The new Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG is on the way and predictably, it’ll leave owners of the previous model wanting to flip the nearest table in a fit of anger and jealousy. It looks similar to the previous car on the surface, but underneath, it’s faster, lighter and more efficient than ever.
The new 2012 car is built using aluminium in place of steel, contributing to a substantial 170kg saving in weight. For a two-seat roadster like the SL, that’s roughly the same weight as the occupants (or two people and a suitcase if they’ve kept off the pies).
Don’t imagine the SL has been transformed into some sort of Lotus-like waif, however. It’s still enormous and still weighs the best part of two tonnes at 1,950kg. Luckily, it has no problem hauling its considerable backside. The new SL65 boasts more power, better acceleration, and even an extra couple of gears.
Revisions to the V12’s twin turbos have lifted power by 18bhp to 621bhp while torque remains steady at a stratospheric 1,000Nm (737lbft). Smoking to 62mph now takes just four seconds.
Previously, the range-topping SL65 was limited to a five-speed auto because its mammoth 6.0-litre V12 risked turning Mercedes’ seven-speed automatic into a drum full of iron filings. Sterner innards must have been sourced, because seven speeds are now offered despite a rise in output from the engine room.
Other changes make the faintest of nods towards the environment. A new automatic stop-start feature, intelligent alternator control and sundry other tweaks bring a 17 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency. An official combined cycle score of 24.4mpg and 270g/km of CO2 still puts the SL65 squarely in the maximum tax bracket, but owners will barely notice a £460 paper disc next to the cost of petrol or all the 285/30 R19 tyres that the rear axle will eat.
The cost of the car itself has yet to be confirmed, but it should reach the UK in the autumn.