The seventh generation of Mercedes’ SL roadster brings back the fabric roof and 2+2 layout of earlier incarnations and receives both four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering as standard.
Set to go on sale in the UK early next year, the R232-generation SL has been developed by the AMG performance car division and is expected to share its drivetrains, chassis, electrical architecture and other key components with the second-generation AMG GT, due in 2023.
An all-new aluminium platform, consisting of a spaceframe and self-supporting body structure, provides a significantly more rigid basis than that of the previous SL, which used Mercedes-Benz’s MRA (Modular Rear Architecture) platform. Transverse rigidity is claimed to be 50% higher than with the platform used by today’s GT Roadster and longitudinal rigidity is said to be 40% higher.
"We were able to start from scratch without building on an existing structure,” said Jochen Hermann, AMG’s chief technical officer, who revealed that the new SL’s bodyshell weighs just 270kg.
A further advantage of the new platform, according to AMG, is being able to mount the engine and axles lower than before. This has led to an overall lowering of the centre of gravity for improved dynamic performance.
Arriving 67 years after the original SL was first introduced to the Mercedes-Benz line-up, the new model adopts a totally new look, with more overt cab-backwards proportions than its predecessor.
Similarities with the smaller GT Roadster are evident in the overall silhouette, although Mercedes’ design team has sought to give the new SL its own individual appearance through the use of unique detailing, including a heavily structured front bumper, AMG’s signature Panamericana grille with louvres that open and close depending on cooling requirements and angular, CLS-style adaptive LED headlights in an aggressive-looking front end far removed from that of the outgoing sixth-generation model.