Get ready to witness the pervasive influence of the “E Performance” designation if you’re a fan of robust Teutonic performance vehicles. Mercedes is actively electrifying its AMG lineup, building on the contentious four-cylinder C63 S E Performance with plug-in versions of the S63 and GT63 S four-door, both powered by V-8 engines. Now, the sophisticated SL roadster takes center stage, as the 2024 Mercedes-AMG SL63 S E Performance is poised to grace dealerships next year. This high-performance hybrid boasts an 805-hp powertrain, making it the most potent SL model to date.
In this trio of V-8-powered E Performance hybrids, all utilizing a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 paired with an electric motor on the rear axle, each variant achieves distinct power outputs. The SL’s eight-cylinder engine boasts a rating of 603 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque, complemented by a 201-hp electric motor, resulting in a formidable total of 805 horses and 1047 pound-feet of torque. Despite this impressive muscle, the SL falls just short of the 831-hp, 1082-pound-foot GT63, and the 1055-pound-foot S63 in the Mercedes-AMG hierarchy.
Mercedes asserts that the SL63 S E Performance can sprint to 60 mph in a mere 2.8 seconds. Comparatively, the standard 577-hp SL63 achieved 60 mph in 3.0 seconds during our testing, suggesting that the estimate for the hybrid’s acceleration might be conservative. Additionally, the electric motor’s power can be directed to the front axle through the 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive system when extra traction is required, especially in the presence of wheel slip at the rear.
The perpetually excited synchronous electric motor is coupled with a two-speed transmission and a limited-slip rear differential, drawing power from a 6.1-kWh battery situated above the rear axle. Mercedes emphasizes that this design is inspired by insights gleaned from the Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 team, prioritizing rapid power delivery over maximizing driving range.
Charging is facilitated by a 3.7-kW onboard AC charger, although Mercedes has yet to disclose the electric driving range, with expectations not exceeding 15 miles before the gas engine takes over. Users can select from four levels of regenerative braking via a steering-wheel button, with the most aggressive mode providing a one-pedal driving experience akin to many electric vehicles.
Several subtle differentiators set the E Performance apart from other AMG SL models, including a charge port located on the rear end beneath the right-side taillight and grooved trapezoidal tailpipes. Front fenders proudly display “E Performance” badges, while a red “SL63 S” badge graces the rear decklid. Wheel options range from 20 to 21 inches, and the hybrid-specific displays in the infotainment system add to the overall experience.
Equipped with standard active roll stabilization and rear-wheel steering, the hybrid SL features a retractable rear spoiler for added downforce. An optional aerodynamics package is available, incorporating an underbody spoiler ahead of the engine that lowers by 1.6 inches at 50 mph to minimize front-axle lift. Alongside energy regeneration, the SL decelerates through substantial ceramic brakes, with six-piston fixed calipers gripping 16.5-inch discs at the front and single-piston floating calipers working with 15.0-inch discs at the rear.
While pricing details for the SL63 S E Performance are yet to be unveiled by Mercedes, considering the nonhybrid SL63 starts at $188,150, it’s reasonable to anticipate the E Performance variant’s starting price to surpass the $200K threshold. Sales are expected to commence next year, with additional information set to be disclosed in the coming months.