As we’re approaching the end of the development and testing phase, Mercedes engineers have done away with all the camouflage on the plug-in hybrid version of the new SL Roadster. This time, our spies nabbed a more vividly colored prototype in red. Since our last sighting, Mercedes officials have also confirmed that the car will get the same ferocious powertrain as AMG’s GT E-Performance model. [Updated 4/2/2022].
Since the new Mercedes-AMG SL was unveiled, we’ve known that a plug-in hybrid variant was coming, and now we can see it in all its glory as an uncamouflaged test car was spotted during some cold-weather testing.
The PHEV nature of this particular test car is betrayed by the charge port door on the rear bumper, though that would appear to be the only major difference between this and the regular AMG SL with conventional engines. Since Mercedes has already shown the SL to the world, the need for any camouflage is no longer present.
We already know that the new SL is based on the same platform as the upcoming AMG GT Coupe. That ought to excite the power-hungry because this car shares the four-door AMG GT’s hybrid powertrain that makes a ton of power.
In the AMG GT 63 E Performance, motivation comes from a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 that is hooked up to an electric motor on the rear axle. Together, they make a combined 831 hp (842 PS/620 kW) and 1,023 lb-ft (1,400 Nm) of torque. The electric motor is integrated with a two-speed transmission and an electronically controlled limited-slip diff to ensure better grip and performance.
The AMG GT 63 E Performance is good for a 0-60 time of just 2.9 seconds and a top speed of 196 mph (315 km/h), as well as 27 mpg (8.6 L/100 km). Since this two-door roadster is smaller than the sedan, it might be lighter and capable of accelerating faster, though Mercedes-AMG may also be limited by the car’s space for batteries. Some sources have reported that we could see two plug-in hybrid variants, potentially named SL63e with around 700-hp and a full-fat SL63 E-Performance with the afformentioned 831-hp.
The new Mercedes-AMG SL was revealed last October and is currently sold with two V8 options. The SL 55 makes 470 hp (476 PS/350 kW), while the SL 63 makes 577 hp (585 PS/430 kW). Both get a nine-speed automatic transmission. There’s also talk about an entry-level SL43 model powered by the A45 S’ 2.0-liter turbocharged four making around 385 hp with the help of a mild-hybrid system.
No date has been officially set for the plug-in hybrid roadster’s unveiling but a debut is expected before the year’s end.