Mercedes-Benz is wasting no time showing off the full range of its all-new SL-Class. On the heels of the SL550 and the SL63 AMG is the mighty 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG, set to debut at next month’s 2012 New York International Auto Show. Benz’s range-topping, V-12-powered menace will be the fastest SL on the market once it arrives in showrooms later this year.
The SL65’s secret weapon is its 6.0-liter, direct-injection, twin-turbo V-12, which produces 621 hp and a stump-pulling 738 lb-ft of torque, an evolution of the last-gen SL65’s M275 V-12 mill, rated at 604 hp and 738 lb-ft. AMG engineers bolted on new turbochargers that provide up to 22 psi of boost; new manifolds and wastegate channels; and revised cylinder heads — changes deemed significant enough to warrant the engine’s new M279 designation. As with most new models in the AMG lineup, the SL65 will also get an ECO start/stop system.
Another significant update is the 2013 SL65’s new seven-speed automatic, which has two more cogs than the gearbox in the previous model. Drivers will have their choice of four transmission modes: Controlled Efficiency (C), Sport (S), Sport plus (S+), and Manual (M). With the boost in horsepower and a new transmission, there’s a good chance the SL65 will get to 60 mph much quicker than the claimed time of 3.9 seconds, so long as the tires have enough grip. An AMG rear-axle locking differential comes standard to help transfer all that immense power to the tarmac.
Like the SL63, the SL65 will be limited to a 186 mph top speed. Standard brakes include 15.4-inch discs with six-piston calipers at the front and 14.2-inch discs with single-piston calipers out back. AMG’s Carbon Ceramic Braking system is a wise update if you’re planning to take your SL65 out for a track attack or two.
Complementing the SL65’s straight line performance is AMG’s speed-sensitive electromechanical steering and an AMG-updated Active Body Control (ABC) suspension system. Turn ABC to Comfort for Sunset Boulevard posing, but in the canyons, you’ll want to dial up the Sport program, which tightens body damping. Its electronic stability control has three modes including Sport Handling, which should allow the driver to explore the car’s extreme handling limits before it intervenes. Finally, the SL65’s all-aluminum body construction contributes to its 4299-pound curb weight — 254 pounds less than the outgoing model.
Visually, the SL65 AMG stands out from lesser SLs through a number of subtle exterior modifications. The front fascia gets a widened lower bumper with horizontally mounted LED daytime running lamps and an air gill at each side, while the front apron has a chrome finish. The side view includes V-12 and Biturbo badges and standard 19-inch rims; a set of AMG forged multi-spoke wheels with 20s in the rear and 19s up front is available as an option. Out back, a rear spoiler sits atop the trunk deck, while square-ish quad exhaust tips provide another subtle hint at the roadster’s immense performance capabilities. Inside, the SL65 gets treated to diamond-patterned leather seats. Like the previous model, the 2013 SL65 AMG comes standard with a long list of niceties including a Magic Sky Control glass roof, an Airscarf neck-heating system, a Bang & Olufsen sound system, and heated and ventilated seats.
Pricing hasn’t been released for the SL65 as of yet, but expect a significant jump from the SL63 AMG. The outgoing SL65 stickered for $199,000, while the SL63 was pegged at an MSRP of $139,000 — a difference of a C63 AMG sedan, give or take a few grand. Following its debut at the New York show, the SL65 should arrive in showrooms in November 2012.