Special SL65 celebrates 45 years of Mercedes-Benz AMG

Mercedes SL65 AMG 45th Anniversary EditionIt’s tough to make it in the car business, even for a few years. Making it 45 years is definitely something worth celebrating. That’s the milestone AMG, the performance arm of Mercedes-Benz, just hit, and the company is celebrating the way car companies love to: with a special-edition model.

In this case, it’s a tweaked version of the 2013 SL65 AMG roadster. The anniversary cars get special matte gray paint, which AMG calls “magno graphite,” and matching matte-finish carbon fiber trim pieces. The matte theme continues with the wheels, unique AMG 10-spokes mounted to chunky 255/35R19 (front) and 285/30R20 (rear) tires. The exterior upgrades are finished off with black chrome dual exhaust tips.

The interior is finished in titanium gray pearl and ginger beige leather, with diamond stitching on the seats, door panels, and headliner. It also gets some matte carbon fiber pieces to match the exterior.

This special edition is mostly skin deep, but that doesn’t make it a ride for poseurs. The 45th Anniversary Edition retains the regular SL65 AMG’s twin-turbo, 6.0-liter V12, which produces 621 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. According to Mercedes, that should get the SL65 AMG from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds, and on to a top speed of 186 mph. Fitting, only 45 cars will be built, and they will hit U.S. Showrooms in November.

Why mix up all that matte paint for an acronym? AMG may not be an independent carmaker, but it is one of the most hallowed names in the world of performance cars. Founded by Hans-Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher in 1968, AMG has always specialized in souping-up up Mercedes-Benzs, usually by dropping a huge engine in a small chassis.Mercedes SL65 AMG 45th Anniversary Edition engine

In 1971, the company put a 6.8-liter V8 in a stock Mercedes sedan to create the “Red Sow,” which went on to win the 24 Hours of Spa. During the 1980s, while still an independent tuning company, AMG built its famous Hammers. Taking the V8 from an S-Class and putting it in the smaller E-Class created luxury muscle cars like the 178-mph 300CE AMG.

After it was acquired by Mercedes, AMG was tasked with building official performance versions of the German giant’s cars. To date, AMG has tuned everything from the C-Class sedan to the ML-Class crossover. It also did all of the design and engineering work on the Mercedes SLS AMG, a.k.a. “the Gullwing.”

Its products aren’t about flash, they hide serious performance under subtle body modifications. Their big V8s and V12s may make a lot of noise, but it takes a trained eye to spot an AMG-enhanced Benz. It makes it very easier to surprise unsuspecting Porsche drivers at the drag strip.

Since AMG and its main rival, BMW M, starting churning out fast cars, the factory tuner has become a bit of a trend. Now, Ford has SVT, Audi has quattro, and Chrysler has SRT. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Here’s to another 45 years of smoked tires from AMG.