A treacherously slippery track and 800Nm out the back. What could go wrong?
TORVILL and Dean’s dominance of the 1984 Winter Olympics is on a par with the ballet-like precision of the SL63 AMG along a rain-saturated Phillip Island racetrack.
There’s something uniquely challenging about escorting a 395kW/800Nm sports car around a fast flowing circuit in the middle of a downpour. Speedos are irrelevant, the relationship between hands, butt and seat is all-important.
Despite enough grunt to launch small satellites into orbit, the two-door, two-seat coupe displays a deftness through the turns to belie the big-bonnet looks incumbent in the SL DNA.
There’s no such event as an ordinary AMG day but this one promises more adrenalin than a heart-attack unit.
Carsguide’s speed of choice here was the SL63 AMG at $381,145 before the buyer starts talking personalisation.
The 5.5-lite biturbo V8 lacks the aural authority of the 6.3litre naturally-aspirated C63 AMG — and costs more than twice the price — but palpitations are but a heartbeat and a steady right foot away.
It is — this side of an SLS roadster and another $100,000 — the definitive Benz sports car, eschewing any sense of practicality for the sexy silhouetted profile of a burlesque dancer and the work ethic of a bar-room madam. The centre dial has a range of performance modes but on a rain-slicked track the default comfort setting is more than enough to light up the dash lights with anything near inappropriate throttle use.
A day spent lumbering a high-performance vehicle with an ordinary performing driver on a track that forgave no errors shows the SL to be as surefooted and nimble as any frontengined two-seater can be.
Plough-on understeer switches to progressive oversteer on throttle or steering response but the SL is best suited to steady, high-gee loads as it carves up the optimal line for the exit. And if you’re worried about driving it in the rain, you probably couldn’t afford it in the first place.