Mercedes-AMG SL 63 vs. Ferrari Portofino, Aston Martin DB11: GT convertibles at the highest level

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Three Lust roadsters with GT flavor are finding their way to the first comparison test from Autobild: the brand new Ferrari Portofino meets the stately Aston Martin DB11 V8 Volante and the luxurious Mercedes-AMG SL 63.

The way to Italy is already familiar. While you are strolling through Austria in accordance with regulations, the joy of having the first espresso after fatigue grows, it automatically creates sunny feelings because it has been learned in many years and Brenner pass crossings: The first espresso opens the door to a warm, relaxed country with very good food and many memories. We are with Aston Martin DB11 V8 Volante and Mercedes-AMG SL 63 on the way to Maranello, where the brand new Ferrari Portofino is waiting for us.

In the Ferrari, the turbo V8 is almost a naturally aspirated engine
The Italian faces on home soil a first driving comparison with two of its main rivals among the sporty-luxury convertibles. Sporty, because even the “weakest” of our trio, the DB11 Volante, mobilizes 510 hp from a bi-turbo V8. The similarly forced-breathing bi-turbo SL 63 balances 585 hp on its crankshaft. The Ferrari Portofino finally pulls from its 3.9 liter twin turbo with a whopping 156 hp per liter ratio, the highest specific power and reaches a maximum output of 600 hp at a red line that makes you think of a naturally aspirated engine: 7500 rpm – and also interesting – the Italian V8 revs significantly higher than the competition from England (Aston: 6000 rpm) and Germany (AMG: 5500 rpm). This already gives an indication of the fundamental characteristics of these three powerful GTs. The three are not only luxurious because of their engines, but also due to their premium prices of just over 174,000 (AMG) and 199,000 euros (Aston); the Portofino sets up with 189.704 euros in between.

The Mercedes SL looks back on a long history
All three serve the high-end segment and clearly show this with the finest workmanship, fine leather and a thoroughly high-priced appearance. Ferrari does not want to know its completely new Portofino as an entry-level option and this is shown by the presence of the Manettino on the steering wheel, the central presetting tool for engine, transmission and chassis: still the usual point “Race” is deliberately missing here. After all, the Aston Martin DB11 offers a “Sport Plus”, although it can not be activated via a central controller, but via two buttons on the steering wheel that can be preconditioned separately for the suspension and engine gearbox. And the SL 63 even offers a sharp race track mode. The carbon ceramic brakes that have been standard on big Ferraris for some years are also standard on the Portofino. For the Mercedes-AMG the carbon brake pack costs 8271 Euro, while Aston Martin doesn’t offer this option.

From the outside, one does not doubt the high-priced positioning of the three opponents: Firstly, there is the SL, the Mercedes perennial, which has been continuously developed since 1952 and has recently also significantly increased lateral dynamics. Although it takes the place of a rather inconspicuous teammate in the trio, it manages to impress with its long snout, the muscular modeled skin and the overall stretched appearance: the SL 63 is distinguished. Still, let us not forget the new edition of the classic is due to hit the market in 2019.

The design of the Aston Martin is, as always, ravishingly cool
A modest restraint radiates from the Aston Martin, but also dresses the DB11 with that sophistication and a breathtaking sense of proportions, which can actually be attributed to all Astons of recent times. From the front it looks with its over-bite on the shark mouth grille like a throwback to race cars of yesteryear, the playful sidecut of his elongated body body looks sexy – the whole car radiates a lot of coolness. Also, the Ferrari Portofino is not full of optical stimuli, a thing which can be recognized especially when compared to its predecessor California. Thus, the rear end with the backpack appearance of the predecessor is gone and now the Portofino with its closed tin roof looks like a perfect coupé. The Portofino, whose 2 + 2-seat concept is similar to the DB11 in the rear, offers space for children or luggage, in a racy outer skin. In addition, it has slimmed down compared to its predecessor about 80 kilograms.

All three GT convertibles are at the highest level. The impressively sprinting Mercedes is blessed with the best driving comfort and has to sort itself out just behind the Aston Martin DB11. The Briton also scores with casual elegance and its revving, great-sounding V8 (of Mercedes-AMG origin, too). The champion is the new Ferrari Portofino, which in addition to sprinting can attack dedicated curves with a good ride comfort. And a turbo engine that feels (almost) like an old-school high-revving V8.

Technical data Aston Martin Ferrari Mercedes-AMG
Model DB11 V8 Volante Portofino SL 63
Engine V8 V8 V8
Type Biturbo Biturbo Biturbo
Capacity 3982 cm³ 3855 cm³ 5461 cm³
Power kW (PS) /rpm 375 (510)/6000 441 (600)/7500 430 (585)/5500
Power/litre 128 PS/l 156 PS/l 107 PS/l
Torque Nm /rpm 675/2000-5000 760/3000-5250 900/2250-3750
Gearbox 8-Speed-Automatic 7-spd.-Double clutch 7-Speed-Automatic
Transmission Rear wheel drive Rear wheel drive Rear wheel drive
Lenght/Width/Height 4750/1950/1290 mm 4586/1938/1318 mm 4640/1877/1305 mm
Tank-/Trunk volume 80/169 l 80/292 l 75/364-504 l
Weight 1870 kg 1664 kg 1838 kg
0-100 km/h 4,1 s 3,5 s 4,1 s
0-200 km/h k. A. 10,8 s 11, 6 s
Vmax 300 km/h 320 km/h 300 km/h
Base price (Germany) 199.000 Euro 189.704 Euro 174.276 Euro


One Comment

  • Dhm says:

    Why the SL and not the GTC AMG convertible?…..
    If you are pitting Mercedes against Ferrari and Aston it’s a little unfair you select an almost decade old platform when AMG can give you a much newer, better balanced, higher performing alternative.
    Short sighted.