2009 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG Roadster

This is not your everyday Mercedes-Benz SL

AMG'S styling modifications to the newly face-lifted stock SL roadster might not be to everyone's liking, but they effectively broadcast the SL63's sporting intentions. Aside from the AMG, double-five-spoke, light alloy, nineteen-inch wheels, the SL63 is known by its huge rear center-mounted air diffuser, flanked by twin chrome tailpipes at each corner; a trunk lid spoiler; and a rather menacing looking, black mesh front apron. Then there are the big "6.3" badges on the front fender vents. Even during the Pebble Beach Concours weekend, when the Monterey Peninsula is crawling with thousands of Ferraris, Bugattis, Lamborghinis, Rolls-Royces, and other new and old exotic automobiles, the SL63 AMG was the object of constant attention, admiration, and cocked cell phones, from people of all ages.

No penalty box, this

The interior of the SL63, like those in all SL models, is very comfortable and spacious for a two-seater. Lidded storage boxes behind the seats, commodious lidded door cubbyholes, and a lidded center console cavity provide plenty of room for in-cabin gear. Even when the roof is down, the trunk has enough space for a couple of carry-on roller suitcases. When you pop open the trunk lid, the stowed roof panels automatically lift out of the way to allow you to easily access the trunk contents, a feature that we've liked in the SL for years.

My test car was fully kitted out with every conceivable option offered by Mercedes and AMG, including heated and cooled sport seats, AMG premium leather, carbon fiber interior trim, and a great ten-speaker Harman/Kardon stereo-nearly $28,000 in options, believe it or not. Unfortunately, the SL does not get the same intuitive control knob for its navigation and entertainment screen that you find in the S-class and C-class sedans, and I could not manage to get Bluetooth to work for my Razr cell phone. California has a new law prohibiting the use of cell phones without a handsfree device, so Sirius satellite radio and the crackly exhaust note constituted my audio entertainment.

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