The 8th-generation SL-Class is taking a big leap forward.
Mercedes-Benz is hard at work developing all sorts of new cars, including its EQ range of electric vehicles, and in total, there are seven new models planned to go on sale in the near future, one of which is the new Mercedes-Benz SL-Class. As early as January 2020, we saw the new SL for the first time in a batch of spy pics, but the car was under such heavy camouflage that it was difficult to get a proper idea of the overall look and design of the car. Mercedes-Benz has been subsequently drip-feeding us more shots and information, and now, 69 years to the day since the original Mercedes-Benz 300 SL was first announced, the eighth-generation SL has been depicted on its final winter development drive, with two big pieces of information. The new SL will be both AWD and have 2+2 seating.
Now in its eighth generation, the SL (which stands for Super Light) is on the last stretch of its testing period on the snowy roads of Sweden. These days most testing takes place in digital form, but Mercedes-Benz believes that some good old-fashioned analog development is still important. This phase is particularly important for the new sports car's available all-wheel-drive system; that's right, Mercedes is giving the famed SL moniker its 4Matic+ AWD for the first time ever. This system is a rear-biased AWD system found in other models like the AMG GT 4-Door, and is ideal for handling inclement conditions.
After previously announcing that the SL-Class would be developed alongside the new AMG GT by the Mercedes-AMG division, the German automaker has confirmed that after this final stage of cold-weather testing, the SL test mules will head to the Nurgrurgring to hone their performance, getting ever-closer to its sports car origins.
Other aspects of the car being finalized in the snow include the fabric roof, which has proven itself capable in the cold weather. But it's what's under the soft-top that is most intriguing. Mercedes-AMG has now confirmed that the new SL-Class will be a 2+2-seater. This is massive news, as it's the first time since the 1981 C107/SLC-generation that an SL has featured more than 2 seats, which will make it more practical than ever and make it a genuine GT car to compete with the likes of the Ferrari Portofino.
Full drivetrain specifications have not yet been confirmed, but we expect a range of turbocharged inline-six and V8 engines, all with EQ-Boost mild-hybrid assistance. These are slated to produce 435 horsepower plus, while a rumored SL73e will produce circa 800hp thanks to hybrid assistance. The 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL-Class will be unveiled before year end.