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Future models - Mercedes-Benz - SL-class - SL65 AMG

First look: SL65 is world’s most riotous roadster

Wicked: 450kW and no less than 1000Nm of torque make SL65 AMG the most potent production roadster.

Mercedes-Benz wheels out the mother of all roadsters in its supercharged SL65 AMG

13 Apr 2004

THE world’s wildest production roadster has landed - courtesy of Mercedes-Benz - in the shape of the twin-turbo SL65 AMG.

Making its public debut at the New York motor show before going on sale in Europe in June, the muscular new SL roadster flagship will join its equally impressive CL65 AMG coupe sibling on sale here late this year.

That’s right, Australians’ love affair with high-performance models from Mercedes-Benz has ensured both V12-powered AMG cars will be sold here from the fourth quarter of 2004, with sufficient forward orders to ensure both will be homologated and available here on a special-order-only basis.

Eclipsing every other series-production roadster, SL65 is claimed to deliver more power and torque than any open-topped vehicle available – enough to accelerate the two-seater to 100km/h in just 4.2 seconds.

Mercedes-Benz also claims SL65 AMG passes the 200km/h mark in 12.9 seconds, before reaching its electronically-limited top speed of 250km/h.

Like the range-topping CL, the fifth SL variant is powered by a twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre V12 that produces a ballistic 450kW of peak power and a mind-boggling 1000Nm of torque between 2000 and 4000rpm. Of that, Mercedes says 570Nm is available from just 1000rpm, rising to 830Nm with another 500rpm.

Assembled by hand at the AMG engine facility – next to the line where the supercharged AMG V8 for the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren is produced – the SL65’s V12 powerplant is signed by the engineer responsible for its being and features an aluminium and carbon-fibre reinforced plastic engine cover.

SL65 AMG also offers the AMG Speedshift five-speed automatic transmission comprising steering wheel mounted gearshifting in manual mode, along with AMG sports suspension, a mechanical differential lock and a newly developed AMG high-performance brake system with composite discs at all four corners, measuring 390 x 36mm at the front and 360 x 26mm at the rear.

As with all SL-class roadsters, the electrohydraulic high-pressure braking system SBC (Sensotronic Brake Control) is standard.

There is also Active Body Control and unique AMG spring struts with firmer damping and push-button damping damping control, plus fully reworked handling control systems such as ABS, Brake Assist and Electronic Stability Program.

Completing the flagship roadster picture are a number of unique touches, such as a wind tunnel optimised front apron with F1 safety car styling, an AMG grille and titanium-grey twin-spoke 19-inch alloy wheels with 255/35-section front and 285/30-section rear tyres.

Of course, "V12 Biturbo" front wing badging also sets the SL65 AMG apart, as do dark-tinted tail-lights, an AMG sports exhaust with twin oval tailpipes, bi-Xenon headlights, COMAND with CD and DVD technology, AMG sports seats, AMG sports steering wheel and an AMG instrument cluster with Alcantara surround, 360km/h scale and "V12 Biturbo" lettering.

While pricing will not be available until closer to the SL65’s fourth-quarter on-sale date, Mercedes-Benz Car Group Asia-Pacific managing director Horst von Sanden said that unprecedented early interest in both V12 AMG models has guaranteed their availability Down Under.

"Customer demand for Mercedes-AMG vehicles in Australia has grown at a rapid pace over the past few years and we are now delighted to offer the very exclusive SL65 AMG from Mercedes-AMG," he said.

"Mercedes-AMG sales grew by 35 per cent to 393 units last year, driven in large part by the new E55 AMG (103 units) and SL55 AMG (117 units) and when compared to our sales volume in the year 2000, sales are up by an enormous 357 per cent.

"Feedback from Australian customers has been overwhelmingly positive for the new Mercedes-AMG models, even before we could confirm they were destined for Australia. We are currently holding sufficient Australian orders to ensure the SL65 AMG and CL65 AMG make their way down under later this year," said Mr von Sanden.

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