Mercedes-AMG Brings Entry-Trim SL 43 to America

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Let’s be clear: this so-called ‘entry’ model of the tremendous SL roadster still costs six figures and has just 14 fewer horsepower than the vaunted R129-era V12 convertible – despite having precisely one-third the number of cylinders.

Set to be called the SL 43, this open-top 2+2-seater features a 2.0L turbocharged engine breathed upon by AMG and featuring an electric exhaust gas turbocharger. What’s that, you say? Glad you asked. Merc claims this technology is a “direct derivative” of developments used by the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team, a fact which can be used whilst bragging about your new car to buddies at the beach house in Malibu. 

Said to provide quick throttle response across the rpm range, the turbo is operated via the car’s 48-volt electrical system, a piece of kit which also feeds the belt-driven starter-generator. Electronically controlled, this drives the shaft of the turbocharger directly to accelerate the compressor wheel before the exhaust gas flow takes over the drive it in a conventional manner. Fun fact: the turbo can spin at speeds up to 170,000 rpm which seems to be the approximate speed of the blades on your author’s Lasko 3300 Wind Machine box fan on setting number three. All this – the turbo, not my cooling device in the garage – is good for an output of 375 horses and 354 lb-ft of twist. Exclusively rear-wheel drive, an AMG 9-speed automatic is part of the deal and 60 mph should appear in less than 5 seconds.

This inclusion of a small-displacement engine should not strike fear in the hearts of traditionalists. After all, the R129 was available for years with a six-pot engine making 228 ponies – just three more than a Mustang GT, at the time – though it could be had with a five-speed manual. Gearheads insist this configuration was actually the one to get, despite the V8 option grabbing all the magazine headlines. They were probably right.

This trim will retain many of the interior tricks which makes the current SL a treat, such as the 11.9-inch central touchscreen which may be electrically adjusted from 12 to 32 degrees during times when the California sun is being annoying. Heated and cooled seats, Nappa leather, LCD instrument cluster – all are present and accounted for. Having spent ample time behind the wheel of a more powerful variant, I can confidently assert it is a very nice place in which to while away the hours.

The SL 43 will be arriving in American dealerships this summer.

[Images: Mercedes]

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Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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4 of 22 comments
  • RHD RHD on May 25, 2023

    It will get lots of compliments at the gas station and in the parking lot. Give me one with a manual transmission, please. The price is outrageous, though. The only purchasers will be elderly millionaires, trying to keep their 30-something gold digger around a little longer by buying her another trinket.

    • See 1 previous
    • RHD RHD on May 26, 2023

      In the box below, where it says "Share your car truths here!", write what you want to say, check it for spelling and grammar, and hit "Comment".

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on May 25, 2023

    48 Volts?!? That is way too scary.

    Signed, Your Favorite OEM

  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.