But at six figures, it's not something everyone can afford.
It's official, folks. The first high-end AMG sports car with a turbocharged four-cylinder will soon be available to order, and it comes in the shape of the Mercedes-AMG SL 43. It joins the AMG SL range as the "affordable" option, standing proudly next to its SL 55 and SL 63 brethren, both of which sport the beloved 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine. Unlike those, it gets half the displacement and half the cylinder count.
Before we dismiss the four-cylinder version of Merc's most famous drop-top, we should at least give it a chance. According to the Mercedes' German website, where the SL 43 went live first, the new model retails for 118,708.45 euros, which translates roughly to $125,000. That's a substantial $55,000 saving (we guestimate the top-spec SL will retail for around $180k) and worth having if you intend to do more posing than driving. Order books have now opened for the car in its home country of Germany.
The SL 43 has a lightweight 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder under the hood, and the power is sent to the rear wheels only. It comes standard with an electric exhaust turbocharger borrowing tech from the AMG F1 department. The idea behind this tech is to eliminate turbo lag, so it feels as if you always have the full 381 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque on tap. It can also provide a 14-hp boost for a short time.
The secret to this impressive power output - available from just 3,250 rpm - is a 1.5-inch thick electric motor integrated directly into the turbocharger shaft between the turbine wheel on the exhaust side and the compressor wheel on the intake side. The motor essentially drives the turbo's shaft and accelerates the compressor wheel long before the exhaust gasses arrive to do their job.
Aside from the powertrains and minor visual differences, there are a few changes elsewhere. While standard on the V8 models, you have to pay $2,200 extra for AMG Ride Control (adaptive adjustable damping), rear-wheel steering, and around $5,000 for the AMG Dynamic Plus Package. The latter package includes the above-mentioned Ride Control, dynamic engine mounts, an AMG rear limited-slip differential, yellow AMG brake calipers, and a drop in ride height.
If you want the AMG Aerodynamics Package with active aero, you'll have to hand over the equivalent of $3,500, while the AMG Exterior Carbon Fiber Package retails for almost $6,000. Want a Burmester surround sound system and a black Nappa leather interior? Of course, you do. This is a premium Benz, after all. Unfortunately, these are options costing $1,460 and $3,350, respectively.
Even with all these goodies added, the SL 43 still represents a massive saving over the V8 models. At this stage, the SL43 is not planned for the US market. If it does, pricing is expected to be lower than it is in Europe, but the package pricing guidelines should be relevant.