Harry Leahey

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Mercedes-AMG has officially introduced the SL 63 S E Performance, marking the debut of the hybrid version in its CL drop-top grand tourer - the most potent variant to date. 


It represents the fifth plug-in hybrid creation from AMG's high-performance division, and will hit the market next year.


Performance comes from a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine, delivering 603bhp. Complementing this is a 201bhp electric motor situated at the rear, contributing to a total output of 804bhp and 1047lb ft of torque. 


The electric motor is directly connected to the rear axle, enhancing power during acceleration, overtaking, and initial drive-off. It is linked to a two-speed gearbox that integrates with the seven-speed automatic gearbox of the engine. 


As a result, the car will launch from 0-62mph in just 2.9 seconds, with a top speed of 196 mph. These figures place it in close competition with the McLaren 750S, and not far behind the Ferrari 296 GTS.


The vehicle's braking system meanwhile features carbon-ceramic brakes with distinct bronze-coloured callipers, which Mercedes says has been specially designed for this plug-in hybrid electric version. These aerodynamically designed alloy wheels are available in 20 or 21 inches.


Additional features include rear-axle steering for better manoeuvrability and a mechanical limited-slip differential on the rear axle for improved traction.


Above this differential is a "lightweight, high-performance" 400V battery, developed with insights from the Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 team. Equipped with advanced cooling technologies, Mercedes says it can deliver up to eight miles of electric-only range. 


The driver can select from eight driving modes: Electric, Battery Hold, Comfort, Smoothness, Sport, Sport Plus, Race, and Individual. 


Externally, the car comes with a carbonfibre front splitter, which extends by 40mm at speeds over 50mph, and a ducktail rear spoiler that deploys at the same speed.


Inside remains broadly similar to the standard versions of the SL, featuring a large, silting touchscreen running Merc’s MBUX infotainment system, plus a digital instrument cluster.  


Pricing remains unconfirmed, but it is expected to come in at around £200,000. 

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Harry Leahey 12/12/23