It follows in the footsteps of the environmentally-unfriendly SL 65.
Models come and models go, but few have the history and heritage of the Mercedes-Benz SL, which dates all the way back to 1954. While many knew the big grand touring roadster as a design icon, in recent times it was also known for its magnificent engineering, in particular, the big V8 and V12 motors that often found their way under the hood of the drop-top. But declining sales and substantial overlap in the Mercedes product lineup have led to the AMG GT Roadster cannibalizing the esteemed SL, leading to Mercedes-AMG cutting back the number of available SL models.
The V12-powered SL 65 was cut from the line-up at the end of the 2018 model year, leaving just a single AMG derivative on sale, the Mercedes-AMG SL 63. But CarBuzz has now discovered that the SL 63 has been officially discontinued as well, leaving the SL AMG-less for the first time since 1995.
Back in May, we heard rumors that the SL 63 would be ending production, but there was never any official confirmation. However, while digging around to see what models wouldn't be returning for 2020, we saw the SL 63 had been removed from both the US and international websites of Mercedes-Benz. We reached out for further information and received e-mail confirmation from Ashley Gillam, PR Specialist at MB USA, that "we [do] not have MY20 SL 63." Simple, brief, and to the point: the Mercedes-AMG SL 63 is dead.
There are a number of reasons why the SL 63 has been canned. First of all, there's the cannibalism of sales by the AMG GT Roadster, which for all intents and purposes fulfills the exact same role as the SL 63, but with more power, newer technology, and greater levels of style and refinement. Why sell two cars covering the same segment of the market?
The second, and likely one of the most damning reasons for the model's discontinuation, is the fact that the SL 63 utilized one of Mercedes' oldest engines. The 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 (codenamed M157) has been in use since 2011, but it was discontinued from use in other applications like the E63 and S63 AMG models in favor of the newer, more refined, and more economical M177/8 engine, the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 found in everything from the AMG C63 to the AMG GT R Pro. The 577-hp 5.5-liter V8 is dated and can't keep up with European emissions legislation, not to mention it's incapable of matching the power outputs of the newer powerplant from AMG.
We're not particularly troubled by the news, however, as the SL was beginning to feel its age. At a decade old, it utilized old infotainment software, it was heavy and cumbersome, and the seven-speed automatic gearbox wasn't exactly Mercedes' finest. There's also good news on the horizon, as Mercedes-Benz is currently cooking up a new SL-Class rumored to arrive in 2021.
The new SL is apparently being built on the company's Modular Sports Architecture, a platform that will be shared with the AMG GT's successor. However, the SL will take a much softer approach than the AMG GT, and will likely feature a range of plug-in and regular hybrid powertrains. Should the SL 63 moniker be revived, and not replaced by an SL 53, we suspect it'll use the same combination of the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 and EQ-Boost electric motor as the new 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S.
Until such time as a new SL arrives, however, if you want a MY 2020, you can still buy the 362-hp SL 450, or if you desperately need a V8 in your life, the 4.7-liter twin-turbo V8 in the SL 550 should have you covered with 449 hp.