Staff, 2023-01-18 06:50:51,
- Great V-8 engine
- Strong straight-line performance
- Relatively nimble handling
- Dislikes slow corners
- Transmission tuning
- Stiff ride even in Comfort mode
We’d looked forward to the new Mercedes SL-Class’ arrival, and our Performance Vehicle of the Year program represented another bite at the apple, in particular the 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL63 4Matic+. We already tested this version—there’s a lesser SL55, too—as part of our 2023 Car of the Year program, and it returned for further review as a PVOTY contender. Ultimately, after running it around Streets of Willow (COTY didn’t include any track driving) we found it to be the same mixed bag as before.
The new SL63’s all-wheel drive (an SL first) and thundering twin-turbo V-8 make for smashing off-the-line performance, as expected, and that’s a strong selling point to a lot of people. When it comes to cornering quickly, however, we discovered a bit of a disjointed personality.
As technical director Frank Markus noted, you need to deactivate stability control—something not everyone is comfortable with in the real world—to access the Master dynamics mode before the car comes alive. “Suddenly it was willing to play,” he said of the rear end that was now happy to rotate and slide. “But the performance in this vehicle is not as accessible as it is in many of the other most fun cars out here. You have to drive it much more maniacally and switch off the safety nets to really feel like you’re driving the car. “
Once you do so, the…
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