German automaking pioneer Mercedes-Benz has debuted the genuine Sport-Leicht (Sport-Light) variant of its seventh-generation SL, the Mercedes-AMG SL 43. When Mercedes introduced the all-new SL in 2022, it broke convention by giving it all-wheel-drive, a folding soft-top roof, four-wheel steering, and a pair of high-strung 4.0-liter bi-turbo V8 engines.
But with all that kit, the AMG SL 55 and AMG SL 63 would tip the scales at about 4,300 lbs. (1,950 kgs), not exactly what you would classify as “lightweight” despite Mercedes-Benz’s weight-saving efforts to the SL’s bespoke aluminum spaceframe. Mercedes is not yet ready to talk about the newest AMG SL 43’s weight, but it’ll be lighter than its V8-equipped siblings thanks to a compact and hi-tech four-cylinder engine and slimmer underpinnings.
Mercedes M139 Engine: Formula 1 Technology
The 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 43 may have a standard four-cylinder engine, but it’s not a run-of-the-mill four-banger. Instead, under the hood is the brand’s M139 engine, the most potent four-cylinder engine in serial production. It has two liters of displacement and an innovative electric-driven turbocharger that kills turbo lag with some creative engineering.
“The electric exhaust gas turbocharger is a fascinating example of the extensive transfer between Formula 1 technology and the development of production vehicles,” said Jochen Hermann, Chief Technical Officer of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. “The technology increases agility and thus driving fun, while at the same time improving the efficiency of the drive system.”
Mercedes-Benz’s innovative electric-driven exhaust gas turbocharger comprises a 1.6-inch electric motor in the turboshaft, which spins the compressor wheel without the necessary exhaust boost from the gas engine. Meanwhile, the exhaust gas flow takes over at higher engine speeds to maintain a solid boost. With the electric motor spinning up to 170,000 rpm inside the turbocharger, the driver can unleash 354 lb-ft. of torque (3,250 to 5,000 rpm) and 375 horsepower from the small engine.
In addition, the electric motor draws power from the SL’s 48-volt mild-hybrid architecture, meaning it can perform hybrid functions like energy recovery and a gliding mode.
How Fast Is The Mercedes-AMG SL 43?
The 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 43 rushes from zero to 60 in 4.8 seconds and has an electronically-limited 170 mph top speed courtesy of a rear-wheel drivetrain and an AMG Speedshift MCT 9G automatic. The MCT (multi-clutch transmission) has a wet start-off clutch instead of a conventional torque converter to reduce weight while optimizing the throttle response.
The capability to scoot to 60 mph in under five seconds is impressive, but the AMG SL 43 is not ideal for impromptu drag races at stoplights. For that, you need the blown V8 of the AMG SL 55 and AMG SL 63, which pushes both to 60 mph in 3.8 and 3.5 seconds, respectively.
Much of the Mercedes-AMG SL 43’s predisposition for speed stems from a lighter architecture and active aerodynamics. Mercedes claims the body shell weighs only 595 lbs. (270 kg) minus the doors, hood, and trunk lid. It has aero-optimized 19-inch wheels or optional 20 and 21-inch rollers that help reduce air resistance. Furthermore, the brand’s AIRPANEL active air control system opens or shuts the louvers in the front bumper to smoothen the airflow or improve engine cooling.
In addition, the SL 43 has a custom front fascia, rear apron, and round exhaust pipes to distinguish it from its more hardcore brethren. And before we forget, the SL 43’s convertible top will open or close in 15 seconds at speeds up to 37 mph.
Sumptuous Hyper-Analog Cabin
Mercedes-AMG refers to the SL 43’s interior as “hyper-analog,” combining the old with the new. It has a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with analog-type round dials and a tiltable 11.9-inch tablet-style MBUX infotainment touchscreen with model-specific displays and screen modes. The standard equipment includes an AMG Performance steering wheel, smartphone connectivity, live traffic information, and electric multi-contour front seats wrapped in genuine Nappa cowhide.
2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 43 Starting MSRP
The 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 43 starts at $111,050, including the $1,150 destination charge, which is a bargain compared to the SL 55 (about $140,000) and the SL 63 ($180,000). Our free and easy search tools* will narrow down which dealers in your area offer the best pricing on a new Mercedes-AMG SL.
Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.
Photos & Source: MBUSA.
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