Mercedes-AMG reinvents the SL



Mercedes’ iconic SL roadster gets reinvented by AMG performance arm, and goes 2+2 for the first time; expected here late 2022


STUTTGART, GERMANY

Pictures: Mercedes-AMG

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the latest seventh-generation version of its iconic SL roadster, and the car now comes under the arm of the Stuttgart carmaker’s AMG performance division. The new car is therefore officially dubbed the Mercedes-AMG SL, and has been reinvented with a completely new clean sheet design.

For the first time, the SL is now a 2+2, incorporating rear seats at the back. It also reverts to using a folding soft top roof, after two generations of hard tops. The car uses an all-new aluminium platform that will be shared with the upcoming second-generation AMG GT supercar, which is expected in 2023.

There’s no confirmation as yet on the AMG SL’s launch date in Singapore, but the car will go on sale across Europe in early 2022, so our best guess is a second half 2022 arrival here. Pricing should hover around the same range as the AMG GT, which would mean somewhere around S$600k or so with COE.

Design

The new Mercedes-AMG SL ditches the long bonnet proportions of its predecessors for a more balanced and sportier design. The overall look is now more reminiscent of the AMG GT supercar, emphasised by the large AMG grille up front, as well as the short and stubby rear. The slim trapezoidal LED headlights meanwhile are cues borrowed from the CLS.

Aerodynamic enhancements include an active front spoiler, which automatically extends downwards by 40mm at speeds above 80km/h. The rear spoiler meanwhile pops up at the same speed, and deploys at five different angles depending on how fast the car is moving.

The new AMG SL also now gets a soft top fabric roof for the first time since the R129 SL from the 1990s. The triple layer roof weighs some 21kg less than the previous hardtop roof, and folds down or up in just 15 seconds, at speeds of up to 60km/h.

However, boot space has been significantly reduced with the new design, with the AMG SL offering 240 litres of cargo capacity with the roof up, and 213 litres with the roof stowed, down from 504 litres and 368 respectively from the old car.

In return however, the AMG SL offers 2+2 seating capability for the first time ever, with Mercedes-AMG claiming that the rear seats can accommodate passengers up to 1.5 metres tall.

The SL’s dimensions have grown overall from its predecessor, with the new car being some 88mm longer, 38mm wider and 44mm taller than before. Wheelbase has also been increased by 117mm, to 2700mm, to accommodate the new rear seats.

Drivetrains

Two models are available at launch, the SL 55 and SL 63, both of which uses 4.0-litre V8 engines. The SL 55’s powerplant produces 476hp and 700Nm of torque, allowing it to go from 0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds, and hit a top speed of 295km/h.

The SL 63 meanwhile develops 585hp and 800Nm of torque, giving it a 0-100km/h sprint time of 3.6 seconds, and a top speed of 315km/h.

Both versions come with a nine-speed automatic gearbox and Mercedes’ 4Matic four-wheel-drive system as standard. The four-wheel-steering system from the current AMG GT is also standard on the AMG SL. Mercedes-AMG adds that a hybrid model, the SL 63e, is being developed and will be released some time next year.

Five different driving modes are available on the SL, namely Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual, while the SL 63 will also have an additional Race mode. The SL 55 can be specced with the optional AMG Dynamic Plus package, which adds the Race driving mode, as well as an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential that is standard on the SL 63.

The AMG SL sits on an all-new aluminium platform that has been specially developed for this car, and is expected to underpin the next generation AMG GT, due in 2023. The new platform is more rigid than before, and has a lower centre of gravity, allowing for more dynamic performance and drivability.

Despite the aluminium platform, the AMG SL is slightly heavier than its predecessor, thanks to the inclusion of the four-wheel-drive system. The SL 63’s kerb weight of 1,970kg is some 125kg than the equivalent outgoing SL 63 model.

Interior

Mercedes design chief Gordon Wagener states that the AMG SL is the brand’s “most digital sports car ever”, and the interior is suitably futuristic. An 11.9-inch vertical oriented touchscreen takes centre stage on the centre console, and can be adjusted to sit at angles of between 12 to 32 degrees to maximise visibility.

The infotainment runs on the latest version of Mercedes’ MBUX operating system, and the displays are fully digital and highly customisable. The driver instrument panel is a 12.3-inch digital display, and an optional head-up display is also available.

Another option is the AMG Track Pace programme, which records a myriad of driving data, including speed, acceleration, steering angle and brake force, primarily for drivers who take their cars to the track.

The general design theme of the interior is aviation-inspired, with the turbine-style air vents and the slim steering wheel design. As with all Mercedes drop-tops, the Airscarf feature that blows warm air down the front occupants neck in cold weather is also present on the AMG SL.



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about the author

Ben Chia
CarBuyer's senior staff writer went out to explore the Great Big World, including a stint working in China (despite his limited Mandarin). Now he's back, ready to foist upon you his takes on everything good and wonderful about the automotive world. Follow Ben on Instagram @carbuyer.ben