It’s more powerful than ever, but the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG packs a surprise under its hood: A new 5.5L twin-turbo engine. So why call it the SL63 when it’s got less than six liters, and is the new powerplant any better than the last one? Come along and find out in the latest edition of Pop The Hood.
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG could be accused of perjury, using a badge that would seem to convey a 6.3L engine beneath the hood when in fact, there lies a 5.5L V8. It’s called the SL63 only because it would be silly to lower the number on the name, making it seem inferior. Hence, we have an SL63 with a 5.5L V8 and an SL65 AMG with a 6.0L V12. Go figure.
But oh, the iconic Benz loses little when it comes to performance. Its engine, codenamed the M157, is a technological marvel that brings both power and efficiency to new levels. It’s also versatile as all hell, put to use in the G63 and ML63. If the M157 can adequately power those massive land giants, think of what it can do in a two-door convertible.
Something along the lines of 530 horsepower and 590 lb.-ft of torque, to be exact. The M157 uses an aluminum block and cylinder heads, plus four valves per cylinder and a host of state-of-the-art technologies to bring the full potential out of that beastly V8.
First, the fun stuff. Rather than opting for a giant V8 or giant-er V12, Mercedes-Benz went with a turbocharged V8 with lower displacement to keep power high without sacrificing fuel economy. Purists may expect natural aspiration, but purists can keep to themselves because the SL63 AMG is an absolute rocket. Peak horsepower comes at 5,500 rpm, but peak torque is available through most of the tach range, from 2,000-4,500 rpm for low-end grunt that makes water buffalo look like pretty pink flamingos. Don’t forget those twin turbochargers, blasting 14.2 lbs. of boost through the powertrain at a moment’s notice.
Direct injection handles fuel allotment down to the most minute of measurements, but not just any direct injection. Mercedes uses piezo injectors, which react much quicker than traditional D.I. systems by using electrically-activated piezo crystals to open and close the fuel nozzle with utmost accuracy. This provides the exact amount of fuel necessary with incredible speed, and without wasting any fuel for better efficiency. The M157 is also equipped with an ECO Start-Stop system and variable valve timing to keep things as green as possible.
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG would never be mistaken for a ballerina. It tips the scales at a whopping 4,068 lbs. But remember, this is chiefly a luxury car, and for a luxury car, its performance is astounding. Expect the SL63 AMG to launch from 0-60 mph in just 4.2 seconds and reach a limited top speed of 155 miles per hour.
A little leaner this time around? Sure. But if that makes you think the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG is any less of a legitimate barnstormer, you’ve got another thing coming.
Thanks for reading Pop The Hood, a weekly autoMedia.com feature that examines the industry’s latest innovations and what makes them tick. If you enjoyed this column, check out these past entries in our Pop The Hood archive.
2013 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG – $146,000 (plus $895 destination)
- Driver Assistance Package – $2,950
- AMG Exterior Carbon Fiber Package – $3,570
- Premium 1 Package – $4,300
- Performance Package – $9,000