There she is, the new SL blossoming in new skin and looking rather gorgeous with it. This 70 year old nameplate with its livid Grandad, the 1955 300 SL, manages to showcase a strikingly beautiful persona. The 300 SL is still gorgeous by classic design standards and we still appreciate its creation in the modern era, which means the new SL has a lot of expectations to meet. The key differences here are it is now a soft top and it has incorporated an unusual design approach. An SL is defined as a luxury sports car and that is evident with the interior. However, the exterior speaks a different language, one may say it leans towards sportiness rather than luxury, therefore suggesting the fascia balance has been broken. But you can still argue that present-day Mercedes Benz designs must follow one specific path to achieve aerodynamic efficiency and match the model line-up.
Did Mercedes have a change of heart to ditch the design language of the SL Roadster? Well, apart from the hardtop they haven’t really shifted far from it. If anything, they made it even sexier than before. Firstly, as you glance at the front, the long bonnet and the intimidating look due to the angular, razor-sharp headlights that house Digital LED headlamps still embodies a premium level look. Between the lights is an AMG grille with vertical struts. After all, this is a Mercedes-AMG model and what is even more evident that it really is, are the sporty side air intakes and a high-gloss black radiator opening.
The side profile shows that it is a long-wheelbase just like the previous generations but the wheel arches have been “voluminously sculpted”, that’s what they said. The wheels start at 19-inches in size and they are AMG multi-spoke alloys and optional wheels range from 20 to 21 inches with different designs and some aero purpose designs to pick from.
The soft top can fold down in just 15 seconds at speeds of up to 50 km/h. It is lighter which means the car’s centre of gravity is lower and the way the roof is shaped gives the car a coupe-like look when it slopes beautifully towards the rear windshield and boot lid. At the rear you’ll find slim LED taillights, trapezoidal quad exhaust tailpipes and an active retractable rear spoiler.
The chassis is a lightweight aluminium structure designed to increase the torsional rigidity by 18% and the whole structure is optimized to provide a sporty driving experience. Overall, the design gives a dynamic appearance and yet maintains a “I am rich” image.
There is only one engine for the two models that have been announced, a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission with launch control and as standard both models get 4Matic+ all wheel drive with variable torque distribution to the front and rear wheels.
The entry-level SL 55 boasts 469 hp (350 kW) and 700 Nm of torque delivering a 0-100 km/h sprint time of just 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 295 km/h. The SL 63 pushes 577 hp (430 kW) and 800 Nm of torque which propels it from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.6 seconds and manages a top speed of 315 km/h. They have announced that a plug-in hybrid will follow later on, probably wearing the 63e badge.
The SL comes as standard with AMG Ride Control steel suspension, aluminium shock absorbers and lightweight coil springs. Installed for the first time in an AMG model is a multi-link front and rear axle. The active hydraulic anti-roll stabilisation guarantees precise handling and ride comfort, and rear-wheel steering is there to reduce the turning circle and improve cornering at high speeds.
Being part of the ‘S’ monarch, it’s bound to have the best interior look and tech by Mercedes Benz and that should come directly from the S-Class. The 12.3-inch instrument panel with augmented reality is included and the 11.9-inch portrait-style infotainment touchscreen which can tilt forward, plus there is a heads-up display. The 2+2 seating allows the driver to have passengers at the rear but only if they are 1.5 meters tall or less. As standard, there are electronically adjustable AMG sports seats with vents built into them for heating and cooling or optional AMG Performance seats for a bit more sportiness. The whole interior can be covered with extensive carbon fibre as seen on the centre console and the steering wheel plus there is alcantara and leather on some parts of the interior.
Prices and arrival for the South African market have not been announced yet.
Source: Mercedes-AMG SL Roadster