MercedesBenz SL65 AMG | evo Car Reviews | Car Reviews | evo

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Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Base

Belt up and brace yourself for the SL, the 612bhp, 737lb ft, V12 bi-turbo AMG. Oh, and don’t forget aspirins

July 2004

My hurts. An hour after handed the keys to the SL65 AMG the dull throb at the base of my As I’m not prone to headaches I can assume that it has been by the mild impact of my brain the back of my skull every this ludicrously potent throttle has hit the stop. Then maybe it’s been by excess boggling of the mind.

in just one word, the SL65 AMG is the price, the performance and the fact it’s a series production all beggar belief. The stupendously 493bhp SL55 AMG already so you have to wonder who would an even faster, more model, especially one that all but identical yet costs ΂£146K. a ΂£50K more.

Essentially extra ΂£50K buys you a special engine — a 6-litre V12 with twin that develops 612bhp. six hundred and twelve, a colossal that would stand out on the sheet of any supercar, and already on that of its cousin, the Merc SLR give or take 5bhp.

The V12s that power the CL, S and now SL 65s are built on the top floor of AMG’s facility alongside supercharged V8s for the An extensive development programme has the already muscular 5.5-litre V12 that powers Merc’s models into this Capacity is increased from to 5980cc through a fractionally bore and much longer while all the bearings are stronger. The cams have higher and longer duration, the injectors are and controlled by a revised engine system, and there’s a higher-capacity oil and oil cooler. Externally the turbos are and now blow at 1.5bar, while the intercooler radiator is some 70 per bigger and significantly more One man is responsible for building each and his etched signature appears on a plate attached to the aluminium and engine cover.

The result is that humungous delivered on a little plateau 4800rpm and 5100rpm, and truly torque — no less 737lb ft (1000Nm) between and 4000rpm. The SL55 and even the SLR get close, developing 516 and 575lb ft In fact, the torque of this V12 is capped, presumably so as not to destroy the of the drivetrain — unrestricted it churn out almost 900lb ft

Even so, whichever way you cut it, fifty big to replace the SL55’s supercharged V8 an even more potent V12 takes some swallowing. has to be more to it than simply the daddy of all SLs. The owner of 65, the very first to land in the UK, is a person to quiz about the of the ί¿½ber SL because his previous car was an and a modified 560bhp one at that. the delivery,’ he says, ‘somehow are more exciting than Having experienced it myself, and the headache to prove it, I can appreciate the when the SL65 kicks, the is more dramatic, more than the essentially normally punch of the supercharged V8.

As you’d expect, the chassis has further tuned by AMG to cope the increased loads. The auto clutch- packs are uprated, as are the shafts and hubs, and the beefed-up casing contains a clutch-type slip. The roll-resisting ABC suspension is as is the almost indispensable ESP traction and control system. The brakes are upgraded, too, with 390mm diameter steel up front clamped by massive eight-pot callipers. At the rear are 348mm/four-pots that wouldn’t out of place on the front of many a sports car. As standard the comes with 19in shod with 245/40 up front and 275/35 astern but our reckons they don’t the arches convincingly and has replaced with 20in Brabus painted with 255/30 and Continentals.

He’s also had the side and rear screen tinted, to the air of restrained menace exuded by glossy black SL. Inside business as usual, with on; the facia is leather-trimmed and the neat finish for the sculpted dial now extends into the nooks of the pack’s lower reaches. the key and the starter motor whirrs a high-pitched whine before the V12 and assumes a discreet, low murmur.

the throttle and the note flares something more expressive but like the throaty roar of the V8. A trick is most definitely missed here — and ΂£50K-worth of V12 should have a cultured voice, and if it can’t from the intake end because of the effect of the turbos and their plumbing, then it should from the four tailpipes. impressions, we’re told, for a lot, and if firing up the SL65 produce an irresistible urge to for your chequebook, it’s got its cut out.

Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Base

Or so you’d think. As it out, the SL65 sells to you the first time you mash the pedal into the carpet, an that leaves a ball of permanently knotted in your This SL feels so smooth, so and effortless as you bimble through that sudden arrival of the that lurks latent your right foot is a test of the stoutest bladder. You on the throttle, there’s a momentary and then you’re slammed so fast that you seem to be 100 metres further up the road you were. It’s terrifying, and amazing all at once, and if you keep the pinned it carries on. And on. And on.

The speedo reads to 220mph and though SL65s emerge the factory with a 155mph it seems very likely the speedo needle of a totally example would settle, in genuine supercar territory, between 200mph and 220mph. to 60mph takes just 4sec, claims Mercedes, 125mph coming up in just

Partly it’s context makes the acceleration of the SL65 so It’s a very comfortable car a decent ride (despite the 20in rims and wider inducing some fidget and agitation), the engine note is on a light throttle, and there’s a lot of mass along for the ride. Yet though the SL65 weighs on for 2000kg, the impact of over ft of torque doesn’t half it. It’s a sort of immovable meets unstoppable force only with the scales firmly in favour of the force.

There’s another reason why the acceleration feels so phenomenal, why it as monumentally fast as most I’ve driven, and why I emerged a headache. It’s because an auto. In a supercar with a you work through the gears, to a crescendo, whereas the superb AMG auto in the SL65 shuffles swiftly and drops you right the thick of the action every you press the throttle. The fact the rear tyres can translate so energy into forward is impressive, even if the remarkably ESP system does intervene in the first two gears (and in the next two).

Of course, in the of science, I did disable ESP to see what In regular auto mode the tyres spin up so fast the engine quickly hits the and the box shifts up, and then the same happens in second. And this is on dry tarmac. Select manual though, and you’ll run against the until you request an upshift, makes things more if you’re deliberately playing the rear grip.

However, manual mode also you to do is feel the true depth of engine’s ability. Flick fifth at as low a speed as you can — 50mph and 1400rpm — bury the throttle. There’s a before the turbos catch on, the most extraordinary sensation of a big engine winding up. There’s a of the engine note like a labouring truck coming earshot and simultaneously you’re of a push in the back. Before is showing, the push has become an shove and from thereon the gets ever crazier it reaches stop-I-want-to-get-off fairground-ride

Is the SL65 really worth more than the SL55? no. It doesn’t have the up-front of the 55’s V8 which we find so but it does provide all of that dynamics and comforts and even refinement. And, of course, incredible performance that, as our says, is more exciting in its Not quite exciting enough for though; his car is due to get an upgrade that take power up to an Enzo-matching I hope he remembers to pack the

Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Base

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