2013 Mercedes SL63 AMG revealed

The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL gets some added muscle, thanks to the company's AMG performance division.

The SL roadster is Mercedes-Benz’s top sports car, but there is always room for improvement. Nearly every new Mercedes is handed over to in-house tuner AMG for some added muscle, and the SL is no different. The German carmaker just released photos and specifications for the new SL 63 AMG, based on the revamped 2013 SL, ahead of its Geneva Motor Show debut.

As with other AMG models, the SL63’s engine has been downsized to help lower emissions. The old naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 is replaced by a twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter unit (the “63” name remains out of habit). The new engine actually produces more horsepower (530 versus 518) and torque (590 lb-ft versus 465) than the old one, even in “base” form. The optional Performance package raises those figures to 557 hp and 664 lb-ft.

All that power is sent to the rear wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission (with paddle shifters). Instead of a torque converter, the transmission uses a wet clutch pack that should allow it to cope with the SL63’s massive torque while still being more responsive than a conventional automatic. Mercedes claims a 0-60 mph time of 4.2 seconds and a (limited) top speed of 155 mph for the base model. The Performance package shaves a tenth of a second off the 0-60 time and raises the top speed to 186 mph.

The SL63 AMG also benefits from the 2013 SL’s weight loss program; the new car supposedly weighs 275 pounds less than the old one. To achieve this, aluminum, magnesium, carbon fiber, and high-strength steel were used throughout. Adding lightness should improve the SL’s handling, as will bigger wheels and tires (19-inch or staggered 19-inch front, 20-inch rear) and the Performance package’s limited-slip differential.

In addition to the new wheels, the SL 63 AMG gets a more streamlined front fascia, more prominent exterior vents, and quad exhaust tips. It’s a more toned version of the standard 2013 SL; if you don’t like that car’s looks, AMG’s styling tweaks may not change your mind.

On the inside, the SL63 AMG is just as luxurious as the regular SL. The interior will be covered in leather, with endlessly adjustable seats. Like the base SL, the 2013 SL 63 AMG sports a folding metal roof, offering coupe-like serenity with the top up. Optional tech includes a Bang & Olufsen sound system, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, and Airscarf, which blows warm air from the headrests onto drivers’ and passengers’ necks.

All of that luxury and performance can be had for about $140,000. That’s a lot, but this is an AMG Mercedes. It’s also $60,000 cheaper than Ferrari’s hardtop convertible, the California. The SL63 AMG will make its public debut at Geneva, and will go on sale in the U.S. later this year