Mercedes needs to do something to make the SL relevant again.
The Mercedes-Benz SL was once the brand's ultimate flagship model. However, it seems that recently the SL has been overlooked by models like the AMG GT and S-Class Coupe/Cabriolet. The AMG GT is a far better sports car than the SL and the S-Class is more luxurious. Clearly Mercedes agrees and will look to make big changes with the next generation SL. Automobile Magazine spoke to one of the engineers from AMG that will be working on the new SL and we now have some important details about this new model.
We knew that AMG would likely have a lot of influence on the new SL, but we have now learned that product planners are debating whether or not the SL should exclusively be an AMG product like the GT line. The AMG GT is a hardcore two-seat sports car, which means that the new SL may be focused on being a softer car. The next SL will reportedly lose its heavy retractable hard-top roof and gain a couple of rear seats. This would help differentiate it from the AMG GT, but may put it close to the S-Class Coupe/Cabriolet. The report also points towards an aluminum-intensive front-mid-engine layout with available air-suspension, rear-wheel steering and 4MATIC all-wheel drive.
An engineer on the project said that the new SL should go on sale in 2021 with four engine options. The SL43 would borrow the 3.0-liter inline-six with 435 hp from new AMG 53 models. Like the CLS 53 AMG, this engine will be combined with a 48V mild hybrid system. Strangely, the SL53 would be different from the other 53 models and use a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with 522 hp combined with a 48V mild hybrid system. The SL63 would also use a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with a mild hybrid system, but with 612 hp. Finally, the SL73 would use a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 with 612 hp, combined with an e-motor rated at 204 hp. Total output would be more than 800 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque.
Sources close to the project say that the 73 AMG trim will also make its way to AMG GT/4, the future S-Class, and the GLS SUV. AMG is also working on the next generation of the AMG GT that is due in 2022. It will be interesting to see how the SL and the AMG GT will fit into the future Mercedes lineup.