Drive Time – 2023 Mercedes-AMG S 43 Roadster

Drive Time – 2023 Mercedes-AMG S 43 Roadster

Most guys’ bucket list should include a barbered straight-razor shave, a custom-tailored suit, playing Cypress Point, navigating the Autobahn, and driving a convertible. It’s safer and more sensible than a crotch rocket motorcycle, but just as liberating with the fresh air and 360° visibilities. Driving one will melt years off your calendar and evaporate everyday stress.  

The 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 43 Roadster qualifies as a grin-inducing adrenaline kick. It delivers looks, performance, luxury appointments and surprisingly decent trunk storage. While the SL 43 Roadster is the least powerful of its SL 55 and SL 63 siblings, it delivers plenty of punch, luxury and better gas mileage for tens of thousands of dollars less.

The AMG 43 Roadster convertible is a sublime driving experience for those desiring the Mercedes-Benz brand. It strikes the perfect balance of sumptuous luxury with sparkling performance, including worthy acceleration, steering, handling and cool technology. The two-seater is the perfect complement to an SUV or truck when you desire pure driving pleasure not requiring much cargo space. I know the hard-to-impress valet attendants were smitten. 


The latest AMG SL 43 Roadster is pure allure on wheels. Its long sexy, swoopy line silhouette delivers love at first sight. Our tester in Moonlight White Metallic with perfectly accented black trim immediately grabs your attention. It means serious business with a long rakish hood, bold front and cool retractable rear spoiler. Sharply angled LED headlights bracket the new commanding Panamericana grille. The rear includes quad exhausts and that deployable spoiler with five angle settings to enhance handling or lower drag. 

It looks positively luscious when going topless while attracting admiring attention with the roof up. The sound-insulating red, silver or black canvas Z-top saves 46 pounds from the previous ragtop and completely lowers in 15 seconds up to 37mph. 

Low-profile run-flat rubber and standard 19” AMG 10-spoke wheels are nice, but I’d opt for the upgraded 20” rims for appearance and handling. I found myself glancing back lovingly several times when walking away from the vehicle. 


The AMG SL 43’s 375hp/354 lb. ft torque 2.0-liter four cylinder with electric exhaust turbocharger engine is plenty quick for most drivers (the SL 55 and 63 house robust V8s) going 0-60 in 4.8 seconds. The Active Sport Exhaust is euphoric with a perfect rumble. I found myself opting for the exquisite exhaust as my driving soundtrack. 

Drivers will appreciate the smooth nine-speed that shifts effortlessly from Comfort, Eco and two Sport modes (S and Sport S+). Yet, manual paddle shifters satisfy your engine-revving mood when desired. Of course, I quickly dialed in the Sport choices that tighten up the steering feel, suspension tautness and rev points to handle any winding road with aplomb. Hit those off-ramps with glee. Yet, it didn’t kick up the RPM needlessly when cruising. 

The rear-wheel drive feels very planted, confident and secure. Even with the low-profile rubber, it soaks up the numerous North Texas road imperfections with aplomb. This is a smooth ride where you could cut a diamond without any mistakes.  

Large front and rear AMG High-Performance Composite Braking stops you in assured fashion. Mileage is quoted at a commendable 21/27. I observed around 23 during very enthusiastic driving. 


For six-figures, AMG SL 43 interior is sufficiently sublime. Top-notch materials, abundant contrast stitching, supple and gorgeous quilted Macchiato/Titan Grey Nappa leather seats surround you in utter magnificence. The sport flat-bottom AMG leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel is terrific. Thoughtful buttons on the wheel allow for easy changes to the driving setup. 

Those fabulously comfortable power front seats heat and ventilate with adjustable lumbar and massaging settings. They’ll quickly heat your neck, as well, via the Airscarf warming vents underneath the headrests. I desperately want one for my office desk. 

Cabin room is surprisingly decent in the 2+2 configuration, although the “back seat” mostly works for carry bags, etc. A handy windscreen diffuser buffers the breeze, yet I found it unnecessary to easily carry on a conversation while barreling down the road. Sightline visibility is excellent with the top down. Storage is okay for knickknacks, yet the rear cargo room at 7.5 cu.ft. is more generous than its direct competition. An optional cargo system lowers the trunk floor and thereby increases space to 8.5 cu.ft. What I liked is the trunk’s capacity isn’t diminished when the top is folded down. 


The updated technology is truly Mercedes-Benz impressive. 64-color LED ambient lighting mirrors your every mood. A programmable 12.3” instrument cluster and 11.9” touchscreen infotainment screen is non-glare for those topless sunny days. 

An optional Head-Up Display is crystal clear; displaying speed limits, traffic signs/alerts and helps warn the driver when a pedestrian or vehicle is on a track to collide with the vehicle. 

Apple CarPlay/Android Auto interfacing are standard. The optional blowtorch 1,200-watt 17-speaker Burmester 3D surround sound system is spectacular ($4,500). It combines analog and digital signals plus virtual noise compensation to deliver the most natural sound spectrum in any musical genre — especially when blasting down the road roof-free. 

Robust safety features include standard forward-collision warning, automated emergency braking, standard adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring.The 2023 Mercedes AMG SL43 Roadster convertible continues to raise the formidable bar in the premium luxury roadster market. One passenger noted it’s a “world-class cruiser brimming with charisma and character.” Excellent reliability and top safety ratings round out an exemplary package for those desiring worthy performance, nimble handling, sexy lines and technology. I strongly suggest you give it a go and soak up the intoxicating engine rumble with the sun shining above.


Golf Bags: Maybe one as a front seat passenger

Curbside Appeal: Pure allure on wheels   

0-60: 4.8 seconds

MPG: 21/27. 

Must Haves: Everything 

Warranty: 4-yrs/50,000 miles
Base Price: $109,100

Price as Tested: $116,565

Who Buys It? Those desiring a gorgeous roadster to cruise or attack the roads 

Finish Line: Decidedly upscale package of performance, luxury and flair 

To test drive the 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 43 Roadster, contact Lance Carter at 972-599-0909 at Mercedes – Benz of Plano