2013 Mercedes SL65 AMG V12 Roadster To Debut in New York

Words Jim Davis | March 20, 2012
The unparalleled output propels the 2013 SL65 AMG from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds with a top speed in the U.S. of 186 mph
Words Jim Davis March 20, 2012

Mercedes-AMG is launching itself into the 2012 roadster season with a vengeance. Arriving in U.S. dealerships in November, the new MY2013 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG V12 Roadster is making its world debut at the 2012 New York Auto Show. The AMG 6.0-liter V12 biturbo engine generates a peak output of 621 hp and a maximum torque of 738 lb-ft. The use of an all-aluminum body-in-white delivers a drastic weight reduction as the MY13 SL65 AMG is 254 pounds lighter than before. The distinctive front end is dominated by the new “twin-blade” grille with two blade-shaped fins and the lower horizontal bar in the front skirt in high-gloss chrome.

The SL65 AMG joins the SL550 roadster and the SL63 AMG roadster. The SL550 has a starting retail price of $106,375 and arrives in U.S. Mercedes-Benz dealerships in May. The SL63 AMG arrives in July.

“The combination of exclusive V12 dynamics and cultivated roadster pleasure was already unique in the previous model. We are certain that, with the new SL65 AMG, we have developed a stunning high-performance automobile beyond compare for a small, but loyal fan base,” says Ola Källenius, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

The intelligent lightweight design of the bodyshell also contributes to the reduction of fuel consumption. A key element in the improved fuel efficiency is the result of the AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7-Speed transmission, the ECO stop/start function, and improvements to the internal efficiency of the engine and alternator management. Despite a considerable improvement in fuel economy, the peak output of the AMG 6.0-liter V12 biturbo engine is up from 604 hp to 621 hp. The maximum torque stands at a mighty 738 lb-ft.

This unparalleled output provides amazing propulsion for the new SL65 AMG – acceleration from 0 to 60 mph takes 3.9 seconds. Top speed in the U.S. market stands at 186 mph. The key attributes of the AMG biturbo twelve-cylinder include its heart stopping acceleration, and seamless power delivery combined with a distinctive AMG V12 soundtrack. In short, the SL65 AMG captures the imagination with its refined, stylish performance.

Overview of key data:

Displacement 5,980 cm3
Bore x stroke 3.25 x 3.66 inches
Compression ratio 9.0 : 1
Power 621 hp @ 4,800 r/min
Max. torque 738 lb-ft @ 2,300-4,300 r/min*
Vehicle weight 4,299 pounds
Fuel economy TBD
Acceleration 0-60 mph 3.9 s
Top speed 186 mph*

* electronically limited.

AMG 6.0-liter V12 biturbo engine with new technology

The AMG 6.0-liter V12 biturbo engine (M 279) is based on the previous M 275 unit and has been extensively developed for its application in the new SL65 AMG. New turbochargers with an enlarged spiral cross-section, new manifolds and wastegate channels optimized for airflow deliver an additional 17 hp. The multi-spark ignition with twelve twin ignition coils not only makes for smoother running, but also works together with a new, more powerful engine management and optimized cylinder heads to provide even more effective combustion. The outcome is fewer exhaust emissions, which is also in large part due to the optimized catalytic converter system.

The redeveloped AMG sport exhaust system incorporates a modified pipe layout for improved flow coupled with a weight reduction of seven pounds resulting from reduced wall thicknesses.

And it is not just the inner attributes of the AMG 6.0-liter V12 biturbo engine that are stunning – the engine also looks inspiring. The carbon-fiber and aluminum engine cover further underscores the exceptional nature of the powerful twelve-cylinder that lies beneath.

AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7-Speed transmission

For the first time, AMG is combining the 6.0-liter V12 biturbo engine with the AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7-Speed transmission. The wide ratio spread of the seven-speed automatic transmission delivers significantly lower revving and helps in the reduction of fuel consumption. A new fuel-economy torque converter, reduced-friction bearings and transmission oil thermal management further increase the efficiency of transferring power to the wheels.

The AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7-Speed transmission features four individual drive programs that can be selected at the touch of a button on the center console – Controlled Efficiency (C), Sport (S), Sport plus (S+) and Manual (M). The ECO stop/start function is always active in C mode. For the greatest sense of involvement and dynamics, there is the automatic double-declutch function for downshifting, as well as brief and precisely defined retardation of ignition and injection during upshifting under full load. The latter also reduces shift times.

Intelligent lightweight design featuring all-aluminum body-in-white and carbon

Compared to the steel construction of the previous model, the all-aluminum body-in-white of the new SL65 AMG delivers weight savings, as well as superior stiffness, safety and comfort. Intelligent lightweight design also means optimizing components for their specific application. For instance, an array of different aluminum processes come into play – components are made using gravity die casting or vacuum pressure casting, worked into extruded profile or used as aluminum sheet with varying wall thicknesses. The results are a high degree of stiffness and safety and improved vibration characteristics. Engineers made use of the even lighter magnesium for part of the cover behind the fuel tank. High-strength steel tubes are integrated into the A-pillars for reasons of safety.

Further weight reduction comes courtesy of the rear decklid. The internal frame is made from carbon composite material. The plastic exterior shell is then fastened to the extremely stiff carbon component with adhesive. The result is a weight saving of eleven pounds compared with a conventional rear lid. The innovative solution is being used initially in AMG’s SL models. The outcome of the many lightweight design innovations is that the curb weight of 4,299 pounds for the new SL65 AMG is 254 pounds less than that of the previous model.

AMG sport suspension based on Active Body Control

When it comes to the chassis, Mercedes-AMG is focused on lightweight engineering. The four-link front suspension incorporates steering knuckles and control arms in aluminum, which also features in almost all suspension parts on the multilink rear axle. Agility is not the only aspect to benefit from the reduction of unsprung masses; the response characteristics of the spring-and-damper units are also improved. Like the previous model, the new SL65 AMG is fitted with the ABC active suspension system as standard. The AMG sports suspension based on Active Body Control is a further developed version of the setup in the SL63 AMG with the eight-cylinder engine, tuned specifically for this application.

Handling and performance were the top priorities during conception, development and testing. Two chassis settings are available for selection at the touch of a button – a very sporty setting with reduced roll rate and tighter body damping (“Sport”) and a program offering a high degree of long-distance comfort (“Comfort”). More negative camber on both axles, plus completely re-engineered elastokinematics deliver increased agility and higher cornering speeds.

New electromechanical AMG speed-sensitive steering

Combined with the all-new, electromechanical AMG speed-sensitive sports steering, the V12 top-of-the-range model offers a stunning ride with excellent dynamics and very clear feedback at the edge of the performance envelope. The steering ratio is constant and direct, while the power assistance adjusts in line with the chassis mode. Standard equipment also includes the 3-stage ESP®, a specialty exclusive to AMG with “SPORT Handling” mode for enthusiastic drivers. The enormous engine power is harnessed with the aid of AMG rear-axle locking differential, which is also standard equipment.

Top deceleration figures, perfect modulation and excellent stability – all standard features of an AMG high-performance brake system. The same applies to the all-new brakes on the SL65 AMG – on the front axle are 15.4 x 1.4 in. compound discs with six-piston fixed calipers, while the rear axle boasts 14.2 x 1.0 in. integral discs with single-piston floating calipers. An electric parking brake is standard equipment. The even more powerful and weight-optimized AMG carbon ceramic brake system familiar from the SLS AMG is available as optional equipment.

New AMG “face” with two blade-like fins

The SL65 AMG is clearly recognizable as a stylish and exclusive high-performance roadster not just technically, but also visually. The SL65 AMG is presented for the first time with the new AMG “face”. The two dominant visual elements – the grille and the lower air inlet – remain, but have been reinterpreted to give them a more distinctively dynamic and premium look. The central styling feature is the new twin-blade grille finished in high-gloss chrome. The Mercedes star is mounted on two blade-like fins with aerofoil profiles. The stronger arrow-form of the grille optimizes the vehicle’s longitudinal proportions, adding even more visual emphasis to the aerodynamic, minimalist design.

The stylized “A” that is a hallmark of AMG vehicles is retained beneath the twin-blade grille. Along the lower edge of the air intake is a slit beneath a fine black fin for optimum airflow to the cooling modules – a perfect combination of design and high technology. The lower horizontal bar on the front skirt is finished in high-gloss chrome and is lent significant visual depth by the slit above it, creating a premium visual accent. The twin-blade grille and lower horizontal element are two corresponding design features that emphasize the new AMG brand “face” – this look will be further developed in forthcoming AMG models, increasing even more the visual recognition of the AMG performance brand.

The top-of-the-range model is distinguished from the SL63 AMG by carefully placed applications in high-gloss chrome – as well as the twin-blade grille and the lower horizontal bar on the AMG front skirt, the bezels in the AMG-specific LED daytime running lights, the side fins on the fenders and fins on the hood all have the same surface finish. The characteristic AMG styling of the SL65 AMG also includes the front skirt with large openings for cooling the engine oil, water, charge air and transmission oil, the specially designed sill panels, the AMG spoiler lip and the rear skirt with a diffuser visual and body-color inlay.

Typical V12 features are not only the two chromed, standalone dual end pipes of the AMG sports exhaust, but also the V12 BITURBO lettering on the fenders and the titanium grey painted and polished 5-spoke AMG alloy wheels with 255/35 R 19 tires on the front and 285/30 R 19 on the rear. Optional AMG forged alloy multi-spoke wheels from the AMG Performance Studio with 255/35 R 19 tires at the front and 285/30 R 20 at the rear reduce unsprung mass are also available. The forged wheels are also available in matte black with polished outer rims.

Retractable hard-top with MAGIC SKY CONTROL

The sixth generation of the SL offers a space-saving electro-hydraulic retractable hard-top that converts the SL65 AMG from a roadster to a coupe in less than 20 seconds. In contrast to the previous model, the new SL comes with the unique MAGIC SKY CONTROL. Its transparency can be switched from light to dark at the touch of a button.

Interior – pleasure for all the senses

Inside, the SL65 AMG is distinguished from its eight-cylinder sibling by highly exclusive design and equipment features. One particular eye-catcher is the electrically adjustable AMG sports seats with one or two-color upholstery in exclusive leather featuring AMG-specific V12 diamond stitching. This distinctive upholstery also appears on the center door panels. The AMG logo embossed on the seat backs is a standard feature, as are AIRSCARF neck-level heating, the multi-contour function, seat memory and seat ventilation. The designo headliner in leather featuring AMG V12 diamond stitching provides a perfect finish that is both visual and tactile.

The cockpit design is reminiscent of the SLS AMG – the four air vents in jet-engine style, the E-SELECT gear lever and the AMG DRIVE UNIT are all evocative of the super sports car. The selection of exquisite materials and high quality of workmanship in the interior of the SL65 AMG creates a truly sensual masterpiece. This is underscored by the AMG trim elements in carbon, the analog clock in IWC design, the chromed and white illuminated AMG entry trim and the AMG performance steering wheel incorporating an AMG logo in the lower metal spoke. A 225 mph scale in the AMG instrument panel and the AMG start-up display with exclusive AMG V12 BITURBO animation hints at the phenomenal dynamics of the SL65 AMG.

The twelve-cylinder roadster comes with an extensive list of standard equipment:

• AIRSCARF neck-level heating system
• PARKTRONIC with Active Parking Assist
• DISTRONIC PLUS with Pre-Safe Brake
• Active Blind Spot Assist
• Active Lane Keeping Assist
• Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG Surround Sound System
• Frontbass
• Carbon fiber trim
• COMAND with 40 GB hard-drive GPS navigation
• In-dash 6-disc DVD changer
• Multi-color ambient lighting
• IWC-design analogue dashboard clock
• Anti-theft alarm
• Power trunk closer with hands-free access
• Adaptive Highbeam Assist
• LED daytime running lights
• Bi-Xenon headlamps with Active Curve Illumination Page 8
• Enhanced voice control for audio, telephone and navigation
• NECK-PRO Active Head Restraints
• Mercedes-Benz mbrace2TM
• Retractable hard top with easy pack feature
• Power wind screen
• Soft-close doors
• Automatic pop-up rollover protection for driver and passenger

Even more individuality is available from the AMG Performance Studio:

• AMG Carbon Ceramic Braking System
• AMG Exterior Carbon Fiber Package (transverse element in front skirt, exterior mirrors and spoiler lip in genuine carbon fiber)
• AMG Performance Media

Standard paint finishes for the new SL65 AMG in the U.S. include Black, Shadow Grey (matte finish), Dolomite Brown, Mars Red, Steel Grey, Iridium Silver, Palladium Silver, Pearl Beige, Diamond White and Lunar Blue.

As well as Obsidian Black, further paint finishes are available for the SL65 AMG from the designo range. Two matte paint finishes designo Magno Cashmere White and designo Magno Alanite Grey and the metallic paints designo Mocha Black and designo Graphite.

Selected to match the exterior paint choices is a fine range of interior leather upholstery options – Black Exclusive Leather, Beige/Brown Exclusive Leather, Red/Black Exclusive Leather, Porcelain/Black Exclusive Leather. Trim is available in Carbon FiberBrown Poplar Wood (satin finish), Burl Walnut Wood and Black Ash Wood.

One of the world’s safest roadsters

Thanks to its collision-optimized aluminum structure, standard PRE-SAFE® System and assistance systems on a par with the S-Class, the SL is one of the safest roadsters in the world. The stiff aluminum body-in-white forms a stable occupant cell and provides precisely defined crumple zones front and rear. In the event of a rollover, the A-pillars in a steel/aluminum material mix and two automatic pop-up rollover bars offer outstanding protection for the passenger area.

The restraint systems that include two-phase driver and passenger airbags have been further developed. Head/thorax side impact airbags in the backrests protect the upper body in the event of a side impact. The NECK-PRO Active Head Restraints designed by Mercedes-Benz also feature as standard equipment. Pedestrian protection is enhanced by large surface-area, compliant impact surfaces.