Welcome to the age of retro-inspired looks and futuristic technology.
Concerns have circulated as to whether or not the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is dead, but for fans of the marque, confirmation that it will live on and share a platform with the Mercedes-AMG GT sports car are incredibly promising. In fact, we're likely to see the new seventh-generation SL in early 2021, and according to an Autocar interview with Daimler's chief design officer, Gorden Wagener, the SL will be returning to its roots.
In the last two decades, the model has become a grand tourer more than a sports car, which goes against the original ethos of the marque, and even against its name, as SL stood for 'Sport Leicht', indicating its position as a lightweight sports car.
Heavy involvement in the development from AMG will mean the SL is no longer a lardy GT-style roadster and should have more of the right stuff to allow it to compete with high-performance machines like the Aston Martin DB11 Volante. This is news we like to hear as the SL has always been a famed sports car, with the original SL300 Gullwing inspiring the SLS AMG supercar. There's a chance we could see influence from the great predecessor, though, and while Wagener is "not a fan of retro designs", there may be stylistic influence drawn from the classic.
Wagener claims the new SL "is probably the closest to the first one ever" in terms of its design. "For me, the most beautiful SL is the original, the 300," he said, going on to state that they've taken the same DNA, proportions, and surface treatment and imbued the new model with these attributes.
From previous spy shots of a heavily disguised SL, we can see that the traditional cab-back design and long hood will continue to feature, but unlike the current SL, the new model will use a folding soft-top roof, lowering the center of gravity and reducing weight overall. With the AMG GT moving towards the role of a hardcore sports/supercar, the SL will become sportier than ever, but we can still expect a broad range of engines to feature, including a version of the 3.0-liter straight-six engine with EQ Boost hybrid technology, the brand's 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine, and a hybrid version dubbed the SL73.