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Driven: 2009 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL63 IWC Page 2


A few details on the gearbox. It features Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Manual modes. The farther from Comfort, the faster the shift occurs, either up or down, and in Sport modes and beyond downshifts will selectively skip over gears, say from 7th to 5th gears as long as no harm will be done to the engine/transmission. In manual mode shifts occur as quickly as 1/100th of a second, and manual downshifts all feature rev matching, the action of which creates a breathtakingly badass snarl from the exhaust. Nobody near the car would presume you’re so comfortable and poised behind the wheel of this Benz.

Nor, it should be said, is this transmission, or any other aspect of the way AMG SL63 drives, sweat-inducing. Unlike the Aston Martin V-8 Vantage, a reasonable cross-shop vs. the SL63, the Benz feels poised, agile, but not explosive or tenacious (even though it can easily exhibit both traits at a moment's downshift). And despite the rapid upshifts of the engine screaming toward its 7,000rpm redline and the brutish roar from under the hood it’s easy to feel comfortable pushing the limits of the car, although to be honest there are very open few roads in this country where you could come anywhere close to testing those boundaries. As it is, 60mph arrives around redline in second gear (in 4.4 seconds, says AMG) and the top speed has been pushed back from 155mph to 186mph.

One important point: The AMG SL63 achieves a level of grace well beyond what you find from the stock SL. Not that the non-AMG is blue collar, but that car’s steering and handling can feel a tic heavy, whereas the SL63’s dynamics, steering, shifts and engine are truly in world-class GT territory, on par with the both the aforementioned Aston Martin, and a few Porsches we can think of. And unlike those machines the Benz is darn near placid when babied. The only thing that may be better? The forthcoming SL65 Black Series.

2009 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG IWC

2009 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG IWC

Enlarge Photo

2009 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG IWC

2009 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG IWC

Enlarge Photo


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