It’s the first production vehicle to use an electric exhaust gas turbocharger.
Mercedes adds a new entry-level version of its exquisite SL-Class roadster to the mix just hours after unveiling a discreet teaser photograph. The Mercedes-AMG SL43 has half the engine of its siblings, with a single-turbocharged four-cylinder replacing the twin-turbocharged V8. Of course, because it’s an AMG product, it’s not your standard four-pot. And it isn’t even close to having half the power.
The M139 turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is the big news for this edition of the SL-Class. This engine is familiar to Mercedes-Benz aficionados, but it is boosted by a single electronic exhaust gas turbocharger. The technology is derived from the automaker’s Formula 1 operations, and the starter-generator is powered by the same 48-volt electrical system. In summary, the turbo’s little electric motor spins the shaft up until exhaust gases take over. As a result, Mercedes claims that the engine has “especially spontaneous throttle response over the whole rpm range” while simultaneously improving efficiency.
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What does that mean for the driver? The SL43’s four-cylinder makes 381 horsepower (284 kilowatts) at 6,750 rpm. As for torque, you’ll get a stout 354 pound-feet (480 Newton-meters) starting at 3,250 rpm and holding steady to 5000 revs. The starter-generator system can also add an extra 14 hp (10 kW) for short periods, and yes, that technically makes the SL43 a mild hybrid. Shifting duties are handled by the familiar nine-speed MCT, sending power to the rear wheels only.
When you press the SL43’s throttle, Mercedes claims it will accelerate from 0 to 62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 4.9 seconds. The entry-level SL will top out at 171 mph (275 km/h). It may only have half the turbos, cylinders, and displacement of its more powerful siblings, but it surely doesn’t lack performance. Mercedes is also quick to point out that the SL43’s smaller engine implies less bulk up front, giving it its unique set of handling characteristics. Lighter torsion bar stabilisers specific to this trim further alter this.
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To the casual observer, the SL43 looks identical to the rest of the lineup. A keen eye will note small changes to the vents on the lower front fascia, as well as a smooth rear fascia devoid of vertical vents. The SL43 also trades square exhaust tips for oval finishers, and of course there’s SL43 badging. 19-inch wheels are standard, with 20-inch and 21-inch wheels optional.
Beyond that, you’ll still find all the cool SL features common to the SL55 and SL63. That includes available rear steering, numerous drive modes, the AMG Dynamic Plus Package, and a supremely luxurious interior filled with digital screens and the latest MBUX system.
Pricing and availability for the Mercedes-AMG SL43 will be announced closer to production.