of a winning combination: enhanced AMG sports suspension based on Active Body Control (ABC), new AMG speed-sensitive sports steering, the AMG high-performance compound brake system and the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission. An enticing mix of stylish design, extensive standard equipment and a high safety level.
Ola Källenius, CEO at Mercedes-AMG GmbH: “The new SL63 AMG is yet another masterpiece from Mercedes-AMG. Be it driving dynamics, lightweight construction or efficiency – the SL63 AMG represents a giant leap forward. Following on from the SLS AMG Roadster and the SLK55 AMG, it now makes our unrivalled roadster family practically complete.”
Superior performance and high efficiency: the Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG is available with a choice of two power outputs for the first time. The AMG 5.5-litre V8 ‘biturbo’ (twin-turbocharged) engine delivers 395 kW (537 hp) and 800 Nm of torque. If the AMG Performance package is specified, these figures rise to 415 kW (564 hp) and 900 Nm – more power than any other competitor in this segment. The result is high-calibre performance, as underlined by the acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.3 or 4.2 seconds, and to 200 km/h in 12.9 or 12.6 seconds respectively. Top speed is 250 km/h (electronically limited), although this rises to 300 km/h (likewise electronically limited) with the AMG Performance package on board. NEDC combined consumption comes in at 9.9 litres per 100 kilometres for both power outputs – a full 4.2 litres or 30 percent lower than for the outgoing model.
The eight-cylinder powerplant with the abbreviation M 157 features a combination of innovative high-tech components for high power output, and it delivers exemplary, low fuel consumption. In addition to spray-guided direct petrol injection, the engine boasts an all-aluminium crankcase, twin turbochargers, four valves per cylinder with camshaft adjustment, air/water intercooling, alternator management and an ECO start/stop function. The weight-optimised AMG sports exhaust system with two chromed twin tailpipes produces a distinctive engine sound.
The top-of-the-range AMG model is once again playing a leading role – this time in terms of design. The SL63 AMG is the first high-performance model to feature the new brand face. The two elements which dominate the form – the radiator grille and the lower cooling air intake – are retained but in reinterpreted form which gives them a more distinctive identity in terms of dynamism and the sense of perceived value they convey. The central styling feature is the new “twin blade” radiator grille in silver chrome. The Mercedes star is mounted on two blade-like louvres whose profile recalls that of an aircraft wing. The more pronounced V-shape of the radiator grille optimises the longitudinal proportions of the vehicle and so adds even greater visual emphasis to the attributes of aerodynamics and purism.
Below the radiator grille with its twin blades, the stylised “A” – a characteristic feature of AMG vehicles – is retained. A gap formed below a fine black fin at the lower edge of the cooling air opening allows optimum airflow over the cooling modules – a perfect combination of aesthetics and high technology. The lower cross strut in the front apron is also finished in silver chrome and is given a perceived sense of depth by the gap above it – a distinctive note which adds the perfect finishing touch to the front of the vehicle. The “twin blade” radiator grille and lower cross strut are the two complementary styling elements which underline the new AMG brand face – a look which will be picked up by the styling of future AMG models and so further increase the recognition value of the AMG performance brand.
AMG bodystyling with characteristic features
The SL63 AMG boasts classic sports car proportions: the long bonnet, compact passenger compartment set well back, and the powerful rear are all combined skilfully with the characteristic AMG bodystyling features. These include the front apron with black grilles and large openings for engine oil, water, charge air and transmission oil coolers, the side skirt panelling and the exciting profile of the diffuser-style rear apron with body-coloured insert. The standard-specification ILS headlamps are characterised by very high-quality tubes for the low and main beam which have been styled with great attention to detail, plus a chrome bracket surrounding the main headlamp and the flared arrangement of the indicator lamps and sidelights. All of the further functions feature LED technology – such as the distinctively curved sidelights. The surrounds of the special AMG daytime driving lights, the side fins on the wings and the fins on the bonnet have the same silver-chrome finish as the radiator grille and the lower strut in the front apron.
The side profile is dominated by the “V8 BITURBO” logos and the titanium grey-painted 5-twin-spoke AMG light-alloy wheels with high-sheen finish. The front axle is fitted with 255/35 R 19 tyres on 9.0 x 19 rims, while the rear has 285/30 R 19 tyres on 10 x 19 rims. A highlight at the rear is the AMG sports exhaust system, with its two chromed twin tailpipes integrated into the bumper. The AMG spoiler lip helps to reduce lift on the rear axle while increasing driving stability at high speeds.
Exceptional quality of interior finish
The interior of the SL63 AMG is characterised by the typical wrap-around effect, as already featured in the CLS 63 AMG: in conjunction with the beltlines on the doors and the parcel shelf, the upper section of the dashboard creates a formal unity. The generous amount of space, high-quality materials, high sense of perceived value and lovingly crafted details displaying tangible and visible precision all exude a sense of ultimate quality. Minimal gap dimensions please the eye and reflect the high precision with which the SL has been produced.
A delight for all of the senses: this comes courtesy of the specific style elements, familiar from the SLS AMG, such as the four air vents in the style of jet engines, the AMG DRIVE UNIT – exclusive to AMG – and the leather-clad E-SELECT selector lever with embossed AMG badge. To the left of the selector lever are three buttons: the front button operates the 3-stage ESP® system, the centre button controls the AMG sports suspension based on Active Body Control, while the rear button with the AMG symbol is used to store personal settings (transmission mode, suspension mode, ESP® function). Pressing briefly on the AMG button enables the configuration options to be called up, while holding down the button longer allows the desired setup to be chosen, as confirmed by means of an audible signal. In addition, pressing a button at any time also displays the chosen setup in the instrument cluster.
AMG main menu and AMG Performance steering wheel
Two tube-shaped round cockpit instruments provide information on engine rpm and tank capacity (left), and road speed and coolant temperature (right). Three-dimensional graduated rings, back-lit dials in the centre of the speedometer and rev counter, AMG-specific red dials and the 360 km/h speedometer scale all add to the emotional appeal. The driver is greeted by an AMG start-up screen which appears in the centrally located three-dimensional TFT colour display. The AMG main menu is also integrated into the central display: three modes of “Warm Up”, “Set Up” and “RACE” provide the driver with comprehensive information. “Warm Up” displays the engine oil and coolant temperatures as well as the operating status of the ECO start/stop function; “Set Up” provides information on the current ESP® mode, suspension mode and the transmission modes “C”, “S”, “S+” or “M”. In “RACE” mode, the RACETIMER becomes available. The driver can use this to record lap times on a closed-off racing circuit. The gear display is located above the central display.
A visual and tactile highlight of the interior of the SL63 AMG is the new AMG Performance steering wheel: specially shaped grip areas finished in perforated leather, together with flattened top and bottom sections, help to ensure perfect control of the vehicle. Aluminium shift paddles enable manual shifting. The bottom end of the galvanised spokes features an AMG logo for the first time. The airbag cover, which has a three-dimensional shape, is finished in nappa leather. Twelve function buttons allow the audio and navigation system, the driver assistance systems, the on-board computer and the AMG main menu to be controlled.
Optional nappa leather in four different colours
First-class comfort on long journeys and high levels of lateral support come courtesy of the electrically-adjustable AMG sports seats. They not only feature a distinct V8 seat upholstery layout and AMG badges on the seat backrests, but also 4-way lumbar support, memory function, seat heating and a multicontour function: this allows the seat cushion length and side bolster support to be adjusted. The nappa leather upholstery covers the armrests in the doors and centre console, and includes stitching and edging in contrasting colours. Optional colours range from black, porcelain and Bengal red, to ginger beige/espresso brown. For an even higher quality ambience, Exclusive nappa leather is also available as an option: it includes a nappa leather finish on the dashboard, door panelling, rear compartment panelling and parcel shelf. Contrasting stitching and a roof lining, including A/C pillars finished in DINAMICA microfibre are also included.
The standard ambient lighting bathes the interior in a pleasant indirect light. Three colours (SOLAR, SOLAR red and SOLAR orange) are available to choose from. The fibre-optic cables offering three colour options are fitted on a level between the beltline and door centre panel, almost along the entire length of the doors, behind the trim for the dashboard and in the front panelling. An exclusive highlight reserved for the SL63 AMG is the AMG-specific analogue clock, located centrally on the dashboard and featuring an IWC design.
The standard equipment on the SL63 AMG includes AMG carbon-fibre trim, which affords the interior an appealing motorsport feel. Optionally available at no extra cost are aluminium trim elements with a dark or light longitudinal-grain, and also wood trims in high-gloss black ash, light-brown satin or high-gloss brown finishes.
Further standard equipment for the SL63 AMG at a glance (selection):
- AMG door sill panels in brushed stainless steel with white illumination
- ATTENTION ASSIST
- COMAND Online with 6-disc DVD changer
- anti-theft alarm system
- remote-unlocking boot lid incl. power closing for boot lid
- Intelligent Light System (ILS)
- MAGIC VISION CONTROL adaptive windscreen cleaning system
- NECK-PRO head restraints
- PRE-SAFE® system
- cruise control with SPEEDTRONIC
- automatic, pop-up roll-over bars for driver and front passenger
A comprehensive range of attractive optional extras is also available for the SL63 AMG (selection):
- AIRSCARF neck-level heating
- Active Multicontour Seat package
- Active Parking Assist incl. PARKTRONIC
- Driving Assistance package Plus (DISTRONIC PLUS incl. BAS PLUS, PRE-SAFE® brake, Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Blind Spot Assist)
- Dynamic seats
- harman/kardon® Logic 7® surround sound system
- wood/leather steering wheel
- KEYLESS-GO Convenience package (incl. remote-closing boot lid and HANDS-FREE ACCESS system)
- climatised seats
- electric draught-stop
Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG high-end surround sound system
An attractive highlight among the optional extras for the SL63 AMG is the Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG high-end surround sound system, as found on the SLS AMG: Mercedes-Benz and AMG have created it in conjunction with famous Danish audio specialists Bang & Olufsen. The sound system enables an exclusive music experience to be enjoyed at the very highest level. The basis of the system is formed not only by the amplifier with a total output of 900 watts and 12 high-end loudspeakers including Frontbass, but also the precise distribution of the music signals, controlled by the sound processor, to the selectable seating positions of driver, front passenger or the central position.
Thanks to the digital sound processor (DSP), it is also possible to choose between the high-end “reference” studio sound and spacious surround sound. All of the functions are operated using the COMAND system via a special Bang & Olufsen menu. Particular highlights include the illuminated lens tweeters on the dashboard – they help to create the characteristic virtual sound stage in front of the vehicle occupants. High-quality aluminium loudspeaker covers finished in silver chrome with the Bang & Olufsen logo give an indication of the exceptional position enjoyed by this high-end system.
Engine and power transmission: Dynamism, performance and efficiency
Performance and fuel consumption, power delivery and exhaust emissions, engine sound and characteristic Mercedes reliability – the AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine in the new SL63 AMG meets the widest variety of requirements in all areas. This is made possible thanks to a combination of innovative high-tech systems such as direct petrol injection, twin turbochargers with air/water intercooling and the ECO start/stop function.
The eight-cylinder engine develops maximum power of 395 kW (537 hp) and maximum torque of 800 Nm. For the first time the Performance package is also available for the SL63 AMG, which increases the values to 415 kW (564 hp) and 900 Nm. As a result the new AMG Roadster offers more power than any of its competitors in this segment. The variant with the AMG Performance package also boasts increased charge pressure which has been pushed from 1.0 to 1.3 bar, and a high-quality real carbon-fibre engine cover, among other features.
A glimpse at the performance underlines the exceptional drive dynamics: the SL63 AMG accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 4.3 seconds – with the AMG Performance package this figure drops to 4.2 seconds – while the top speed is 250 and 300 km/h (electronically limited) respectively. A determining factor for the power delivery is the broad torque curve: a constant 800 Nm of torque are available between 2000 and 4500 rpm. With the AMG Performance package, as much as 900 Nm can be called upon between 2250 and 3750 rpm. The impressive characteristics of the eight-cylinder biturbo engine make it suitable for all driving styles: whether completing high-speed laps on a closed-off racing circuit, driving extended stretches on the motorway or enjoying cruising along picturesque country roads with the vario-roof open – the AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine is the very model of effortless superiority and emotional appeal. The characteristic AMG eight-cylinder sound emanating from the two chromed twin tailpipes of the weight-optimised AMG sports exhaust system also has enormous potential to excite.
Enhanced performance and torque, reduced consumption
While output and torque have been increased compared with the previous AMG 6.3-litre V8 naturally aspirated engine (386 kW and 630 Nm), fuel consumption has been significantly reduced: the SL63 AMG consumes 9.9 litres per 100 km (NEDC combined, 231 g CO2/km) and as such ranks at the top of its segment. The reduction of 4.2 litres compared with the predecessor equates to a decrease of 30 percent. Both power variants have identical consumption figures.
A paragon of efficiency: the AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine
The key to this performance is the AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine, designated as the M 157, which premiered in 2010 in the S 63 AMG and CL 63 AMG. It has also been the dynamic driving force behind the E 63 AMG and CLS 63 AMG. The M 157 is a paragon of efficiency and boasts a wealth of technological highlights. On account of higher thermodynamic efficiency, the combination of twin turbochargers, direct petrol injection and spray-guided combustion allows better fuel economy and results in lower exhaust emissions. An electric low-pressure pump sends the fuel from the tank to a high-pressure pump in the engine compartment at a pressure of 6 bar. The pressure of the fuel in the high-pressure rail is fully variable on demand between 100 and 200 bar, ensuring agile response in any driving situation.
Further highlights of the innovative and unique eight-cylinder powerplant from Affalterbach include an all-aluminium crankcase, four valves per cylinder with camshaft adjustment, air/water intercooling, alternator management and the standard-fit ECO start/stop function. Whereas the previous AMG 6.3-litre V8 naturally aspirated engine had a displacement of 6208 cc, the new AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine needs just 5461 cc.
Two exhaust gas turbochargers located next to the cylinder banks supply the eight cylinders with fresh air. At their maximum speed of 185,000 rpm under full load, the two turbochargers force 1750 kg of air per hour into the combustion chambers. The maximum charge pressure is 1.0 bar, or 1.3 bar if the AMG Performance package is included. Thanks to their special, compact design – the turbine housings are welded to the exhaust manifold – there are significant space advantages, and the catalytic converters also heat up more rapidly.
The AMG V8 dispenses with the usual blow-off valve. This neat solution has enabled the compressor housing to be made extremely compact. To ensure agile responsiveness with no time lag, all the air ducts in the intake tract are as short as possible. The AMG experts have enabled the wastegate valve, which reduces the pressure in the exhaust system during negative load changes, to be vacuum-controlled via an electropneumatic converter. This allows dethrottling under partial loads, which in turn lowers the fuel consumption.
As was already the case in the AMG 6.0-litre V12 biturbo engine in the SL65 AMG, the eight-cylinder direct-injection unit uses particularly efficient air/water intercooling. The low-temperature cooler with its water circulation is accommodated within the V of the cylinder banks to save space. It effectively cools down the intake air compressed by the turbochargers before it enters the combustion chambers, and maintains a constantly lower intake temperature under full load. The large radiator at the car’s front end ensures defined cooling of the water circulating in the low-temperature circuit. Extremely short charge-air ducting makes for optimum responsiveness. The stainless-steel pressure pipes for the fresh and charge air are produced by the hydroforming process, have a wall thickness of only 0.8 millimetres and are designed for very low pressure loss.
All-aluminium crankcase with Silitec cylinder liners
The crankcase for the AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine is made of diecast aluminium. The low (dry) engine weight of 204 kilograms is the result of uncompromising lightweight construction methods and gives the vehicle balanced weight distribution. The bearing cover for the main crankshaft bearings, made of grey cast iron, is bolted to the crankcase for high rigidity. Cast-in Silitec cylinder liners ensure that the eight pistons operate with low friction.
Drilled ventilation holes in the crankcase lead to a higher output and fuel savings under partial load: above the bearing blocks there are longitudinally drilled holes which connect the adjacent crankcase cavities. Normally the upward and downward movement of the pistons causes air to be forced into and extracted from the sump, which leads to increased resistance and therefore a reduction in output. The ventilation holes prevent this by ensuring effective pressure compensation between the cavities.
The forged crankshaft made of high-grade 38MnS6BY steel alloy (a combination of the chemical elements manganese, sulphur, boron and yttrium) rotates in five main bearings, has eight counterweights and has been optimised with respect to torsional rigidity, inertia, low rotating masses and a long operating life. A two-mass viscous damper mounted at the front reliably eliminates vibrations. Each connecting rod journal on the crankshaft carries two forged, cracked connecting rods. In the interests of low mechanical friction and high wear resistance, the lightweight pistons have a metallic contact surface. Pressure-controlled oil-spray nozzles in the crankcase ensure that the highly stressed piston crowns are efficiently cooled.
Four-valve technology with variable camshaft adjustment
Perfect charging of the combustion chambers is ensured by large intake and exhaust valves, of which there are two per cylinder. The exhaust valves, which are subject to high thermal loads, are hollow in order to reduce weight and also sodium-cooled. Four overhead camshafts operate the 32 valves via low-maintenance, low-friction cam followers. The continuously variable camshaft adjustment within a range of 40 degrees on the intake and exhaust sides depends on the engine load and engine speed, leading to outstanding output and torque values. This also results in consistent idling at a low speed.
Depending on the engine speed, valve overlap can be varied for the best possible fuel/air supply to the combustion chambers and efficient removal of the exhaust gases. The camshaft adjustment is carried out electromagnetically via four pivoting actuators, and is controlled by the engine control unit. The camshafts are driven by three high-performance silent chains, which have considerable advantages in noise comfort compared to cylinder roller chains.
Innovative oil supply and water cooling
Efficient oil delivery under all load and operating conditions is ensured by an oil pump with an electrically controlled compression stage. The oil pressure can be varied between 2 and 4 bar, which has advantages in terms of friction and fuel consumption. An extraction stage integrated into the oil pump for the two turbochargers prevents oil from being entrained into the charge air and exhaust gases, thereby helping to reduce emissions even further. Both the sump and the extraction point have been optimised for maximum lateral acceleration and efficient lubrication. The oil capacity is 10.5 litres.
The combined water/oil cooling system is a clever solution: after a cold start, initially the engine oil is fed through the oil/water heat exchanger. The advantage of this system is that the engine oil warms up more rapidly, as the engine coolant warms up faster and the oil is later cooled by the coolant. If the cooling performance of the very compact cooler is insufficient, the flow is additionally directed through the external engine oil/air cooler by an oil thermostat. A selectable water thermostat ensures rapid warming of the coolant when starting the engine and driving off.
The engine coolant is cooled using the efficient crossflow principle. There is a transverse flow of coolant through both the crankcase and the cylinder heads. Additional cooling slots in the cylinder head allow more efficient cooling of the combustion chambers, which has advantages during combustion: it enables earlier ignition timings to be chosen without incurring the risk of knocking. Large openings in the AMG front apron help to ensure effective airflow over the water, engine oil, charge air and transmission oil coolers.
Alternator management and optimised belt drive
A significant contribution to the low fuel consumption comes courtesy of the optimised belt drive, the on-demand control of all ancillary units and pumps, and the alternator management: whenever the V8 engine is on the overrun or when braking, kinetic energy is used to charge the battery rather than being wasted as heat in the usual way. In all other operating modes a combination of electrical-system and alternator management enables the alternator to be kept at a low voltage. This reduces the load on the engine and makes for fuel savings of around 0.15 litres per 100 kilometres according to the NEDC standard, and up to 0.2 litres per 100 km in city traffic with its frequent overrun and braking phases.
Highly efficient engine electronics for every function
All the engine functions are executed and controlled by a particularly efficient Bosch MED 17.7.3. control unit. This state-of-the-art engine computer not only controls the direct petrol injection, charge pressure, camshaft adjustment and variable oil supply, but also communicates with other onboard control units, such as those of the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission. The microprocessor has more than 30,000 different parameters and functions stored in its memory, and is able to perform up to 260 million individual operations per second. To reduce the load on the engine control unit, the eight individual ignition coils have an integral electronic module on each cylinder. This ensures a strong ignition spark at all engine speeds and under all load conditions. The highly precise fuel distribution of the piezo-electric injectors is handled by eight high-voltage output stages.
New catalytic converter housings for low exhaust emissions
Low exhaust emissions, compliance with country-specific standards, a characteristic AMG engine sound and a weight-optimised design – the requirements for the exhaust system of the AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine were manifold and complex. The SL63 AMG complies with the EU5 emission standards, and also meets the requirements of the US market (LEV-II standard, On-Board Diagnosis II and lambda sensor diagnosis).
The turbochargers are welded to the exhaust manifolds, while air gap-insulated manifolds with an inner shell measuring only 1.2 millimetres in thickness allow a rapid catalytic converter response. For efficiency and to save space, this concept has a tandem catalytic converter housing on each side of the vehicle: adjacent to the firewall, two thin-walled ceramic substrates are grouped into each housing. This solution makes the previous, additional underbody catalytic converters unnecessary. The two ceramic substrates differ to ensure rapid and efficient emission control: the front one is coated with palladium, while the rear one has a bimetal coating of palladium and rhodium. One lambda sensor per row of cylinders is located in front of each catalytic converter housing, and there is a lambda diagnostic sensor between each of the two thin-walled substrates.
AMG sports exhaust system for a characteristic sound signature
The twin-pipe AMG sports exhaust system has a pipe cross-section of 70 millimetres from the manifolds to the rear silencers. Thanks to a particularly intelligent lightweight design, it has been possible to save 12.3 kg of weight compared with the previous model. The AMG experts achieved this with a whole series of measures:
- reduction of the wall thickness of all of the exhaust pipes
- joint housing for underfloor and firewall catalytic converters
- redesigned switchover valve
- centre muffler featuring pipe design for reduced volume
- new tailpipe trim integrated into the bumper
- optimised suspension elements
When designing the sound, the aim was to create a perfect synthesis of perceived dynamism and the comfort on long journeys that is the hallmark of a Mercedes. The goal of the developers was to achieve an emotional experience when starting the engine, accelerating and double-declutching, but unobtrusiveness at constant speeds. Unpleasant frequencies or droning noises were eliminated during a series of tests. The sports exhaust system emits a sonorous eight-cylinder sound that is typical of AMG from the new chromed twin tailpipes integrated into the bumper.
Engine production – a tradition of hand-built excellence
Like all other AMG engines, the eight-cylinder biturbo is assembled by hand in the modern AMG engine shop. Highly-qualified technicians assemble the M 157 according to the “one man, one engine” philosophy, maintaining the very strictest quality standards. This painstaking care is attested to by the responsible engineer’s signature on the characteristic AMG engine plate.
Power transmission: maximum driving pleasure, reduced consumption
RACE START, double-declutching function, seven gears, four transmission modes and ECO start/stop function: the power transmission of the SL63 AMG combines extreme emotional appeal, maximum driving pleasure and optimum economy. The AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission excites with a combination of unique options.
The AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission is exclusive to Mercedes-AMG and combines the sporty, direct and agile responsiveness of a manual transmission with the high levels of comfort of an automatic transmission. MCT stands for Multi-Clutch Technology and indicates that only clutch elements are employed to perform gearshifts. A compact wet start-up clutch, which runs in an oil bath, replaces the conventional torque converter. Thanks to its low rotational inertia, the transmission responds instantaneously and dynamically without the losses typical of a torque converter transmission – thereby helping to save fuel. The AMG sports transmission also impresses with its low weight of just 80 kilograms, which has been made possible through the use of lightweight magnesium for the transmission housing. Vibrations are effectively eliminated by a two-stage torsion damper, with resulting benefits in perceived passenger comfort.
ECO start/stop function fitted as standard
The ECO start/stop function fitted as standard is permanently active in the consumption-optimised “Controlled Efficiency” (“C”) driving mode. Once the driver comes to a halt e.g. at a red traffic light or in a traffic jam, the engine is automatically switched off. Once the brake pedal is released or the accelerator is depressed, the engine is immediately restarted and the car is able to move off quickly. Intelligent technology guarantees a comfortable and immediate starting procedure: a crankshaft sensor which recognises the direction of rotation registers the resting position of all eight pistons. For an automatic engine start, the cylinder with the most favourable piston position receives an injection of fuel into its combustion chamber.
The engine management ensures that the engine is only switched off if certain preconditions are met. The starter battery must have sufficient charge, for example, and the engine must be at the necessary operating temperature for efficient emissions control. The same applies to the interior temperature selected by the driver: if this has not yet been reached, the engine is not switched off when the car comes to a stop. The onboard network management system makes sure that active audio, telephone or video functions are not interrupted by the ECO start/stop function.
A green “ECO” symbol shows the driver when the ECO start/stop function is active. Should one of the above criteria be preventing activation of the system, this is shown in the central display by the message “Start/stop inactive” and a yellow “ECO” symbol. In the more performance-oriented driving modes “S” (Sport), “S+” (Sport plus) and “M” (Manual), the ECO start/stop function is always deactivated.
Consumption-optimised Controlled Efficiency (“C”) drive mode
When adapting the MCT sports transmission to the AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine, the AMG engineers paid special attention to the new driving mode Controlled Efficiency (“C”). The emphasis was on delivering minimum engine speed in the highest possible gears in all driving situations. When moving off in “C”, the transmission always selects second gear and shifts decidedly early to the next higher gears if the driving style permits. At 60 km/h for instance, sixth gear will already be engaged – not only improving fuel consumption but also noise levels. Thanks to its powerful, readily available torque even at low engine speeds, the AMG V8 biturbo unit is absolutely ideal for this style of driving. Controlled Efficiency also means convenient gearshifts and a “soft” accelerator response set-up for outstandingly smooth power transfer. The use of a new low-friction oil as well as the implementation of further detailed measures in the AMG
SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission enhance the efficiency and ensure an additional reduction in consumption.
Drive modes “S”, “S+” and “M” for even more driving pleasure and dynamism
In addition to Controlled Efficiency (“C”), three transmission modes are available to meet the demands of drivers looking for a more dynamic ride: in “S” (Sport) mode, the engine and transmission take on a much more agile character. Accelerator pedal movements trigger a more direct traction response, making the downshifts more spontaneous. The engine speed is allowed to reach a higher level in each gear, while the gearshifts in “S” are around 25 percent faster than in “C”. Turning the rotary switch in the AMG DRIVE UNIT a notch further to the right activates “S+” mode. “Sport plus” shifts the gears another 25 percent faster than in “S”. The same applies to the manual shift mode “M”. In “S+” and “M” modes, gearshifts at full throttle take just 100 milliseconds.
The engine management system partially suppresses cylinders in “S”, “S+” and “M” modes: precisely interrupting ignition and injection under full load for brief periods leads to even faster gearshifts than before. The highly emotional vocals are an appealing side effect of this lightning-fast process.
Ultra-fast, spontaneous multiple downshifts are another forte of the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission. For instance, kickdown allows gearshifts straight from seventh down to fourth gear, or from fifth to second. In the “S”, “S+” and “M” driving modes the automatic double-declutching function is active. Every manual or automatic downshift is accompanied by precisely metered double-declutching – with increasing intensity from “S” through “S+” to “M”. And this not only adds to the driver’s emotional experience: the load-free downshift minimises load-change reactions, which pays particular dividends when braking into bends – and also enhances safety in the wet or on ice.
No automatic downshifts in manual “M” mode
In manual “M” mode the driver also benefits from the high torque of the V8 biturbo engine, as there is no automatic downshift under full load and kickdown; the transmission remains steadfastly in the selected gear. Moreover, the MCT sports transmission does not perform an automatic upshift in manual mode when the rev limit is reached. In “M” mode the AMG instrument cluster displays the current gear and alerts the driver visually to the need for an upshift just before the needle reaches the red zone. This means that a particularly sporty driver can use the superior performance potential to its fullest extent. When approaching the lower rev limit, e.g. when braking the vehicle, there is an automatic downshift to the next lower gear.
The powerful electronic transmission control unit with integrated 80 MHz processor controls spontaneous downshifts – say when the driver suddenly needs power for dynamic acceleration.
AMG DRIVE UNIT with RACE START function
The AMG DRIVE UNIT is the central control unit for the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission and all driving dynamics functions. The electronic rotary switch to select the four drive modes, including activation of the Race Start function, is located behind the E-SELECT selector lever. Next to this are three buttons for additional functions: the first controls the 3-stage ESP®, the second the AMG sports suspension. The third adorned with AMG lettering is used to store the personal set-up. Briefly pressing the AMG button brings up the configuration options, whilst holding down the button allows you to program the required set-ups – this is confirmed by an acoustic signal. The current settings may be viewed in the instrument cluster by pressing the button at any time.
The Race Start function delivers maximum dynamism: while the vehicle is at a standstill, the driver can activate the ESP® sports function and press the brake pedal with their left foot. Having preselected the Race Start program using the rotary switch, a confirmation message comes up on the AMG central display. The driver then simply needs to confirm the Race Start function by pulling the “Up” shift paddle once, fully depressing the accelerator and taking their foot off the brake. The optimum start-up engine speed is set fully automatically and the SL63 AMG accelerates away with flawless traction – all the way up to top speed, if so required. It is not necessary to shift up through the gears manually; the AMG transmission changes gear with lightning-fast shift times.
Body and lightweight design: Aluminium comes up trumps
Cars are becoming increasingly safer, more comfortable, but often heavier as well. The new Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG not only stops this trend, it turns it around. In spite of increased comfort, performance and safety, it weighs 125 kilograms less than its predecessor.
The greater part of the weight-reduction “diet” is hidden from the eyes of the observer of the SL. Under the aluminium outer skin there is a bodyshell made almost entirely from aluminium, only very few components being made from other materials. The even lighter magnesium is used in part for the cover behind the tank. The A-pillars and the roof frame are of steel sheet metal incorporating high-strength steel tubing. For these elements steel is the best solution to provide survival space for occupants in the event of the vehicle overturning.
The body of the SL is the first all-aluminium bodyshell to be produced in large series at Mercedes-Benz. This entirely new development weighs 254 kilograms and is thus 110 kilograms lighter than a comparable steel bodyshell. Further extensive lightweight design features compensate the additional weight unavoidably caused by the increased comfort, the new assistance systems and other technical features. The bottom line is that the new SL63 AMG retains an enormous weight advantage: it weighs 1845 kilograms, while its predecessor of the same tipped the scales at 1970 kilograms (all figures are kerb weights according to EC).
Bodyshell: converting the entire bodyshell to aluminium cuts its weight by 24 percent in contrast to a steel bodyshell featuring comparable properties – a weight saving of 110 kg. Even the upper door hinges consist of aluminium.
Damping: the switch from absorber foams to sprayable acoustic compositions with variable layer thicknesses which can be shaped according to requirements, plus modified underbody panelling, results in a weight saving in the order of 2.5 kg.
Guide rails for the window lift mechanisms: these are now comprised of aluminium instead of steel, amounting to a weight saving of 0.5 kg.
Vario-roof in magnesium/plastic design: the front part of the roof and the C-pillar are produced in magnesium/plastic, plus there are additional optimisation measures regarding the design of the tubular frame, rear shelf, rear window frame and roof frame. The weight saving amounts to 15 kg.
Glazing: windscreen is 0.5 millimetres thinner, with an acoustic film. Weight reduction of over 1 kg. The rear window is 0.7 millimetres thinner. Weight saving is approx. 1 kg.
Interior: the dashboard mount consists of a continuous IHP (internal high-pressure forming) aluminium tube with magnesium struts and moulded-on polymer brackets. The weight saving is 2.2 kg.
With the introduction of shift-by-wire technology, the previous shift lever has been replaced by the E-SELECT selector lever in the AMG DRIVE UNIT. This weighs only one sixth as much as the solution used in the preceding model. The weight saving is 1.4 kg.
Boot: the boot floor is in the form of a polyurethane honeycomb plate instead of the wood plate previously used. The passenger’s foot plate has been switched over to plastic from steel, saving 1.5 kg in weight.
Seats:new seat structure with new adjustment motors, but standard-fit 4-‑way lumbar support and cash-responsive head restraints. Weight saving: 11 kg.
Electrics: thanks to an intelligent dynamic load management system, two large batteries are no longer necessary; one 95 Ah battery in the boot is sufficient, supported by a 12 Ah battery for the ECO start/stop function. Weight saving: approx. 4 kg.
Every vehicle is given a customer-specific wiring harness for the interior, cockpit and engine compartment. Thanks to this tailor-made cable harness, additional weight in the form of wires which are surplus to requirements can be saved – to the tune of up to 0.4 kg.
The innovative Frontbass system avoids the need for a separate woofer and door loudspeaker. Weight saving of over 4 kg.
Axles: the four-link front axle had already undergone extensive weight optimisation for the preceding model, featuring steering knuckles and spring links made of aluminium. The two front-axle halves now consist entirely of this material. The integral support frame for the front-axle halves, steering gear and engine is also produced in aluminium. Total weight savings are 11 kg.
For the roadster the aluminium bodyshell is superior to a steel construction
The developers at Mercedes-Benz did not rest content achieving weight benefits alone. The aluminium structure had to be superior to a steel construction in terms of rigidity and comfort as well. In order to attain this high objective, developers consistently went for intelligent lightweight construction, and explored many new paths to do this. Every single component of the aluminium bodyshell was specifically optimised for its particular function and expected loads. Thus, diverse processes are used to make different kinds of aluminium depending on the use the component is to be given: the parts are made by chill casting (metallic reusable casting mould) or vacuum die casting, worked into extruded aluminium sections or into aluminium plates of thicknesses that vary within one and the same component; these are the so-called tailored welded blanks. Expressed in numbers, the bodyshell weight is made up of: 44% cast aluminium, 17% aluminium sections, 28% aluminium sheet metal, 8% steel and 3% other.
The parts are assembled using diverse load-adequate joining methods at the production facilities in Bremen, some of which are innovative processes. Secure joints are ensured, for example, by MIG (metal inert gas) welding, hemming, bonding, self-piercing rivets, flow hole bolting, or friction stir welding – a joining method by which a highly resistant weld seam is produced by means of friction heat; a method particularly well-suited to aluminium on account of its low melting point.
Particular highlights of the bodyshell:
- the firewall is at present the largest aluminium cast component made in large series for vehicle bodywork
- many sheet metal parts are designed in such a way that for the first time they can be made from 100-percent recycled aluminium, saving 80 percent of the energy used in their production
- the main floorpan consists of a 3-layer shaped panel made from thin, extrusion-moulded hollow sections, welded together by friction stir welding
- the longitudinal members in the vehicle front end are made using internal high-pressure forming (IHP) technology, which enables the creation of highly complex and robust components, permitting optimum use of reduced installation spaces
- the door sills (longitudinal members) consist of 1.7-metre-long, 7-chamber extrusion-moulded aluminium sections; these provide rigidity in the lateral sectors and safety in the event of a collision. Flexible chamber distribution makes possible a minimum component weight coupled with optimum characteristics
- the tunnel is made of aluminium sheet metal with a reinforcement of varying thickness (3 different thicknesses depending on the sector, a so-called tailored welded blank, TWB)
- the rear sector floor is a MIG welded frame with a hollow chilled cast longitudinal member as its central element. This technique is employed in the SL for the very first time in automotive bodyshell construction
- the rear sector floor frame structure is closed by floor sheet metal panels and the boot tub made by vacuum die-casting
- the boot recess is made from recycled sheet metal
- the central member connects the front end with the rear sector floor. The mounting points for the drive shaft, the transmission cross beam, the transmission tunnel braces and the seat bolting points on the tunnel side are all integrated into a single element. The wall thicknesses and rib distribution are oriented bionically towards the requirements and loads
- many other components were optimised bionically, i.e. based on examples from the natural environment. These structures reduce the vehicle weight compared to a classic design even further
The sum total of all the design measures leads to a lightweight, torsionally and flexurally rigid bodyshell with an optimum rigidity/weight ratio. It was possible to increase the bodywork’s torsional rigidity by more than 20 percent over the already highly rigid preceding model series. This is confirmed by measurements of the new SL’s torsional strength – at 19,400 Nm per degree the roadster achieves an absolute top value (its predecessor already reached 16,400 Nm per degree).
Meeting the highest safety standards
At the same time the high-strength structural elements of the aluminium bodyshell make the new SL even safer than the preceding model in the event of a collision. Extrusion-moulded sections, connecting cast nodes and a double-thickness plate floor form a passenger compartment that is just as lightweight as it is sturdy. Two aluminium sections in each door together with the side sills (very rigid thanks to their internal chamber structure) and crash-resistant seats provide the greatest possible survival space in the event of a side collision.
A front end deformation zone acting on several levels and in which the aluminium front axle subframe is integrated as an additional third longitudinal member, distributes collision forces to a large area, conducting them past the passenger compartment. And in the rear, too, there is sufficient energy-absorbing deformation potential. A structural cage made from chilled cast longitudinal members, transversal sections and a cast magnesium tank separation bulkhead also contribute to this. This is also where the fuel tank is nested in a crash-protected manner above the rear axle. This way all the statutory safety requirements are met as well as the even stricter ones from Mercedes-Benz.
Best marks for NVH comfort
Thanks to its innovative aluminium bodyshell concept, the new SL is also unique among the roadsters in terms of NVH comfort (noise, vibration, harshness). One contributing factor towards its optimum vibration and road roar characteristics is a very rigid connection between the front section and rear floor, allowing relaxing travel even over long distances, and at the same time offering impressive driving dynamics.
Although aluminium features a higher sound emission and radiation level than steel, the new SL is the quietest vehicle in its class. Mercedes-Benz compensates for the acoustic disadvantages of aluminium by means of a consistent sound insulation concept with targeted adaptation of the sound damping materials to each problem zone, and through the use of innovative sound-insulation materials:
- a special firewall damping with variable mass distribution and a significant heavy layer proportion attenuates engine noise
- in conjunction with the plate floor, single-piece, foam-backed carpeting with virtually no seams reduces the roll noise of the vehicle in the interior
- a spray-on lining attenuates the structure-borne sound in the interior and exterior of the vehicle
- textile wheel arch linings, acoustically absorbing shield plates and bodyshell foam elements for critical sectors also contribute towards a smooth ride
- damping in the rear wall transversal cross member and boot lateral elements as well as in the forced ventilation openings prevent disruptive tyre and wind noises from making themselves unpleasantly noticeable in the vehicle interior
A further contribution to the good interior acoustics is the laminated glass windscreen with acoustic film. The transparent, highly resilient film absorbs the vibrations of the windscreen and reduces the perceptible sound level in many frequency ranges.
The precision workmanship on the acoustics goes so far as to ensure that the hydraulic pump for the electrohydraulic vario-roof is encapsulated and decoupled from the bodyshell. In addition to this, a newly developed insert nozzle sees to it that the pressure pulsation in the pump is reduced to a minimum right from the outset. This means that pump noises are only barely audible for the driver and passenger.
Boot lid made of carbon-fibre composite material for the first time
The intelligent material mix is completed by the boot lid: for the first time in large-scale production, the internal support is made of lightweight carbon-fibre composite material. The extremely rigid carbon-fibre component is bonded to the plastic outer shell, resulting in a weight saving of five kilograms compared with a conventional boot lid. The innovative solution is being used for the very first time in the SL 63. As such, Mercedes-Benz is consistently continuing with its “AMG Lightweight Performance” strategy, first presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2011. The plastic panelling allows the aerials for navigation, digital radio and mobile telephony to be fully integrated out of sight in the rear area, so that the SL63 AMG does not need to include a bothersome aerial stump on its aerodynamically refined body.
The bonnet is made from aluminium, as was that of its predecessor. It has been optimised in terms of form and materials, contributing towards the outstanding pedestrian protection. The doors, too, are of a lightweight design and made from aluminium. They are fashioned from a combination of sheet metal, extruded sections and cast metal parts, joined by diverse methods: riveting, bonding and hemming. Their aluminium and steel hinges are friction-based and are infinitely adjustable to any desired angle when opened, so that when getting into or out of the car they can remain securely open at any angle permitted by the space available at the side. This is particularly desirable in cramped parking conditions such as in a garage or car park.
Unique item of equipment: MAGIC SKY CONTROL
The proven electrohydraulic vario-roof – which turns the roadster into a closed coupé with a fixed roof in just a few seconds at the push of a button – has been intelligently enhanced, with Mercedes-Benz continuing to play the pioneering role here. For the new SL Mercedes-Benz is for the very first time offering drivers the choice between three variants of the lightweight-construction vario-roof:
- the base version is a roof painted in the vehicle colour
- as an alternative, a transparent variant with a roller blind can be selected
- the third variant from which drivers can choose is the panoramic vario-roof with MAGIC SKY CONTROL. This glass roof switches to light or dark as required at the press of a button. When light it is virtually transparent, offering an open-air experience even in cold weather. In its dark state the roof provides welcome shade and prevents the interior from heating up when the sun’s rays are very intense. In other words: a feel-good atmosphere at the touch of a button
The operating principle is based on the physics of a plate condenser: if the glass structure is subjected to an electrical voltage, particles in the structure position themselves so that light is able to pass through the glass. If the voltage remains switched off, however, the particles position themselves randomly. This partially blocks the light, and the glass remains dark. The control unit and converter are integrated into the front section of the roof, and the switch is in the overhead control console.
In addition to the unique panoramic effect and transparency at the touch of a button, MAGIC SKY CONTROL also provides an atmosphere of wellbeing. UV and infrared light are also effectively blocked in transparent mode, while insulation increases even more significantly in the darkened mode, thereby helping to keep the temperature on interior parts such as armrests cooler by up to ten degrees Celsius compared with conventional green glass.
Since the innovative glass also shields against the sun’s rays far more effectively than conventional thermal insulation glass or sunblinds, the occupants of the new SL will also enjoy the highest level of climatic comfort at the same time. When driving with the roof open would be unpleasant due to intense heat, the driver and passenger are able to remain composed under the MAGIC SKY CONTROL roof – making an important contribution towards driver-fitness safety, a concept which Mercedes is well known for promoting. Even when the vehicle is at a standstill the interior does not overheat, since the roof is switched to darkened mode when powered off.
But MAGIC SKY CONTROL not only benefits the occupants. Some of the strain is also taken off the air conditioning, thereby saving on CO2 emissions. The frame of the three roof variants is now made of magnesium. This makes each roof around six kilograms lighter than in the previous model, giving the car a lower centre of gravity, and therefore better agility. The engineers have refined the operating mechanism for the roof and boot lid. It now takes less than 20 seconds to open or close the roof completely.
Sophisticated corrosion protection concept
The aluminium bodyshell of the new SL offers no point of attack for corrosion. A sophisticated surface protection concept ensures the preservation of the brilliant look both of the outside skin and of the underside of the sheet metal panels, thus simultaneously protecting the renowned reliability and value stability of Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The protection concept was developed and tested on the basis of the environmental burden in different climate zones of the world and the specific loads the vehicle is subjected to.
The foundation for maximum corrosion resistance is formed by corrosion-resistant aluminium alloys and design features, while the few steel vehicle components are all fully galvanised. High-quality zinc/nickel coatings or special electrochemical insulation measures prevent contact corrosion with aluminium. All the seams are meticulously sealed, the surfaces protected through cathodic dip priming and multiple coats of paint. Sectors particularly exposed to corrosion are additionally protected with wax, to ensure that the pristine aspect of the new car is preserved for a long time.
Intelligent Light System and LED tail lights as standard
The headlamps on the new SL have been enhanced. As part of its standard specification, the new roadster is equipped with the Intelligent Light System (ILS) featuring bi-xenon headlamps. A driving direction indicator, sidelights and the daytime running lamps with LED technology complete the Intelligent Light System.
The tail lights on the new SL benefit from the advantages offered by the LED technology. LEDs light up approximately 150 milliseconds faster than conventional bulbs, plus they have a considerably longer life and conserve current. In the SL’s tail lights, the LEDs also light up with differing intensity in a targeted manner in certain sections of the tail lights, depending on the light function. This technology ensures an unmistakable night design. Rear reversing lights and rear fog lamps are integrated into the AMG rear apron featuring a diffuser look. The third brake light, which makes use of LED technology, is located in the boot lid above the Mercedes star.
Chassis and braking system: Driving dynamics at the highest level
High-performance drive and power transmission systems call for high-tech suspension and braking systems. In this area too the SL63 AMG is able to fulfil all of the expectations which are made of it. The characteristic qualities already valued by customers in the preceding model – dynamic handling and high levels of agility, combined with the comfort on long journeys typical of Mercedes – have been optimised and refined even further by Mercedes-AMG in the new edition of the high-performance Roadster.
As with the body, the experts from Affalterbach also turned to aluminium for the AMG sports suspension too. The steering knuckles and spring links on the 4-link front axles are therefore also made of aluminium, as are virtually all of the suspension parts on the multi-link independent rear suspension. The integral support frame for the front-axle halves, steering gear and engine is also produced in aluminium. The result: the weight savings achieved compared with regular components made of steel help to reduce the unsprung masses, which in turn results in measurable and noticeable benefits in terms of the response of the spring and damper elements as well as the agility. Another significant highlight is that the SL63 AMG has more negative camber on both axles as well as fully revised elastokinematics for a more direct driving sensation and higher lateral acceleration. Also contributing to this same effect is the track width, which is significantly wider than that of the preceding model (front axle is 52 mm wider, rear axle 50 mm wider).
Active Body Control optimised for even greater performance
Driving dynamics also feature as part of AMG’s new design. The sports suspension based on Active Body Control (ABC) has come under the spotlight. During the development and testing phase, active suspension control was specially optimised in terms of cornering performance. Basically the ABC suspension all but entirely eliminates the body movements that occur when moving off, cornering on uneven road surfaces and braking. Bends are negotiated with far less roll; the body roll caused by fast evasive manoeuvring is effectively suppressed. The control elements of this system are the damper struts, in which a hydraulic servo cylinder is arranged in series with the steel spring. By retracting and extending, this cylinder actively adjusts the length of the spring and therefore the spring force of the damper strut. As a result, conventional torsion-bar stabilisers can be dispensed with on the front and rear axles.
High-performance control electronics in permanent dialogue with the engine and transmission control unit ensure that the forces of the four damper struts are adapted practically instantly. A new feature is the visual ABC display in the COMAND system menu: driver and front passenger can monitor the individual actions of the active suspension control on each of the wheels in real time.
Briefly pressing the suspension button designated with a shock absorber symbol in the AMG DRIVE UNIT changes the characteristics of the AMG sports suspension: the roll angle through fast corners is reduced further, the shock absorbers and springs also respond firmer to promote agility. In Sport mode, ABC automatically lowers the body continuously by up to 8 millimetres at speeds of between 65 and 100 km/h. In Comfort mode, lowering takes place between 140 and 170 km/h. The positive effects include reduced wind resistance and a lowering of the vehicle’s centre of gravity. If more ground clearance is needed when driving on poor road surfaces or over ramps, the level of the vehicle can be raised by a maximum of 55 millimetres at speeds up to 30 km/h.
Active Body Control also available as performance suspension
As an option, the AMG performance suspension is also available for the SL63 AMG from the AMG Performance Studio. Damper characteristics can be made stiffer by up to 30 percent in both modes. This provides for even less body movement and is recommended when striving for high-speed laps on a closed-off racing circuit, for example.
Another notable feature of Active Body Control is the variable roll moment distribution between the front and rear axles, which the system carries out automatically according to the driving situation and speed. The computer uses various acceleration sensors to obtain information on the current driving situation and compares this data with those from the pressure sensors in the spring struts and the level sensors on the control arms. The system then computes the control signals that the servo-hydraulic valves at the front and rear axle transform into precisely metered flows of oil. In addition, the SL63 AMG is fitted with hydraulic all-round self-levelling which helps to ensure a constant vehicle level irrespective of the load being carried.
AMG speed-sensitive sports steering with variable power assistance
One new development is the electromechanical AMG speed-sensitive sports steering: with its constant and direct ratio of 14:1, it enables a sporty response from the central position and supports the vehicle’s largely linear understeer/ oversteer characteristics. The result is light-footed, agile cornering behaviour and clear feedback at critical limits.
And that is not all: for the first time, the top-of-the-range AMG model features power assistance which adapts according to the suspension mode. In “Comfort” mode, the AMG speed-sensitive sports steering responds comfortably, with a higher degree of steering assistance. In “Sport” mode on the other hand, the driver feels less steering assistance – which translates into an improved sense of road feel. This benefits both response and steering precision, particularly at high speeds and when adopting a sporty driving style.
New steering helps to save fuel
In addition to more precise steering and a more comfortable feel at the wheel, the new electric power steering offers a range of additional advantages. It makes an important contribution to efficiency, since the steering assist function only requires power when the driver actually steers. Compared with the previous model with regular hydraulic power steering, this enables savings of up to 0.3 litre/7 g CO2 per 100 km (NEDC combined) to be achieved.
Power assistance is also available when the engine is stationary, for example – whereby an algorithm ensures that the combustion engine is not prompted to start up in ECO start/stop mode when the driver is merely moving the steering wheel while the vehicle is at a standstill. The new steering system has also enabled implementation of the “Active Park Assist” automatic parking function and relieves the strain on the driver on road surfaces which slope away towards the kerb.
In the new steering system the steering gear and the supporting servo-motor form a single compact unit and are mounted on the integral support frame made of aluminium and positioned in front of the wheel’s centre line. The high-performance control unit processes a variety of parameters captured by the ESP® control unit – including vehicle speed, steering angle, steering angle speed, lateral acceleration and also understeer/oversteer characteristics – and in a split second calculates the forces which the driver needs to input into the steering in different driving situations – from parking to high-speed motorway driving. Active damping enhances the feeling of safety when driving straight ahead at high speed.
3-stage ESP® system with “SPORT Handling” mode
As previously, the SL63 AMG offers 3-stage ESP® as standard: the Electronic Stability Program supports three individual control strategies at the push of a button. The ESP® button in the AMG DRIVE UNIT allows the driver to choose between “ESP ON”, “SPORT Handling” mode, and “ESP OFF” – with the currently active mode shown in the display of the AMG instrument cluster. In “ESP ON”, the onset of handling instability leads to braking intervention at one or more of the wheels, accompanied by a reduction in engine torque.
Briefly pressing the ESP® button activates “SPORT Handling” mode. In this mode the braking intervention to counter oversteer or understeer, as well as the accompanying reduction in engine torque, allows a higher dynamic threshold and, for instance, corresponding drift angles – the driver benefits from significantly enhanced driving enjoyment. As soon as the driver operates the brake pedal, all of the normal ESP® functions are restored. Prolonged pressing of the ESP® button activates “ESP OFF”. With this, the engine torque is no longer reduced to control the driving dynamics – and driving enjoyment is therefore increased even further. “ESP OFF” should only be used by experienced drivers on dedicated racetracks. In this mode too, all of the functions of ESP® are made available by operating the brake pedal.
The system’s traction logic is active in all three ESP® modes. If one of the drive wheels starts to spin, specific brake pressure is applied to virtually create the effect of a mechanical differential lock. This means that the engine power is transferred to the road even more effectively. Traction can be improved further with the AMG rear axle locking differential available as an option from the AMG Performance Studio.
Newly developed AMG high-performance composite braking system
Along with the steering, the braking system is also a new development. The AMG high-performance composite braking system is characterised by high deceleration performance, a precise actuation point and excellent fade-resistance. Ventilated and perforated brake discs are fitted to both the front and rear axles. Because of the special stresses they face, the front discs feature composite technology that has been tried and tested in motor racing to help offset the temperature peaks more effectively. The front discs, measuring 390 x 36 mm, are decelerated using 6-piston aluminium fixed callipers, while the rear, measuring 360 x 26mm, use single-piston aluminium floating callipers. Grey-painted brake callipers with white AMG lettering are part of the standard equipment.
AMG ceramic composite high-performance brakes are available as an option and are recognisable thanks to the “AMG Carbon Ceramic” logo on the brake callipers. Thanks to the special materials and production technology used to manufacture the discs from carbon-fibre-reinforced ceramic in a vacuum at 1700 degrees Celsius, the ceramic discs are much harder. This not only increases the service life many times over compared with a grey cast iron disc, but also their resistance to extreme loads and heat. The result is extremely short stopping distances, an exact pressure point and much higher fade resistance even under extreme operating conditions. The larger ceramic discs – front: 402 x 39 millimetres; rear: 360 x 32 millimetres – feature a composite design all round and are connected with a floating radial mount to an aluminium bowl.
Compared with the conventional composite brake discs, the ceramic brake discs are around 40 percent lighter. The further reduction in unsprung masses not only boosts driving dynamics and agility but also improves steering response as well as ride comfort and contact characteristics. Six-piston fixed callipers are fitted on the front axle, and single-piston callipers are used on the rear.
Numerous functions of the high-performance braking system with ADAPTIVE BRAKE help to enhance comfort and safety. Take the practical HOLD function: if the SL63 AMG has come to a stop, the driver simply needs to press the brake pedal a little bit firmer. The vehicle is now held by the brake – even if the driver takes their foot off the brake pedal. This prevents the vehicle from unintentionally rolling forward in stop-and-go traffic or inadvertently rolling back on an uphill slope. The HOLD function is automatically disengaged once the vehicle is driven forward. Another useful feature comes in the shape of the Hill-Start Assist. If the sensor technology detects that the driver wants to move off on an incline, the brake pressure is automatically maintained constant for a short period. This means the SL will not roll back and the driver has sufficient time to switch from the brake to the accelerator pedal without having to use the parking brake.
If the driver suddenly switches from the accelerator to the brake pedal prior to emergency braking, the braking system increases the pressure in the brake lines and applies the pads to the brake discs, so that they can grip instantly with full force when the brake pedal is pressed. The system supports the standard-fit Brake Assist by means of this ‘priming’. Further standard features include the brake-drying function, which uses brief braking impulses to ensure the film of water on the brake discs is removed in the wet, thus considerably improving the responsiveness of the brakes.
Three light-alloy wheel variants to choose from
Three different AMG light-alloy wheels are available for the SL63 AMG. As standard the Roadster comes with titanium grey-painted 5-twin spoke AMG light-alloy wheels with a high-sheen finish. The front axle is fitted with 255/35 R 19 tyres on 9.0 x 19 rims, while the rear has 285/30 R 19 tyres on 10 x 19 rims.
The weight-optimised AMG forged wheels from the AMG Performance Studio help to reduce the unsprung masses. Two different versions are available as an optional extra: multi-spoke AMG forged wheels in the format 9.0 x 19 (front) and 10 x 20 (rear) with 255/35 R 19 tyres on the front and 285/30 R 20 tyres on the rear – painted either in titanium grey and polished or painted in matt black with a high-sheen rim flange.
Safety: Top technology for the greatest possible safety
Mercedes-Benz drivers are safer than drivers of other brands when out on the roads. This is the result of an investigation carried out by Mercedes-Benz accident research on the basis of official, anonymised random data checks by Germany’s Federal Statistical Office. It underlines the efficacy of the comprehensive Mercedes-Benz safety philosophy. This involves the experts not contenting themselves with achieving rating targets, but working intensively on attaining a level of safety which far exceeds the standards stipulated by the world’s legislators. An important measure of their work is not the laboratory or crash test facility, but actual accident incidents. The results of the work carried out by the safety experts at Mercedes-Benz is known as Real Life Safety, a concept which is based on research into thousands of accidents. Using this irrefutable evidence, for their holistic safety concept they have developed or initiated most of the assistance systems which today effectively support drivers and have been adopted by many of the company’s competitors.
During the development process for the new SL the requirements of Euro NCAP and other rating institutes were taken into account. The basis for this is a new light-alloy bodyshell which is formed mainly by extruded sections and cast nodes made of aluminium. It facilitates a light yet stable cell compound for a highly rigid occupant cell. In conjunction with this the tail end and front are designed in such a way that in the event of an accident they can absorb high forces through deformation, thus considerably reducing the strain on the occupants in a crash in accordance with the principle of the crumple zone. The crash boxes behind the bumper trim and an exchangeable front module ensure that the damage sustained during a front impact at up to 15 km/h can be limited.
Protection in the event of an overturn
The occupants in the new SL enjoy good protection in the event of a potential overturn, too. A-pillars in a steel/aluminium material mix and two roll-over bars can protect the passenger compartment. Normally the two roll-over bars are completely recessed, so they do not interrupt the look of the elegant, luxury roadster’s flowing lines. They are located in two cartridges fixed to the bodyshell in the area behind the seat backrests. If the system of crash sensors detects a potential overturn, the airbag control unit emits a signal and the deployment mechanism is activated. Two preloaded pressure springs per cartridge see to it that the roll-over protection shoots to the support position in fractions of a second.
Headbag and crash-responsive head restraints
The restraint systems with two-stage driver and front passenger airbags have been enhanced. A headbag provides generous lateral protection for the head impact area. An additional thorax airbag in the seat backrest can protect the upper body in the event of a side impact. The seat belts, with inertia-reel tensioners and belt force limiters, serve to highlight the high safety standards of Mercedes-Benz.
Another new feature finding its way into the standard equipment of the SL comes in the form of the NECK-PRO crash-responsive head restraints, developed by Mercedes-Benz. They can support the driver’s and passenger’s head in the event of a rear impact and reduce the risk of whiplash. Also fitted as standard is automatic child seat recognition. The ISOFIX child seat fastening system is available as an optional extra.
The latest technology for pedestrian protection
The new SL-Class Roadster uses the latest technology in the area of pedestrian protection, too. A sensor system is able to register an impact with a pedestrian and can ensure that the bonnet is immediately raised by 85 mm in the rear section. This creates additional space between the bonnet and the components in the engine compartment. This in turn results in comparatively lower acceleration values for the head of a pedestrian during the impact, thus reducing the overall risk of injury.
The deformation properties of the bonnet have also been specifically designed to meet the requirements concerning pedestrian protection. It consists of aluminium with a homogenous reinforcement on the inside of the bonnet and can therefore further reduce the loads in case of an accident. The SL’s “soft nose” also provides a large impact area, whilst the foam density and geometry in the front bumper have been optimised for reduced loads during leg impact with the pedestrian.
Only available from Mercedes-Benz – the anticipatory occupant protection system PRE-SAFE®
An additional safety highlight is the standard-specification anticipatory occupant protection system PRE-SAFE®, a system developed by Mercedes-Benz and unique throughout the world. If it detects an acute risk of an accident, it reflexively activates precautionary protective measures for the vehicle occupants, also including the reversible, electromotive belt tensioning function which ensures that the occupants are better secured so that the seat belts and airbags are able to perform their protective function to the full during an impact. Mercedes-Benz developed PRE-SAFE® on the basis of research into actual accidents, and is the only manufacturer in the world to offer such a system.
Following an accident – optimally prepared
Mercedes-Benz’s holistic safety concept involves taking the phase after an accident into account. This is why the new SL has numerous post-crash measures incorporated on board which facilitate rapid assistance should the worst come to the worst: depending on the type of accident and the impact severity, the doors can be automatically unlocked, the interior lighting activated and the side windows opened by 50 millimetres to provide better ventilation in the interior. In addition to this, the steering wheel can be slid upwards. The concept is completed by the Guidelines for Rescue Services and the rescue cards which can be downloaded from the internet free of charge and which can serve as a valuable support for fire brigades.
ATTENTION ASSIST and ADAPTIVE BRAKE as standard
The new SL also features a unique combination of driver assistance systems which help to avoid accidents. These include the standard ATTENTION ASSIST, for example. Thanks to this system, the Roadster develops a precise feeling for the level of attentiveness of the driver and can provide an early warning of overtiredness.
Also making up part of the standard equipment specification is the ADAPTIVE BRAKE. It comprises ABS, the acceleration skid control system ASR and also active yaw control (GMR). In addition, it features the following functions:
- it supports the driver when moving off uphill, by preventing the vehicle from unintentionally rolling back;
- it also keeps the vehicle stationary without having to keep the brakes applied continuously – for example when waiting at traffic lights;
- as soon as the driver abruptly steps off the accelerator, it brings the brake pads into light contact with the brake discs as a precautionary measure, so that the necessary braking pressure can be attained quicker in the possible event of emergency braking;
- in wet conditions it applies light brake contact, without the driver even noticing, to dry the brake discs
The ADAPTIVE BRAKE works in conjunction with the equally adaptive brake lights. In emergency braking situations, it warns vehicles behind with rapidly flashing brake lights.
PRE-SAFE® Brake: autonomous partial and emergency braking in response to a serious risk of a rear-end collision
Available as optional extras are the DISTRONIC PLUS proximity control as well as the PRE-SAFE® Brake, already tried and tested in other Mercedes-Benz models. The two systems together and can initiate emergency braking automatically on detecting an acute risk of an accident.
In normal driving conditions, the radar-based DISTRONIC PLUS proximity control adjusts the distance to the vehicle in front automatically. If necessary, it can apply the brakes, even bringing the SL-Class Roadster to a stop, and accelerate it again. This takes some of the strain off the driver, particularly in bumper-to-bumper driving conditions. If the distance starts to narrow too quickly, the system gives the driver visual and acoustic warnings, thereby prompting the driver to take action, at which point they are also supported by Brake Assist PLUS (BAS PLUS).
If the systems detect the acute danger of a rear-end collision and the driver fails to respond to visual and acoustic warnings, the electronics activate the PRE-SAFE® Brake in preparation for autonomous braking. This happens in three stages:
Around 2.6 seconds before the calculated impact, the driver receives three audible warnings; around 1.6 seconds before the calculated accident, the car initiates autonomous partial braking with around 40 percent (approx. 4 m/s²) of the maximum braking power, gives the driver an additional, haptic warning of the impending impact and as a precaution activates the reversible PRE-SAFE® occupant protection systems.
If the driver still fails to react, the PRE-SAFE® Brake activates the maximum braking power around 0.6 seconds before the now unavoidable collision – this emergency braking can greatly reduce the severity of the impact. The system therefore acts like an “electronic crumple zone”, offering the car occupants even greater protection.
The PRE-SAFE® Brake is active at speeds of between 30 and 200 km/h when moving vehicles are detected in front of the car. The system also reacts if the car approaches a stationary queue of traffic, providing its speed is below 70 km/h.
The functionality of DISTRONIC PLUS has been enhanced even further. It now reacts earlier to vehicles which cut in, and the car accelerates quicker when changing lanes itself and where the overtaking lane is clear. Thanks to the incorporation of information from digital maps (navigation mode), automatic control has also been further refined.
Intelligent Light System – good vision at all times
The Intelligent Light System also comes as part of the standard specification. It offers variably controllable headlamps with five different light functions which are adapted to suit driving and weather situations commonly encountered. They switch themselves on depending on the prevailing driving situation, offering the motorist a considerably greater field of vision:
- the country mode distributes the light from the low-beam headlamps in such a way that the left edge of the carriageway is illuminated more brightly and across a larger area
- the motorway mode switches on from a speed of 90 kilometres per hour and enlarges the field of vision by as much 60 percent
- the cornering light function is automatically activated when the main headlamps are on and if the driver operates the indicator or turns the steering wheel at a speed below 40 km/h. The low-beam headlamps and fog lamps then illuminate the side area ahead of the vehicle to a range of around 30 metres at an angle of up to 65 degrees
- the active light function improves illumination of the road on bends by up to 90 percent
- the enhanced fog light function works by pivoting the left-hand bi-xenon headlamp outwards by several degrees and lowering its beam. This provides brighter illumination of the inner half of the road
Adaptive Highbeam Assist is also on board as part of the standard specification: when vehicles are detected ahead of or approaching the vehicle, this system automatically dips the beams and adjusts the range of the headlamps according to the distance.
Assistance systems spring into action
Those wanting to can choose to extend the package of assistance systems in the new SL even further. They provide extra doses of both safety and comfort. As an option Mercedes-Benz can equip the roadster with the following helpful features:
- Speed Limit Assist: it is able to detect speed limit signs using a camera on the inside of the windscreen and indicate the respective detected speed limit on a display in the instrument cluster and in COMAND (standard-fit in conjunction with COMAND Online).
- Active Blind Spot Assist: it warns the driver when changing lanes if a risk of collision is detected due to another vehicle in the neighbouring lane being in the blind spot of the exterior mirror. If the driver ignores the warning and nevertheless initiates the lane-changing manoeuvre, the Active Blind Spot Assist intervenes. A brake actuation counteracts the collision course (part of the driver assistance package with DISTRONIC PLUS including the PRE-SAFE® Brake and Active Lane Keeping Assist).
- Active Lane Keeping Assist: this system kicks into action if the Mercedes-Benz vehicle inadvertently drifts over a solid line to the right or left of a lane. In such a case, a warning sign in the instrument cluster and vibrations in the steering wheel warn the driver. If the driver does not heed the warning in the case of a solid line, Active Lane Keeping Assist can use the ESP® to brake the opposite wheels and thereby prevent the vehicle from crossing the solid line (also part of the driver assistance package – please see above).
Hands off the steering wheel when parking
Active Parking Assist will answer the prayers of many drivers in the chronically congested traffic areas of Europe: the SL can not only detect parking spaces, but also help with the parking itself. This is made possible thanks to a combination of the new electromechanical steering system (please see the chapter on the chassis and suspension) and a series of ultrasonic sensors. This convenience system features the following functions:
- measurement of potential parking spaces lengthwise to the direction of travel – even in slightly curved bends – up to a drive-by speed of 30 km/h. The parking spaces must be at least one metre longer than the vehicle
- calculation of a suitable parking manoeuvre in order to park the vehicle parallel to the kerb
- automatic steering in order to perform this parking manoeuvre
- automatic steering in order to exit the parking space. This is only possible if the parking space was entered using Active Parking Assist
Two ultrasonic sensors take care of the search for suitable parking spaces lengthwise in the direction of travel. They are integrated in the front bumper, on the left and right. If the speed falls below 30 km/h, a “P” symbol in the instrument cluster signals to the driver that the active search for a parking place has been started automatically. If the system has found a potential parking space, an arrow indicates this alongside the “P” symbol. As standard, the arrow shows parking spaces on the passenger side. If the indicator on the driver’s side has been activated, it shows potential parking spaces on the driver’s side.
It is up to the driver to assess whether the free area designated by the system is indeed actually a parking space. Even during the parking procedure the responsibility remains with the driver, who must use the accelerator and brake pedals during parking. The Active Parking Assist takes care of the steering and for orientation it uses the two front ultrasonic sensors as well as four further sensors in the rear bumper. During parking, the roadster must not move faster than 10 km/h. The automatic parking manoeuvre is configured for a maximum of five turns (backwards-forwards-backwards-forwards-backwards). Once the vehicle is standing correctly in the automatically selected parking space, the system aligns the wheels.
The Active Parking Assist switches itself off as soon as the driver intervenes in the automatic turning of the steering wheel, if the system is turned off via the PTS button (PARKTRONIC sensor), both if the driver’s seat belt buckle or the driver’s door is open, or if there is a system error. Nevertheless the familiar PARKTRONIC function remains available without any restrictions.
“Edition 1” with attractive appointments combination
To mark the launch of the Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG, AMG is also offering the special “Edition 1” model. The “Edition 1” is opulently appointed and includes the following as standard:
- AIRSCARF neck-level heating
- AMG forged light-alloy wheels, painted matt black, rim flange with a high-sheen finish
- AMG Performance package
- designo Exclusive leather in classic red or deep white with contrasting topstitching
- designo headliner in black leather
- harman/kardon® Logic 7® surround sound system
- MAGIC SKY CONTROL panoramic vario-roof
Features exclusive to the “Edition 1” include special designo magno crystal silver paintwork and, if designo Exclusive leather in classic red is specified, contrasting red topstitching on the steering wheel, headliner and dashboard. A set of designo velour floor mats with edging in designo classic red leather round off this exceptional package of appointments.
A winning formula: the SL models made by AMG
The powerful SL models from Affalterbach are among the most successful AMG models of all time: almost 5000 SL63 AMG models with eight-cylinder naturally aspirated engine were sold between 2008 and 2011. Over 21,500 of the SL55 AMG models with V8 supercharged engine produced between 2001 and 2007 were sold, making it the best-selling AMG model so far. The total number of SL AMG models with eight-cylinder engine sold to date stands at over 26,500.
The new Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG will be launched in May 2012. Prices at a glance (incl. 19% VAT):
- SL63 AMG: €157,675
- SL63 AMG “Edition 1”: €189,269.50
- AMG Performance package: €14,280