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2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 43 article highlights:

  • The 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 43 brings Formula-One-style electric turbochargers to the road for the first time
  • It’s less powerful than the AMG SL 55 and 63, but it’s also lighter and RWD-only with many of the same luxury features
  • Mercedes hasn’t decided if it’s bringing the 2023 AMG SL 43 to the US—yet

In addition to ushering in Mercedes-Benz’s first electric generation of speed, the AMG performance whisperers have another duty. The venerable SL roadster is now not just a Mercedes, but a Mercedes-AMG. And the 2022 SL 55 and 63 have seemingly rediscovered their sporty GT heritage. However, they have a new sibling, the 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 43, that brings a piece of Formula One technology to the street. But it might not bring it to American streets.

The 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 43 brings F1 tech to the road in a production-car first

Admittedly, some claims of ‘F1 technology for the road’ offer more hype than substance. But when Mercedes makes these claims, it typically backs them up. For example, the upcoming AMG One hypercar’s hybrid powertrain is genuinely derived from the company’s F1 cars. And while the 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 43’s tech is more modest, it’s still honest-to-goodness F1-derived, Road & Track reports.

The 2023 SL 43 uses the same hand-built 48-volt mild-hybrid 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine Mercedes puts in the CLA 45 and GLA 45. The roadster, though, pairs it with a nine-speed dual-clutch automatic. And, more importantly, there’s an electric motor attached to its turbocharger. This is the F1 tech I was talking about.

All turbochargers use exhaust gases to spin turbine wheels that are attached to compressors. When these compressors start spinning, they squeeze more air into the combustion chambers, thus boosting power output. But because those turbines must spool up first, all turbocharged engines have some turbo lag. All turbocharged engines, that is, except for those with anti-lag measures. For example, electric turbochargers, like the ones Mercedes’ F1 cars—and now the AMG SL 43—use.

Rather than waiting for exhaust gases to spin up the turbine, the Mercedes-AMG SL 43 spins the compressor directly using its mild-hybrid starter-generator, R&T explains. It’s a production-car first that supposedly eliminates lag and lets the engine maintain boost pressure even while braking or coasting. Theoretically, this should be one responsive engine.

And this engine comes in the entry-level Mercedes-AMG SL model.

This entry-level roadster might be a sharper sports car than the V8-powered AMG SLs

2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 432022 Mercedes-AMG SL 55, 63
Engine2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8
Horsepower375 hp (continuous)
388 hp (with mild-hybrid boost)
SL 55: 469 hp
SL 63: 577 hp
Torque354 lb-ftSL 55: 516 lb-ft
SL 63: 590 lb-ft
TransmissionNine-speed dual-clutch automaticNine-speed dual-clutch automatic
Curb weight3990 lbsSL 55: 4299 lbs (Euro-spec, The Drive)
SL 63: 4343 lbs (Euro-spec, The Drive)
0-60 mph time (claimed)4.9 secondsSL 55: 3.8 seconds
SL 63: 3.5 seconds

Besides having half the cylinders as the 2022 AMG SL 55 and 63, the 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 43 also has half the driven wheels. The other two 2022 SLs come standard with AWD; the SL 43, though, is a RWD roadster. Also, it has 19” standard wheels, rather than 20” or 21” ones like the V8 models. And it doesn’t come standard with AMG’s active suspension or rear-wheel steering, though both are available options.

However, while the 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 43 is slower in a straight line, it might be more agile in the corners, The Drive notes. Even with the fancy turbo and mild-hybrid tech, the SL 43’s four-cylinder engine weighs less than the other SLs’ V8s. The V8 SLs aren’t lumbering cruisers, per se, but they’re not canyon carvers, either. With less weight to carry—and a lot of it off its nose—the SL 43 could call back even more effectively to the original SL sports cars.

But the 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 43 doesn’t forget its GT mission completely. Like its V8-powered siblings, it has leather upholstery, metal trim, a digital gauge cluster, and an adjustable 12.3” center touchscreen. Also, it offers the same kind of upgrades the SL 55 and 63 offer, such as Nappa leather, augmented-reality navigation, and massaging seats. And in addition to larger wheels, buyers can add extra aerodynamic elements and steeper settings for the automatic rear spoiler.

Will Mercedes bring the AMG SL 43 to the US?

As of this writing, we don’t know how much the 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 43 will cost. We also don’t know if it’s even coming to the US in the first place. However, a Mercedes-Benz spokesperson told R&T and The Drive that it’s “’currently still under consideration.’”

So, if the idea of a RWD luxury convertible sports car with F1 tech appeals to you, get in touch with Mercedes. Because I can’t think of a better way of honoring the original SL, the Gullwing, than putting race car technology in a street-legal sports car.

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