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New Mercedes-AMG SL flexes its muscles. Image by Mercedes-Benz.

New Mercedes-AMG SL flexes its muscles
Mercedes has revealed the next generation of the SL and it seems less touring roadster and more sports car hunter.
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What's all this about?

This is the new Mercedes-Benz SL, the latest generation of a model that has given us some of the greatest and most beautiful cars of all time. First introduced in 1952, you only have to think of the stunning 300 SL Gullwing and Roadster, the 1980s favourite of the R107 generation or the roar of the mighty SL63 AMG in the latest R231 line-up. They are the epitome of luxury roadster tourers, capable of travelling great distances or just looking good parked at the entrance to your Southfork ranch.

Now there's a new one and it's the first SL to have been developed by Mercedes-AMG, which might explain the obvious design inspiration from the AMG GT Roadster, even down to the fact that the new SL returns to a folding fabric roof that saves 21kg in weight. Merc is quick to point out though that the body-shell is totally new, stressing that "not a single component comes from the predecessor SL or any other model such as the AMG GT Roadster." Okay, keep your roof on, no need to get shouty about it. The torsional rigidity of the body-shell is said to have increased by 18 per cent over the previous generation and Merc says that transverse rigidity is 50 per cent higher than on the AMG GT. Oh now they want to compare it to the AMG GT.

Clearly there is a resemblance to the AMG GT and if you look closely you'll also spot the 14 vertical slats in the grille that are reminiscent of those in the 300 SL race car of 1952. If we're looking closely then we could swear the rear quarter in side profile looks like a Porsche 911 convertible.

We're only going by the pictures you see here, but the new SL does not appear as svelte as previous generations, nor as grand tourer in its design. Instead it seems to have a more athletic, more sports car-like look about it, much like the AMG GT really then.

What's the interior like?

For the first time in its history, the SL is a standard 2+2, with space in the back seats for people up to about 1.5m tall. It's the space up front that will be important though, with that big portrait-oriented MBUX infotainment screen from the S-Class rising up from the wide centre console. The interior features an abundance of dials, buttons and lines as well as more ambient lighting than you'll find in a modern kitchen showroom but it all looks spacious and comfortable.

The turbine vents seem more prominent, there's a fully digital instrument display screen and the steering wheel gets two driving settings dials either side of the lower spoke. That's in addition to the usual plethora of buttons on the wheel for things like audio settings, cruise control and so on.

Then there are the new AMG sports seats, which have been specially sculpted for the SL and feature the latest Airscarf technology to keep the necks of those sat up front nice and warm when the top's down on a sunny winter's day.

Any cool engineering?

There's lots of active aero in the new SL, from the Airpanel active air control louvres in the front apron to the retractable rear spoiler that can adjust to one of five different positions. Between these is an optional component, a carbon profile weighing around 2kg that reacts to driving modes and can extend downwards to create a venturi effect at speeds up to 50mph. This then pulls the car closer to the road and we're assured, reduces the front end lift.

The new generation is the first SL to be fitted with both all-wheel drive and rear-axle steering as standard. The SL55 gets a new AMG Ride Control system with steel suspension, while the SL63 gets an active hydraulic system to cope better with sudden load changes during enthusiastic driving.

What models will there be and when are they coming?

Initially there will be two models, the SL55 and the SL63. Both use AMG's 4.0-litre V8 biturbo petrol engine with the SL55 offering 476hp and 700Nm with a 0-62mph time of 3.9 seconds, while the 63 gets 585hp and 800Nm and hits sixty-two in 3.6 seconds. Both use the AMG Speedshift MCT 9G gearbox.

If you're thinking there's a glaring absence of electrification here, then you're right, but Merc says that a performance hybrid is currently in development and will come along later as part of its transition to electric strategy.

Mercedes-Benz UK can't confirm pricing or exact introduction dates as yet, but we expect the new SL to go on sale in Spring 2022.



Mark Smyth - 28 Oct 2021


2021 Mercedes-AMG SL. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2021 Mercedes-AMG SL. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2021 Mercedes-AMG SL. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2021 Mercedes-AMG SL. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2021 Mercedes-AMG SL. Image by Mercedes-Benz.

2021 Mercedes-AMG SL. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2021 Mercedes-AMG SL. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2021 Mercedes-AMG SL. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2021 Mercedes-AMG SL. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2021 Mercedes-AMG SL. Image by Mercedes-Benz.









www.mercedes-benz.co.uk    - Mercedes-Benz road tests
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