Track Tested: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG
Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test-drivers. Enjoy.
There are some cars that make you feel special even before you drive them. You walk up and pull the handle -- only paupers use keys -- and, as the interior lights slowly rise to their full brightness, you smile, knowing what's to come.
And what's to come with the 2011 SL63 AMG includes massaging seats with a heated Airscarf that blows warm air on your neck, full iPod integration, navigation and a seven-speed auto-clutch manual transmission with paddles. There's also a start button on the top of the shift knob that fires up the 6.3-liter, 518-horsepower V8 with a pop and a snarl.
And that's when the special really begins on this 4,432-pound $147,675 coupe.
Vehicle: 2011 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG
Driver: Josh Jacquot
Drive Type: Rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Seven-speed automatic
Engine Type: V8
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 6,208/378.7
Redline (rpm): 7,200
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 518 hp @ 6,800 rpm
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 465 lb-ft. @ 5,200 rpm
Brake Type (front): 14.2-inch ventilated, perforated disc with six-piston fixed caliper
Brake Type (rear): 13.0-inch ventilated, perforated disc with four-piston fixed caliper
Steering System: Hydraulic-assist rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent, four-link double control arm, gas shocks, coil springs in series with hydraulic cylinders
Suspension Type (rear): Independent five-link gas shocks, coil springs in series with hydraulic cylinders
Tire Size (front): 225/35 ZR19 96Y
Tire Size (rear): 285/30 ZR19 98Y
Tire Brand: Continental
Tire Model: ContiSportContact
Tire Type: Summer Performance
Wheel size: 19-by-8.5 inches front, 19-by-9.5 inches rear
Wheel material (front/rear): Cast aluminum
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,432
0-30 (sec): 2.1
0-45 (sec): 3.3
0-60 (sec): 4.8
0-75 (sec): 6.7
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 12.9 @ 110.5
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 4.5
30-0 (ft): 27
60-0 (ft): 109
Slalom (mph): 71.2 (69.7 stability control on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.90g (0.90 traction control OFF)
Db @ Idle: 51.8
Db @ Full Throttle: 81.2
Db @ Full Throttle Top Open: 89.7
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 63.3
Db @ 70 mph top open: 76.0
Acceleration: Surprisingly, the SL's launch control isn't any quicker in our testing than simply wooding the throttle with all the electronics turned on. Launch control feels weak, as it never truly loads up the drivetrain but instead feeds in power in a carefully metered way that doesn't produce any real gains. Turning ESC off and wooding the throttle results in massive wheelspin, which is slower.
Braking: No sensation of ABS pulsing through the pedals, but a distinct sense that this car has serious grip and big brakes as it slows itself with authority. Heat capacity is not a problem in this test.
Handling: Active body control takes some getting used to, as it feels like it rolls the SL's body into the corner -- not unlike cornering hard in a capable boat. It's a strange sensation at first, but it yields good numbers and is truly only obtrusive in fast transitions. Steady-state cornering on the skid pad is textbook RWD. We did, however, notice wheelspin from the inside tire, which makes us think this car doesn't have a limited-slip diff (part of another package, perhaps?). But it would still step and powerslide predictably when provoked.