Geneva 2012: Mercedes SL63 AMG and A-class

Mercedes has given the range-topping AMG version of its latest SL roadster - the SL63 AMG - its public debut at the Geneva mtoor show.

With the introduction of the new 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 (Mercedes is keeping the SL63 name tag but dropping the old naturally aspirateed engine), the SL63 AMG develops 537hp at 5,500rpm and 590lb ft at 2,000-4,500rpm. Choose the AMG Performance Package and that jumps to 564hp and 664lb ft of torque (making it moderately more powerful than similar engines in the CLS, CL, ML and E63. With the Performance Package option ticked the SL will accelerate to 62mph in 4.2 seconds (a tenth quicker than standard) while 155mph top speed limiter is raised to 186mph.

But Mercedes is keen to stress that the R231-gen AMG SL is about trimming weight as well as adding power. The resultant 1,845kg SL63 is 125kg lighter than its predecessor thanks to an aluminium body that draws structural influence from the technology in the SLS. So despite being faster and more powerful than its predecessor, the new SL63 is up to 30 per cent more fuel efficient, equating to 28.5mpg on the combined cycle.

The all-aluminium suspension is controlled by Mercedes' ABC Active Body Control system, allowing you to switch between comfort-oriented and sporty settings. There's also three-stage ESP and a new electric power steering system the assistance from which varies depending on your suspension setting choices.

If you're feeling particularly sporty, you can also specify the optional AMG suspension pack and a locking rear diff. Transmission is to the rear wheels is Merc's Speedshift MCT seven-speed auto.

Prices have yet to be announced, but the SL63 AMG goes on sale in the UK this June.

For those of you with shallower pockets, Mercedes also unveiled the new A-Class, complete with its swoopy new hatchback looks (no echoes of miniature MPVs here). The new car also avoids the old 'sandwich' platform, where the engine was half under the passenger compartment, in favour of a more conventional hatchback layout.

Petrol engines range from a 115hp 1.6-litre job to a 210hp, 257lb ft 2.0-litre motor, all of which are turbocharged and feature stop-start tech and either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed twin-clutch transmission.

Diesel powertrains include two 1.8-litre units and a 2.2-litre common-rail diesel with 170hp and 257lb ft.


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Comments (45) Join the discussion on the forum

  • tbc 07 Mar 2012

    about time the A-class got some decent styling

    it always looked very top heavy with tiny wheels, a bit like a late 90's Daihatsu, or a DLA car

  • goron59 07 Mar 2012

    I like the look of the new A. So much better looking that the BMW 1 series or Audi 3

  • George H 07 Mar 2012

    The new A class looks great, and I'm liking the new SL more and more every time I see it. Not as good looking as the R230 but it's not bad.

  • MonkeyMatt 07 Mar 2012

    I think that the new A-class is a step back! It would maybe make a good addition but not a suitable replacement. I think a lot of current A-class owners will be disapointed.

  • appletonn 07 Mar 2012

    I'm afarid I really do not like the new SL's styling. It looks heavy and leaden which is completely at odds with the hi-tech aluminium structure beneath. Mismatch of front and rear and not at all elegant or flowing imho.

    Each to their own, obviously!

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