When you think of luxury and performance automobile manufacturers a few most likely come to mind. Narrow that down to Europe, and specifically German automakers, and we arrive at the ‘Big Three’ of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Technically, BMW is the oldest of these three companies, being founded in 1916. That said, it wasn’t until 1928 that they started building cars which means that Mercedes-Benz, founded in 1926, is the oldest brand when it comes to automobile manufacturing. Not sold? Go back 40 years before that and we see that Karl Benz built what is considered the first gasoline powered car, the 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen. While it looked nothing like the cars of the 20th century, the Motorwagen started the world on its path to the love affair with the automobile.
Since then, this division of Daimler AG has established itself as a premier designer and builder of cars. From sedans and SUVs for the family, to performance coupes and race-inspired models fit for a Formula 1 star, Mercedes is known around the world for providing a perfect blend of luxury, practicality and performance. Naturally, stealing the spotlight for this brand are the highest performance models developed through years of partnership with the likes of AMG and McLaren. Those who know cars understand that whenever a Mercedes has been manufactured in partnership with either of these performance organizations, the end result is a seriously high-end car.
The following looks at 10 of the best performing Mercedes in terms of 0-60 times. Unsurprisingly, AMG have their hand in most of the following cars but it really doesn’t matter because, as you’ll see, these are all very nice cars which anyone would love to have in their garage. In the world of car performance, times can often vary by one or two tenths of a second, so we narrowed down the 0-60 times with the help of a few respected automotive magazines. To keep the variety, only the fastest car from each respective class was allowed on the list. We also opted not to include any Formula 1 racers because they would dominate every entry position – making for a rather bland comparison.
10. 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 – 3.9 sec 0-60 mph
Those familiar with the nomenclature of Mercedes know that the SL in SL550 stands for ‘sport’ and ‘lightweight.’ Looking at this car we get the sport label but after learning it has a weight of around two tons, we’re not so sure about the whole lightweight title. The SL class has been around since the 1950s and matching a variety of 6, 8 and 12 cylinder engines with several generations of sporty two-door coupes and roadsters. The 2013 SL550 is powered by a 4.7L twin-turbocharged engine which gives it 429 hp. More importantly, helping to launch this car from a stop all the way to 60mph in under 4 seconds is the engine’s impressive 516 lb-ft of torque.
T-8. 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S – 3.6 sec 0-60 mph
Only in production since 2014, this new two-door two-seater is meant to go head-to-head with the likes of the Porsche 911, both on the track and in the showroom. Developed by Mercedes-AMG, the GT weighs in at a little over a ton and a half and is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0L V8. This powerplant gives the GT S just over 500 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque. One look inside and you’ll understand what Mercedes mean when they say this car is designed with an aviation theme. Beyond all the controls mounted in the airplane-inspired center console, this car flies. Official company releases state the GT S will do 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds. Away from the Mercedes test facilities, drivers are finding they can manage to shave off a whole tenth of a second.
T-8. 2013 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Black Series – 3.6 sec 0-60 mph
With significant input from the world of motorsports and a debut at the F1 German Grand Prix, you’d expect this C63 to have some serious performance figures. You won’t be disappointed. The C63 itself is a very nice car. The AMG Black Series is even better. This particular C63 is only available in a coupe style and features a specially tuned 6.2L V8 engine which produces 510 hp and 457 lb-ft of torque. Helping to keep that power planted to the ground and get the car up to 60mph in 3.6 seconds are a specially tuned suspension and aerodynamic body kit from performance garage AMG. It all combines to give the C63 a combination of relatively subtle looks and blistering performance favored by many auto aficionados around the world.
7. 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG – 3.5 sec 0-60 mph
Fans of the SL series will know that during the 1980s and 1990s, Mercedes generally let the series slip a bit. Sure it looked good but the performance dropped off and the cars got a little heavy. With the sixth generation of SL vehicles, Mercedes has moved to trim the weight, increase the power and return the lineup to performance greatness. The SL63 AMG is one example of this development. Although it still weighs over two tons, the SL63 AMG is a few hundred pounds lighter than the previous version – and more powerful. Designers did away with the older 6.2L motor and opted for a direct-injection, twin-turbocharged 5.5L V8. This new motor makes an impressive 530 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque at just 2000 rpm.
T-5. 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG – 3.4 sec 0-60 mph
Yes, yet another SL. Yes, it’s a heavy beast at 4450 lbs, but that’s an improvement over previous versions if you can believe it. Weight loss is all thanks to the extensive use of carbon fiber which drops over 500 lbs from previous models. Naturally such improvements don’t come cheap. This $148,000 performer, like other SLs of this period, sees numerous improvements to power and design as Mercedes looked to generally make the car fitting of the SL badge. The SL65 AMG’s best feature is surely what lies under the hood. Here you’ll find an AMG 6.0L twin-turbocharged V12. The nearly insane 738 lb-ft or torque help get this SL from a stop to 60 mph in an impressive 3.4 seconds.
T-5. 2009 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss Edition – 3.4 sec 0-60 mph
When you look at the SLR McLaren you are unlikely to be left wondering whether this car is fast. When you see the name and understand that SLR translates into ‘sport light racing’ and McLaren are one of the most established and historic names in world racing, you’ll quickly understand this car is all about performance. If the ‘regular’ SLR McLaren looks fast then we can only imagine what people think when they see the Stirling Moss edition of the car. It has no roof, no windshield and is over 400 lbs lighter. Its supercharged 5.5L V8 also puts out an impressive 640hp for those brave (or lucky) enough to climb in.
4. 1999 Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR – 3.3 sec 0-60 mph
Designed and built as a race car by Mercedes-AMG, racing regulations required Mercedes to also produce at least 25 road-going examples – they ended up building 35. The race version was powered by a 6.0L V12 while those lucky enough to own a road going version found a naturally-aspirated 6.9L V12 mounted behind the driver. As usual, Mercedes officially rated the car’s 0-60 mph performance slower than what was actually found. Those who managed to get their hands on this $1.5 million car found it could get up to speed much faster. Recently, one sold for auction for over $2.37 million.
T-1. 2014 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model sedan – 3.2 sec.
What happens when you take the power from an AMG tuned engine and put it through Mercedes’ all-wheel-drive system? You get a blistering quick car. When this car was released upon the world, Mercedes claimed a 0-60 time of around 3.5 seconds. When various magazines and testers outside the company got hold of the E63 AMG S-Model, they were left wondering if Mercedes actually tested it or just guessed because actual times were found to be much quicker. Depending on who you believe, 0-60 for this particular car tends to be around 3.3-3.2 seconds. The car’s twin-turbocharged 5.5L V8 helps it achieve these marks thanks to the 577 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque output. Not too bad for a relatively unassuming looking four-door sedan.
T-1. 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG S – 3.2 sec 0-60 mph
Like some of the other Mercedes listed here, the CLS63 looks nice but doesn’t necessarily look like the kind of car that would leave you in its dust at a stoplight. This 4-door sedan looks more like something a surgeon or high-ranking executive would use to commute to work. The nice, albeit understated, exterior hides a true beast inside. The standard CLS63 came with a variety of engines over its life. This particular vehicle comes with the same potent 577 hp 5.5L twin-turbocharged V8 found in the E63 AMG S-model. In fact, in addition to the same engine, both cars use the same AWD system and weigh nearly the same, so it’s unsurprising that their 0-60 times are identical.
T-1. 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 Race Car – 3.2 sec 0-60 mph
Topping our list (but tied with a couple other cars for time) is the modern day incarnation of the famous Mercedes 300SL gullwing coupe. This $456,000 non-street legal racer was built by Mercedes to meet FIA GT3 racing regulations. Only a handful were built and all were snapped up by race enthusiasts to either enter into events or enjoy on track days. As you’d expect, the car is loaded with racing features which include a lot of carbon fibre material, larger brakes and a firmer suspension. Overall, it’s around 700 lbs lighter than the street version of the SLS. Powering it all is a 6.2L V8 which, according to AMG, makes upwards of 600 hp and helps the car rocket to 60 mph in a blistering 3.2 seconds.