The all-new Mercedes-AMG SL Roadster goes back to its high-performance roots
When most new car announcements these days seem to be SUVs, trucks, or minivans, it is refreshing to see a new sports car, a completely new sports car at that. While the all-new Mercedes Benz has a lineage that can be traced back to the early 1950s with the legendary 300SLR, the new SL is going back to its high-performance roots.
Going back to its high-performance roots
The new SL has some exciting new high-performance upgrades over previous generations of the SL such as all-wheel-drive and a choice of V8 engines, it also draws upon its past for inspiration, reintroducing 2+2 seating after a 30-year hiatus.
The seventh-generation SL is built on a brand-new platform that will be shared with the next AMG GT. Built for performance, strength, and weight savings, the SL’s platform relies on a mix of composites, steel, aluminum, and magnesium to achieve its goals.
With a wheelbase 4.5 inches longer, and 2.9 inches longer, overall, the all-new SL is bigger than previous generations, and the original AMG GT Roadster. The vehicle that it replaces, leaving it the only 2-seat convertible V8 in the Mercedes Benz line-up.
The new SL, the Mercedes-AMG SL
AMG started life as an independent tuner of Mercedes Benz cars, modifying them into very fast, exotic machinery designed to eat up miles of autobahn. In 1999, Mercedes Benz started buying into AMG, integrating the business into the parent company’s operations over the next several years.
Recently, they have started designing and building their own cars separate from the parent company Mercedes-AMG. Cars designed and built exclusively under the Mercedes-AMG banner include the AMG SLS, AMG GT, AMG GT Coupe, the upcoming AMG One, and the all-new Mercedes Benz SL. As a result of this collaboration, the new SL is officially called the “AMG SL” and features the AMG-exclusive Panamericana toothy grille, indicating that the famous two-seater has joined the AMG family.
For the time being, every version of the AMG SL has an engine that is deserving of the moniker. Additional powertrain options, such as a PHEV and possibly a mild-hybrid V6, will be added in time. For now, the choice is limited to a pair of twin-turbocharged M177 4.0-liter V8s found in other Mercedes-AMG Models.
Choose between two V8 engines or wait for the PHEV.
The two V8-powered AMG SLs include the SL 55 producing 470 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, and the SL 63 producing 577 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. The difference between the two engines is attributed to increased turbo boost, enhanced airflow, and a software update. The base car, the SL 55 can reach 62 mph in 3.9 seconds accelerating through to 183 miles per hour, while the SL 63 can do it in 3.6 seconds while topping out at 196 miles per hour.
The AMG SL Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle or PHEV should be able to power the new roadster to go much faster if it borrows the hardware found in the new 831-hp AMG GT 63 4-door.
Regardless of which of the two V8 engines you opt for, power is routed through Mercedes-nine-speed AMG’s automatic transmission, which replaces the torque converter with a wet clutch pack, allowing the SL to rev faster and respond quicker to a stab on the foot pedal. The power is then routed to all four wheels for the first time in an SL, earning both models the 4Matic+ moniker.
The suspension of the Mercedes-AMG SL
Both the SL 55 and the SL 63 come standard with modern five-link front suspension, carbon-ceramic brakes, and rear-wheel steering, with the back wheels spinning the opposite way to the fronts at low speeds and the same way at higher speeds. The SL 63, on the other hand, boasts air suspension and active roll control, but the SL 55, which can be distinguished by its red rather than yellow brake calipers, relies on traditional steel coils.
A Fabric Roof with More Space and a Lighter Weight
Other notable changes include the addition of two small rear seats that will accommodate people up to 4 ft, 11 in, thereby limiting them to children, very small adults, or large dogs.
The new AMG SL does away with the retractable hardtop, going instead with a triple-layer cloth convertible top. Getting rid of the retractable roof reduces the center of gravity, resulting in a weight savings of 46 lbs, in addition to a larger trunk capacity when folded. Even with the tops down, Mercedes claims that two golf bags can fit in the trunk. In previous generations of the SL, you wouldn’t be able to fit more than a golf club, which is an improvement. The new cloth convertible top can open and close in 15 seconds, a 5-second improvement over the previous SL, and it can travel at speeds of up to 37 mph while activating.
Big wheels, to fill big fenders
The V8 SL 55 will have 19-inch diameter wheels but can be upgraded to the 20, and 21-inch diameter wheels of the SL 63. It’s the twenty-ones you see in the photos, and they do an excellent job of filling the SL’s bloated fenders.
In terms of design, the 2022 SL looks more like the outgoing AMG GT Roadster than the outmoded, bland SL it replaces. The plus-two seating gives it a less cab-backward look than the Roadster, and the triangle LED headlights to give it a more aggressive design, but anyone wishing to trade in a Roadster will feel right at home here.
Ready for track day
Owners of the AMG GT 4 Door may recognize echoes of their car in the rear end style, which has an automatically changing five-position spoiler to keep the tail fastened to the ground. If you want to make the nose even stickier, you can add an Aerodynamics Package, which includes visible bumper winglets, just like on a race car, and an electronically adjustable carbon spoiler below the nose that extends by 1.6 inches at higher speeds, creating a venturi effect and reducing front-axle lift by 110 lbs at 155 mph.
It comes with a lot of technology, but not too much
Compare and contrast that practically imperceptible technology with the highly obvious electronics found inside the cabin. The SL’s interior does not feature Mercedes’ full triple-display Hyperscreen dashboard, as seen in the EQS sedan, instead opting for a more traditional athletic style. It also decided not to provide the SL the entire suite of automated technologies seen on the 2021 S-class, but it does come with the standard steering assistance and automatic braking systems you’d expect from a Mercedes.
What do you think, is this going to be a new addition to your dream car garage?