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Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG model assault

28.07.2016

It has been an incredibly busy year for Mercedes-Benz, with a new or updated model reaching our shores every month or two. Recently, I attend the launch of several models, which included the updated SL, the SLC, which replaces the SLK and of course, the fire-breathing Mercedes-AMG C63 and C63 S coupe range. The jam-packed event took place at Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria where I had a chance to sample the various models around track and on the road.

SLC, formerly the SLK

The SLK is a bit of an iconic nameplate for the brand, it has been with us for 20 years, however so was the ML, which was changed to the GLE last year. The new naming structure at Mercedes-Benz, although confusing at first, makes sense when it comes to vehicle size, where the lower one goes in the alphabet, the bigger and more expensive the cars become.

The SLC isn’t an all-new car, but rather a facelift, with a new range structure and updates. The base model in the range is the SLC200 which is powered by a 135kW/300Nm 2.0 litre turbo motor. The 200 model is available in both manual and automatic variants. The SLC300 features the same motor as the 200; only in this guise it produces 180kW/370Nm. I had an opportunity to drive the 300 model and despite the impressive engine and nine-speed automatic gearbox I couldn’t help but note that the car feels old inside and in terms of its interior and the way that it rides.

The new range-topping AMG model in the SLC range forgoes a V8 and gains a biturbo V6, it is called the SLC43. The motor produces 270kW/520Nm for a 0-100km/h time of 4.7 seconds. The car is certainly rapid and sounds the part as Mercedes aims at producing smaller performance cars, all of which will feature the ‘43’ badge.

The updated SL

The SL range is as impressive as ever, with an engine and gearbox combination that provides all of the open-top driving thrills a discerning customer could possibly want. At the entry point in to the range there is the SL400, which features a similar motor to the SLC43; the biturbo V6 produces 370kW/500Nm in this model. The SL500, for me at least is the pick of the SL range, it features a turbocharged 4.7 litre V8 with 335kW/700Nm on tap. The way in which the 500 covers ground, the smooth ride, the creamy power delivery and the way that it acquits itself on our often bumpy roads is commendable.

The AMG models in the SL range are absolutely ballistic. The SL63 has, wait for it, 430kW/900Nm from its 5.5 litre turbo V8 motor, making it good for a 0-100km/h time of 4.1 seconds. I had a go around the track in this car, the sound and shove is something that everyone simply has to experience to be able to believe that a conventional cabriolet can be this fast. It also stops and turns like an AMG should too. Then on to the flagship, the SL65 which keeps its 6.0 litre biturbo V12 motor and provides 463kW/1000Nm. The car could produce more torque, but the gearbox would simply destroy itself. It is blisteringly fast this car, and will get to 100km/h in 4.0 seconds and surpass 300km/h if fitted with the Driver’s Pack. The SL65 is one of the last great V12 supercars, an ode to excess and there’s something special about that.

The Mercedes-AMG C63 coupe

The highlight of the event was undoubtedly the C63 and C63 S coupe models. These two-door versions of the already impressive C-Class sedan look incredible in the metal. From the flared arches to the massive wheels and AMG regalia, both models look the business. In terms of performance both will very likely satiate the need for a burbling V8-powered mid-size Mercedes-AMG coupe.

The impressive AMG 4.0 litre biturbo V8 powers both models and produces 350kW/650Nm in the C63 and 375kW/700Nm in the C63 S. I drove both vehicles around the track and as with the sedan version; both are exceptionally fast, well-balanced and produce that signature AMG V8 soundtrack. The C63 range is almost complete, bar the cabriolet which arrives later this year, meaning the people at AMG have what it takes to take on BMW with its M3/M4 models.

Pricing

SL 400 AMG Line R 1 435 100

SL 500 AMG Line R 1 767 900

Mercedes-AMG SL 63 R 2 454 300 

Mercedes-AMG SL 65 R 3 119 900

Mercedes-AMG C 63 coupe R1 268 700

Mercedes-AMG C 63 S coupe R1 382 000

SLC 200  R 680 600

SLC 300 R 753 400

Mercedes-AMG SLC 43 R 988 000

Article written by Sean Nurse
28.07.2016
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