The most outlandishly expensive SL may not be “worth it,” but we’re damn happy it exists all the same.

– Detroit, Michigan

Let’s make a stupid calculation: If you divide the base price of the Mercedes-AMG SL63 by its 577 horsepower, you find that each unit of power costs $262.31. That’s a tough sell at Pep Boys, but it’ll do for a luxury sporting convertible.

Now let’s consider the Mercedes-AMG SL65 that I just drove for a weekend. The SL65 – which gets twelve biturbocharged cylinders instead of a paltry eight – makes 621 hp. For the privilege of each of those added 44 horses, you’ll need to shell out $1,556.82. An irrational bit of math? Absolutely. An untenable selling proposition? Far from it.

 

 

Pros

  • The bigger engine has a tremendous price tag: $68,500 more for the SL65 than is asked of the SL63 (and $132,900 more than the SL450, if you must ask the vulgar question). “Worth it” doesn’t enter into the equation, of course. If you have the money, you get perhaps the ultimate velvet hammer engine, capable of pulling from fast highway speeds to spinning-the-Earth-backwards with a yawn and a toe-tap. If the top is down when you do so, you’ll also be treated to a baritone distribution of silence that’s subtly erotic. Like Wall Street hookers and Italian jeans; this wouldn’t be so god-awful good if it were any cheaper.
  • This Designo SL cabin is sumptuous, and fully promotes extensive convertible-ing. I was just able to tuck deeply into the quilted-leather seat, long legs given room in all directions, with my head well under the top of the windscreen. Turn on Mercedes’ lovely Airscarf seatback neckwarmer, the heated, massaging seats, and the Bang & Olufsen surround sound system, and I’m ready to open-top drive at super-legal speeds for hours.
  • Even though I’m not a fan of this fussy, matte gray paint, I love the patrician looks of this newly updated SL. The view over the long hood from behind the steering wheel is enough to make me feel rich, even though owning this AMG would bankrupt me. The design is edged with modernity, but the proportions harken back to pre-World War II Mercedes and coachbuilt concours winners. Frankly, it’s not as pretty as the S-Class Coupe, but it has presence on the road, nevertheless.

Cons

  • This is stupid money. The final price on this SL65 is nearly $237,000. It hardly bears mentioning that you can buy any number of stunning vehicles for less coin, including Mercedes’ own, better, SL63. Still, I guess this is a lot cheaper than the $263,000 Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible, which is just as flawed/fabulous.
  • This model has been updated for 2017, and though it looks the part from the curb, it doesn’t feel nearly so new as other, recently introduced Benz models. Everything from the C-Class up to the S-Class has vastly better technology for daily use. And not having something as basic as touchscreen controls in a car of this ilk feels like penny pinching, even though it’s probably got more to do with packaging new hardware.
  • I still don’t get Magic Sky Control – for those of you that missed it, that’s the company name for a glass roof that changes from almost clear, to a kind of opaque-blue. A car this classy doesn’t need a party trick that’s less-than droll on the SLC.

Competitors

 

Photos: Seyth Miersma / Motor1.com

2017 MERCEDES-AMG SL65

Engine Biturbocharged 6.0-Liter V12
Output 621 Horsepower / 738 Pound-Feet
Transmission 7-Speed Automatic
0-60 MPH 3.9 Seconds
Fuel Economy 22 Highway / 13 City / 16 Combined
Drive Type Rear-Wheel Drive
Weight 4,211 Pounds
Seating Capacity 2
Cargo Volume 8.5 / 13.5 Cubic Feet (top down / up)
Base Price $219,850
As-Tested Price $236,925

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