Whenever there's a new SL model, the AMG version is not far behind, and the 2009 SL63 AMG accordingly made its debut at Geneva. The AMG version of the roadster differentiates itself from the standard SL with a distinctive hood, larger cooling air intakes, and unique fog-lamp assemblies.
Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staff
The SL63 AMG is motivated by a 6.3-liter, all-AMG V-8 engine that shares no parts with the V-8 found in the engines of the regular SL models. This power plant is mated with an all-new, seven-speed transmission with multi-clutch technology (MCT), unique to the model.
The transmission, which features four shift modes, significantly reduces shift times, according to Mercedes. From side-on, the car distinguishes itself with AMG-trimmed air outlets behind the front wheels.
Mercedes' self-proclaimed "four-door coupe" receives some minor cosmetic enhancements for 2009, including a new radiator grille with fewer louvers than the current model, new mirrors, and LED tail lights. The new CLS is available with three engine choices: the CLS280 gets a 3-liter V-6 making 231 horsepower; the CLS 350 CGI gets the same engine with direct injection giving it 292 horsepower; and the CLS 500 gets the tried and tested 5.5-liter V-8, good for 388 horsepower.
As an entirely new model line, the CLC becomes Mercedes' entry-level coupe, taking over from the CLK. The CLC sports a wedge-shaped profile with a cropped rear end and a high trunk deck lid. It will be available in Europe with a choice of six engines.
Mercedes' grand touring CL line gets a new member in the form of the permanent all-wheel-drive CL500 4Matic. The new model is equipped with the same 388 horsepower V-8 as that found in its rear-wheel drive counterpart, but the swoopy coupe now gets the same all-wheel-drive system found in the S-Class sedan. According to Mercedes, the 4Matic version of the CL will get exactly the same fuel economy as the two-wheel drive version.
The baby roadster of the lineup receives some significant exterior styling updates as well as a number of engine upgrades. On the front end, a new bumper and airdam arrangement give the car a more pointed look, while on the back end a new diffuser and trapezoidal tailpipes complete the makeover. The new SLK 350 inherits the V-6 from the SL-class, giving it a whopping 305 horsepower. The model is also available with naturally aspirated and supercharged four-cylinder engines.
While the SL class retains the console-mounted COMAND interface with GPS navigation as standard, the system gets a number of upgrades including a 4GB hard drive and the Mercedes Music Register application that allows drivers to store up to 1,000 MP3 tracks. It also gets USB connectivity and Bluetooth hands-free calling as standard.