New Mercedes-AMG SL Returns To Its Super Light Origins

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Take a look at its new aluminum space frame.

Mercedes made it official last year; a new SL sports car is in development. The 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL is unique because it's being developed by the AMG division using the same platform as the next-generation AMG GT. An official debut should take place later this year. But before that, Mercedes wanted to show off the car's all-new composite architecture that employs an aluminum space frame with a self-supporting structure. Like the original filigree space frame 1952 SL, this platform is a clean-sheet design; Mercedes took no components from the outgoing SL or AMG GT.

The SL name stands for Super-Leicht (Super Light in English), but the Mercedes convertible has been anything but lightweight in recent years. In AMG SL63 form, the outgoing model tipped the scales at over 4,000 pounds, but this new model promises to return the nameplate to its sports car roots. We think it will look something like this.


Mercedes will keep the next-generation SL as light and rigid as possible using a combination of aluminum, steel, magnesium, and fiber composites. The bodyshell structure's torsional stiffness is increased 18% over the outgoing model, while the transverse rigidity is 50% higher than the AMG GT Roadster, which this model will replace. Without the doors, hood, or trunk, Mercedes says the body shell only weighs 595 pounds.

This new SL presented unique challenges because the specifications require a wider scope than the previous model. The 2+2 sports car will accommodate many drivetrain configurations, including a new 4Matic all-wheel-drive system. A range of inline-six and V8 engines are expected under the hood, including a flagship SL73e model with around 800 horsepower from a V8 hybrid drivetrain. Mercedes promises the SL will deliver on the AMG driving experience no matter the configuration while exceeding high expectations for comfort and safety.


Along with the weight improvements, AMG's engineers improved their already impeccable quality standard when developing the new SL. New joining techniques, including MIG welding, laser welding, punch riveting, blind riveting, MIG soldering, glued seams, and flow hole bolts, ensure that the SL's structure is high-quality. The new SL will roll off the assembly line at the Bremen plant, where the previous model was built.

"The development team in our bodyshell design area was faced with an extremely appealing, but also challenging task: when we were commissioned to undertake the overall development of the new SL, we started from scratch, so to speak, without building on any existing structure. We can be justifiably proud of the result, which proves, once again, the high level of development competence in Affalterbach," says Jochen Hermann, Chief Technical Officer of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

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