As we await the 2024 F1 racing season, it can be fun to contemplate the latest application of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 hybrid race car technology to production vehicles. Thanks to its F1 roots, when the Mercedes-AMG SL 63 S E Performance debuts at U.S. dealerships in 2024, it will be the most powerful SL ever, according to CEO Michael Schiebe.
Mercedes-AMG released another F1 power unit tech version with the 2024 AMG GLC 63 SE Performance. The GLC 64 SE Performance pairs a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a 400-volt lithium-ion battery for a combined 680 horsepower. AMG hooked up a 4.0-liter V8 biturbo engine for this top SL trim with a 400V AMG electric drive unit mapped for rapid power delivery and recharging.
The combined peak output of the V8 and battery is 805 horsepower and 1,047 lb-ft of total system torque. According to Mercedes-AMG, the hybrid can move from zero to 60 mph in an estimated 2.8 seconds. The top speed is electronically limited to 196 mph.
The 2024 Mercedes-AMG SL 63 S E Performance not only has two power sources but also has what are essentially two all-wheel-drive systems. The AMG’s 4MATIC+ fully variable all-wheel drive is mechanically connected to the drive shaft and front wheel axles. The electric motor is attached to the rear axle, but if the rear wheels slip, the electric power transfers to the front wheels.
The SL also includes AMG Active Ride Control with active roll stabilization and speed-responsive rear-axle steering. Drivers can select from eight AMG Dynamic Select drive programs with Active Ride Control. The various profiles adjust transmission and power responsiveness, steering speed and feel, suspension damping, and vehicle acoustics- the last generates engine sounds the M-B engineers determine are appropriate for different driving modes.
The drive programs are Electric, Battery Hold, Comfort, Slippery, Sport, Sport+, Race, and Individual. On startup, Active Ride Control is set to Comfort by default, with what Mercedes describes as “a powerful, sonorous startup sound typical of AMG.” When you hear the AMG sound, that indicates the SL is ready to go — which is helpful since typical EV silence can disconcert the first few times you drive an EV when you are accustomed to hearing engine startup sounds.
Mercedes-AMG refers to the four selectable levels of battery self-charging or regeneration as recuperation. The hybrid SL’s battery isn’t optimized for range per charge. The specification sheet lists the electric range, the distance one could theoretically drive on battery power alone, as TBA. The battery’s performance-biased design favors rapid power delivery and can recharge quickly, which is excellent for energy regeneration.
From the driver’s seat, a higher regeneration setting means the engine slows more when you take your foot off the accelerator than it coasts with lower settings. The SL’s highest regeneration setting gradually stops the car, which lets you drive using just one pedal unless you need to stop fast.
Performance driving seats aren’t always comfortable because firm lateral support is necessary during hard cornering, even with active adaptive suspension systems. The AMG SL 63 S E Performance is true to the last word in its name, but it’s also a luxury automobile.
The driver and front seat passengers have ample room in SLs (rear seat passengers often do not so much). Mercedes describes the SL 63’s 2+2 seating space as “generous” with electrically adjustable AMG sports seating. Opt for AMG Performance seats for ventilation and massage.
The compendium of features, capabilities, and exterior and interior design choices and options may be vast. Still, in the end, according to all the information and data that Mercedes-AMG has released, the major takeaway is that this vehicle will be the mightiest SL of them all.
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