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  • Writer's pictureCory Fourniquet

2023 Mercedes-AMG SL43 | A $120,000 Disappointment

Never in a million years did I think I would find myself in a place where I am struggling to find the reason a Mercedes-AMG product exists, especially one that crests the $120,000 price point, but here we are.

2023 Mercedes-AMG SL43 Roadster
2023 Mercedes-AMG SL43 Roadster

This base model SL43 employs a hand-crafted 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine paired with a hybrid-electric drive. On paper, it seems very competitive: 375 horsepower, 354 lb-ft of torque, 4.8 second 0-60 acceleration, all packed in a 2+2 roadster that looks amazing. The chassis is definitely NOT the reason for my disappointment. It is a solid platform that is let down by the base engine. We had this exact vehicle twice, and it broke and underperformed for us on both occasions. The hybrid system is not ready for prime time as it appears to be the main culprit of our issues.

When pushed to do fun AMG things, the powertrain went into limp mode while flashing many different error warnings on us. Twice. Add on top of that the general feeling of un-refinement from the small handcrafted engine in daily use meant that this roadster was not fun as a sports car or a daily cruiser.

Slap on a price tag that eclipses that of perhaps its closest rival in the Lexus LC 500h, and you have a vehicle that just does not make any justification for its existence.

When you can have the looks of this vehicle, the performance of its strong chassis and suspension, along with Merc’s spectacular bi-turbo V8 in both the SL55 & SL63 variants, why anyone would choose this SL43 is lost on me.

Get the V8 version or buy the Lexus. Skip the SL43.

2023 Mercedes-AMG SL43 Specs:

* Handcrafted 2.0L Inline-4 Turbo Engine with Hybrid Assist

* 375 Horsepower (354)

* 354 lb-ft of Torque (est.) (369)

* AMG SPEEDSHIFT® MCT 9G 9-speed Transmission

* Rear Wheel Drive

* 0-60 in 4.8 seconds (4.7)

* AMG Dynamic Select Drive Mode Selector:

    * Sport S+

    * Sport S

    * Comfort

    * Individual

    * Snow

* 4-wheel Independent Suspension with AMG Sport Suspension

    * 5-arm Multilink Front & Rear Suspension

* 255/45R29 Front & 285/40R19 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S Tires

* AMG High-performance Composite Brakes

* Retractable Rear Spoiler

* Seating for 4

* AMG Performance Nappa Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel

* Aluminum Paddle Shifters

* Heated & Ventilated Leather Front Seats with AIRSCARF®

* Power Front Seats

* 3-person Driver’s Seat Memory Settings

* Dual-zone Climate Controls

* 7.5 Cubic Feet of Cargo Space

* 12.3-inch Digital Instrument Cluster

* 11.9-inch Adjustable MBUX Infotainment Screen with Wireless Apple CarPlay® & Android Auto™

* 10-Speaker Burmester Surround Sound with Subwoofer and 650-watt Amp

* Proximity Key with Push Button Start

* EPA Estimated Fuel Economy 21/27/23 (city/hwy/cmb) (26/33/29)

* Starting MSRP $109,900 ($101,000)

* Price as tested: $120,635 ($109,705)

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