Next-Generation Mercedes SL Spied With Snazzy New Roof

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This will replace the current car's heavier retractable hardtop roof.

With AMG handling development duties, the next-generation Mercedes SL has the potential to be something special. Mercedes has promised the new SL will return to its sporty roots to help it stand out against the AMG GT, which has overshadowed the current car.

After Mercedes announced the new SL is in development, numerous prototypes have been spied undergoing testing. Since then, the prototype has dropped even more camo, revealing the car's soft fabric roof that will replace the current car's retractable hardtop. Adding a soft-top roof will reduce the car's weight and improve the cargo space.

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There is also less camouflage under the foil on the body, giving us a better look at the new Mercedes SL's sleek body. Also notice the pop-out door handles that are now visible for the first time.

Riding on the MSA platform, the new Mercedes SL will be developed alongside the AMG GT and will be "far sportier" according to AMG boss Tobias Moers. While the new SL will only be available as a roadster, it will have small but usable rear seats so it can replace the discontinued S-Class Coupe and Convertible.

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Our spies didn't manage to get a look inside, but our last prototype sighting gave us a peek inside the cabin, revealing a large central touchscreen similar to the one in the new S-Class and a digital instrument cluster integrated into the dashboard.

As for engine options, the new SL is expected to be offered with a 435-hp inline-six engine and a twin-turbo V8 with 612 hp in the SL63. Topping the range will be a new SL73 rumored to pack a plug-in hybrid powertrain with a twin-turbo V8 and a 204-hp electric motor producing a combined 800 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque. The new Mercedes SL is expected to debut next year and go on sale in late 2021 or early 2022.

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