After a long series of teasers, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the new generation SL. The new edition of an icon returns to its roots with a classic soft top and sporty character. At the same time, the luxurious roadster as a 2+2 seater is particularly suitable for everyday use and puts its power down on the road with all-wheel drive for the first time.
High-tech components such as the AMG ACTIVE RIDE CONTROL suspension with active anti-roll stabilisation, rear-axle steering, the optionally available AMG ceramic high-performance composite brake system and the standard-fit DIGITAL LIGHT with projection function sharpen the sporty profile. In combination with the AMG 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine, this results in a driving experience of the highest order. As a consistent Performance Luxury model, Mercedes-AMG in Affalterbach has developed the SL completely independently. Two models with AMG V8 engines will kick off the market launch.
Characteristic features of the body design are the long wheelbase, the short overhangs, the long bonnet, the passenger compartment set back with a strongly raked windscreen and the powerful rear end. This results in the typical SL proportions. Together with the voluminously sculpted wheel arches and the large alloy wheels flush with the outer skin, they give the roadster its powerful, dynamic appearance. When closed, the seamlessly integrated soft top underscores the purist, sporty impression.
The AMG-specific radiator grille emphasises the effect of width of the front and, with its 14 vertical slats, cites the ancestor of all SL models, the legendary 300 SL racing sports car of 1952. Other distinctive design elements include the slim, sharply outlined DIGITAL LIGHT LED headlamps and the equally extremely slim LED rear lamps.
The interior of the new Mercedes-AMG SL transforms the tradition of the first 300 SL Roadster into the modern era. The new edition perfectly combines sporting virtues and luxury. Fine materials and meticulous workmanship underline the standard of the highest level of comfort. The cockpit design, right down to the adjustable central display in the centre console, is focused on the driver. At the same time, the completely new interior space concept with 2+2 seats offers more room and functionality than before. The rear seats increase the daily practicality and offer space for people up to 1.50 metres tall.
The minimalist interior of the 300 SL Roadster, equipped with high-quality materials, inspired the designers in the interior design of the new model: The result is an exciting combination of analogue geometry and digital world – called “hyperanalogue”. This is exemplified by the fully digital instrument cluster, which is integrated into a three-dimensional visor. The standard MBUX infotainment system offers a choice of several specific display styles and different modes.
One of many highlights in the interior of the new SL is the sculptural seat design of the standard, electrically adjustable AMG sports seats. The head restraints are integrated into the backrest and emphasise the sporty character. The AIRSCARF is on board as standard: Warm air flows into the passenger compartment from air outlets in the head restraints and wraps around the head and neck area of the driver and front passenger like a scarf. Perfect ergonomics and various progressive seam and quilting patterns complete the symbiosis of high-tech, performance and luxury. AMG Performance seats are available as an option.
The latest generation MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) is intuitive to operate and capable of learning. It offers numerous functional contents and the operating structure of the second-generation MBUX system, which debuted in the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class. In the SL, AMG-specific content is added extensively in five display styles. Exclusive menu items such as “AMG Performance” or “AMG TRACK PACE” also emphasise the sporty character.
Compared to the previous model series, the torsional rigidity of the body shell structure increased by 18 percent. The transverse rigidity is 50 percent higher than the already outstanding value of the AMG GT Roadster. The longitudinal rigidity is 40 percent higher. The weight of the plain body shell is around 270 kilograms. Together with the low centre of gravity, the targeted lightweight construction ensures outstanding driving dynamics.
The sportier positioning of the new SL also suggested the decision for an electric soft top instead of the previous metal vario roof. The 21-kilogram reduction in weight and the resulting lower centre of gravity have a positive effect on driving dynamics and handling. The space- and weight-saving Z-fold makes it possible to dispense with a conventional soft-top compartment cover. The front roof cap ensures that the open soft top is flush with the surface in its final position. At the same time, the developers were faced with the task of maintaining the high suitability for everyday use and the exemplary noise comfort. The three-layer design consists of a tightly stretched outer shell, precisely crafted roof liner and the acoustic mat made of high-quality 450 g/m² material inserted in between.
Opening and closing takes only about 15 seconds and is possible up to a speed of 60 km/h. The soft top is operated using the switch panel in the centre console or the multimedia touchscreen, on which an animation shows how the process is progressing.
At market launch, the new SL starts with two output levels of the AMG 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine. The engines are assembled purely by hand at the company’s site in Affalterbach according to the “One Man, One Engine” principle. In the top model SL 63 4MATIC+ (combined fuel consumption 12.7-11.8 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 288-268 g/km) the engine develops 430 kW (585 hp) and provides a maximum torque of 800 Nm over a wide rev range from 2500 to 4500 rpm. Accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h takes only 3.6 seconds, the top speed is 315 km/h. In the SL 55 4MATIC+ (combined fuel consumption 12.7-11.8 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 288-268 g/km), the V8 unit develops an output of 350 kW (476 hp) and a peak torque of 700 Nm. The sprint from standstill to 100 km/h takes 3.9 seconds, the top speed is 295 km/h.
For use in the SL, the engine received a new oil pan, repositioned intercoolers and active crankcase ventilation. The intake and exhaust ducts have been optimised for even more effective gas exchange, and the exhaust gas routing for the catalytic converter box and petrol particulate filter has been enlarged. The developers achieved the increased output of the SL 63 4MATIC+ primarily through higher boost pressure and greater air flow, as well as modified engine software. To sum up, the eight-cylinder engine thrills with its exceptional power delivery and powerful acceleration in all engine speed ranges combined with maximum efficiency for low consumption and emission values.
The AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9G transmission combines an emotionally appealing gearshift experience with extremely short shift times and is specially adapted to the requirements of the new SL. A wet start-off clutch replaces the torque converter. It reduces weight and, thanks to its lower inertia, optimises response to accelerator pedal commands, especially during spurts and load changes.
The SL 55 4MATIC+ is equipped as standard with a newly developed AMG RIDE CONTROL steel suspension with particularly capable aluminium shock absorbers and lightweight coil springs. For the first time, a series-production Mercedes-AMG vehicle is fitted with a multi-link front axle with five links arranged entirely within the rim. This significantly improves the kinematics. At the rear axle, a 5-link design likewise controls the wheels.
The innovative AMG ACTIVE RIDE CONTROL suspension with active, hydraulic anti-roll stabilisation makes its début in the SL 63 4MATIC+. Biggest innovation: Active hydraulic elements replace the conventional mechanical anti-roll bars and compensate for rolling movements of the new SL in fractions of a second. The system enables optimal steering and load-change behaviour with AMG-typical driving characteristics in terms of dynamics, precision and feedback for the driver. At the same time, it increases ride comfort when driving in a straight line and over bumps.
For the first time in its long history, the SL is equipped with active rear-axle steering as standard. Depending on the speed, the rear wheels steer either in the opposite direction (up to 100 km/h) or in the same direction (faster than 100 km/h) as the front wheels. The system thus enables both agile and stable handling – characteristics that are in contrast to each other without rear-axle steering. Other advantages include easier vehicle control at the limits and less steering effort because the front-wheel steering ratio is more direct.