Perhaps it will return to being a true Sport Lightweight.
Take a moment to think about the most exciting products to come out recently from Mercedes and its AMG division. The AMG GT and its four-door sibling may be on the top of the list, along with AMG models like the C63, E63, and even G63. We'd hazard a guess that the SL wasn't among them.
We've been saying for a while now that the SL has become an overlooked model in the Mercedes lineup and the sales figures don't lie. Despite slow sales, however, Mercedes will make some major changes to the next generation SL and Autocar has the juicy details.
SL stands for Sportlich Leicht, which translates to Sport Lightweight, something the SL hasn't actually been for quite some time now. The current car weighs over 4,000 pounds in some configurations, but Autocar reports that the next generation model will be much lighter.
Mercedes is currently developing a new aluminum platform called the modular sports architecture (MSA). This new platform will also underpin the AMG GT successor to help increased Mercedes' economies of scale and profitability on these niche models. Along with the aluminum weight savings, the SL will also drop its heavy folding metal roof in favor of a fabric top.
It will be interesting to see exactly where the new SL slots in the Mercedes lineup. Mercedes needs to tread a fine line between the hardcore AMG GT and the comfortable S-Class convertible. Early prototypes have been seen testing using a shortened version of the S-Class Coupe's body and the car is rumored to be larger than the current model.
Mercedes will likely revert the SL back to a 2+2 seating layout, in order to differentiate it from the AMG GT and give it the same level of practicality as the Porsche 911 (with rear seats that will mainly be used as extra storage). Little is know about the mechanical setup, though rumors suggest it could have a transaxle layout with a dual-clutch transmission.
Various levels of output are expected, ranging from an inline-six SL43 model up to a hybridized V8 SL73 AMG model with more than 800 horsepower. It's unclear whether Mercedes will continue to offer a V12 version in the next generation. Most SL's will likely be mated to the Mercedes nine-speed automatic, but AMG models could use a dual-clutch for faster shift times.
Expect the next generation SL to be more driver-focused than the S63 AMG but more luxurious than the hardcore AMG GT. Only time will tell if Mercedes can successfully reinvigorate the SL, but based on the rumors we'd say there is a good chance for success.