The next-generation Mercedes-Benz SL grand tourer has been spotted testing in production form for the first time ahead of its official unveiling later this year.
The images look to be taken at a top-secret development facility. While under wraps, the prototype can be seen to sport a long, sloping bonnet, prominent rear haunches and an angular front grille design. The rounded rear end is similar to that of the Mercedes-AMG GT sports car, which will share a platform with the SL in its next iteration.
Autocar has previously reported that the SL will receive a traditional fabric hood in place of the folding hard-top arrangement that has been used for the past two incarnations.
Last year, novel-looking Mercedes prototypes, believed to be chassis mules for the new SL, were spotted after AMG boss Tobias Moers told Autocar that SL prototypes were entering their testing phase. The latest images show the model is now approaching its production-ready state.
Moers also confirmed that the SL, which will go on sale by 2021, will be “aligned” with the next AMG GT. The duo's shared aluminium-intensive platform, known as the Modular Sports Architecture (MSA), will increase the economies of scale and overall profitability of two of Mercedes’ most exclusive model lines.
Autocar first scooped the new SL in 2018, but only recently has Moers gone on the record to confirm AMG's development of the new model.
“We’re bringing back the historic DNA of the SL," he said. "It's far sportier [this time round]. It will have a perfect compromise between driving dynamics and comfort, because it’s still kind of a cruiser, too.”
This is the first time AMG has overseen development of any SL across its previous seven generations. Moers said: “Handing over SL to AMG as the performance and sports car brand is great. There’s lots of responsibility behind that, and I’m really honoured.”