Several generations of the Mercedes SL were available with a V12 engine but the current R232 initially came out only with V8 power. AMG did what seemed unthinkable not that many years ago and put a four-cylinder engine in the SL43 unveiled in April 2022. Fast forward to May 2023, the base version of the premium 2+2 convertible has been confirmed for the United States. Math starts at $109,900, plus $1,150 for destination fees, and before options.
That makes it $27,500 cheaper than the SL55 and $68,200 less than the SL63. It uses a variation of the M139 found in the AMG "45" compact cars where the engine is mounted transversally as well as in the new AMG C63 where it's installed longitudinally. Obviously, with the Sport Leicht being a rear-wheel-drive car, the engine’s orientation is longitudinal. The SL43 employs Formula 1-derived tech by being the first production model to feature an electric exhaust gas turbocharger.
2023 Mercedes-AMG SL43
This four-cylinder, 2.0-liter engine is good for 375 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque channeled to the rear axle. That F1-adapted tech comprises a 1.6-inch electric motor integrated onto the turbocharger shaft. Its role is to accelerate the compressor wheel before the exhaust gas flow kicks in. Doing so boosts throttle response across the entire rpm bandwidth.
The intricate four-pot enables a 0 to 60 mph sprint in an estimated 4.8 seconds prior to hitting an electronically governed top speed of 170 mph. Weight isn't specified for the US-spec model but we do know the European version tips the scales at 1,810 kilograms (3,990 pounds).
Arriving at US dealerships this summer, the 2023 SL43 is sold by AMG only with rear-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic transmission. 19-inch wheels are standard, but customers can opt for larger 20- and 21-inch alloys. The entry-level SL gets its own front fascia and rear apron along with round exhaust tips to set it apart from the V8-powered flavors.
With the SL getting a four-banger, it'll be interesting to see whether the next-generation AMG GT Coupe coming later this year will also spawn a "43" base model. Both cars have been developed concomitantly by AMG, with the SL replacing the GT Roadster.