The aging, slow-selling current-generation Mercedes-Benz SL is not long for this world. Waiting in the wings is a new take on the venerable formula—after all, the SL is Mercedes’ longest-running nameplate with a wealth of history. And serious performance roots, as well—something that hasn’t been at the forefront of the SL conversation for a long time. Let’s take a closer look at what plans Mercedes—and specifically, and notably, Mercedes-AMG—has for the model.
2022 Mercedes-AMG SL: Engines From Mild to Wild Hybrid
Globally, the new SL will have a host of engines that should roughly mirror the related AMG GT family of vehicles (more on that in a second). That means AMG power levels of “43” all the way up to “73e.” As you’re probably aware, those two-digit powertrain indicators are no longer directly related to engine displacement, but rather indicate a certain performance level. The SL 43 will likely feature a high-output turbocharged inline-four, the SL 53 a turbocharged I-6 with a “mild-hybrid” system, and the 73e will top the range with a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain that features AMG’s powerful and ubiquitous twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8. An SL 63 and an SL 55 will fill out the range, although we’re not completely clear on what engines those will feature. All-wheel drive with Drift Mode (4Matic+ in Mercedes-speak) should be available on everything north of the SL 43.
Translation: the AMG SL will be awfully quick. We’re pegging the SL 73e to produce more than 800 horses at its peak. Figure on a dual-clutch transaxle, likely the same seven-cog unit offered in the current AMG GT.
2022 Mercedes-AMG SL: Part of the GT Family
While the current SL is offered as both a Mercedes-Benz (SL 450, SL 550) and (until recently) a Mercedes-AMG (SL 63), the new SL will almost certainly only be sold as an AMG model. That’s because AMG has taken the lead in the development of the new sports car, which will ride on the next-generation version of the AMG GT chassis.
That’s probably good for vehicle dynamics, given the division’s unrelenting focus on sportiness. But it’ll mean that the SL will be more of a 2+2 convertible than a roadster. Even though previous models could be had with vestigial rear seats, the last couple of generations have been pure two-seaters. At least there’s precedent for a 2+2 SL, however useless the rear seats may have been. That said, we expect the 2022’s rear seats to be at least minimally functional. Why? We think it’s intended to take the role in the model range left by the departure of the four-passenger S-Class convertible.
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Vorserienfahrzeuge des neuen SL Roadster starten zu ausführlichen Straßentests
2022 Mercedes-AMG SL: Coming Soon?
It sure looks like development is advancing rapidly. Affalterbach released these images of the new SL testing on public roads. If past tailpipe shape is any clue, we’re looking at both an SL 53 and an SL 63 variant. It seems the SL will adopt a canvass roof, and the overall shape and stance of the new car is seriously evocative of the AMG GT two-doors—no surprise there. There’s clearly a lither, sportier demeanor than the blunt, brawny R231-generation SL that’s on sale now. We expect the new SL to be on sale by the second half of next year. More