The new Mercedes-AMG SL: The new edition of an icon

Mercedes-AMG-SLMercedes-AMG-SL
6.95KViews

The new Mercedes-AMG 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.

Almost 70 years ago, a sports car launched in Stuttgart immediately became a legend. The vision of expanding the potential of the Mercedes-Benz brand through motor racing successes produced the first SL as a result – a road-going racing sports car. Shortly after its début in 1952, the 300 SL (internal designation W 194) reaped success after success on the race tracks of the world. In its first year, it achieved, among other things, a spectacular one-two victory in the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans and even took the first four places in the Nürburgring Grand Jubilee Prize for sports cars. Its successes quickly make the SL a legend.

The successful racing car was followed in 1954 by the 300 SL production sports car (W 198), which is called the “Gullwing” because of its unusual doors. In 1999, a jury of motoring journalists voted it the “Sports Car of the Century”. Other highlights of the model history include the “Pagoda” (W 113, 1963-1971), the evergreen R 107 (1971-1989), which was built for 18 years, and its successor, the R 129, which is considered an automotive sculpture because of its striking wedge shape. The abbreviation “SL” to this day thus stands for one of the few genuine automotive icons in the world.

In the decades-long development history from full-blooded racing car to open-top luxury sports car, the new Mercedes-AMG SL now sets another milestone. It combines the sportiness of the original SL with the unique luxury and technological excellence that characterise modern Mercedes models.

Soft Top Mercedes AMG-SL
Mercedes-AMG SL 55 4MATIC+ [provisional data WLTP | fuel consumption combined: 12,7-11,8 l/100 km | CO₂-emissions combined: 288-268 g/km]

With its exciting design, state-of-the-art technology and outstanding driving characteristics, the new Mercedes-AMG SL sets standards in the luxury sports car segment. The exterior design fascinates with a perfect triad: It combines the modern Mercedes-Benz design philosophy of sensual purity with the sportiness typical of AMG and characteristic details. The two power bulges on the bonnet are just one of numerous reminiscences of the first SL generation. The interplay of light and shadow makes the overall appearance visually light and low. So it is clear at first glance that the new SL has returned to its sporty roots.

Mercedes-AMG SL Exterior design 

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.

Mercedes-AMG SL Interior design

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.

Mercedes-AMG-SL Interior
Mercedes-AMG SL 55 4MATIC+ [provisional data WLTP | fuel consumption combined: 12,7-11,8 l/100 km | CO₂-emissions combined: 288-268 g/km]

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.

Body shell: 

The 2021 SL is based on a completely new 2+2-seater vehicle architecture developed by Mercedes-AMG. The chassis is designed as a lightweight composite aluminium structure and consists of an aluminium space frame with a self-supporting structure.

The design guarantees maximum rigidity and is thus the perfect basis for precise driving dynamics, high comfort, optimal packaging and sporty body proportions. The new body shell was created – as with the first SL in 1952 – literally on a blank sheet of paper: Not a single component comes from the predecessor SL or any other model such as the AMG GT Roadster.

Active aerodynamics:

A key development focus of the new SL was high aerodynamic efficiency, specifically: a perfect balance between low drag and reduced lift. Here, the luxurious roadster benefits from Mercedes-AMG’s wide-ranging motorsport expertise and from extensive active aerodynamic elements at the front and rear.

All streamlining elements are seamlessly integrated into the exterior design. Further detailed measures reduce the drag coefficient to Cd 0.31 – an excellent figure for open-top sports cars.

The SL’s aerodynamics meet the complex requirements of handling stability, drag, cooling and wind noise. Regardless of whether the top is down or up, the vehicle character and driving characteristics remain unchanged. The even aerobalance helps to defuse critical driving situations, such as a sudden evasive manoeuvre at high speed.

AIRPANEL air control system:

A technical highlight in the aero development: the two-piece, active air control system AIRPANEL. The first piece operates with vertical louvres hidden behind the lower air intake in the front apron. The second piece is located behind the upper air intake and has horizontal louvres. Normally all louvres are closed. This position reduces drag and allows the air to be directed specifically towards the underbody. This further reduces front lift. Only when certain temperatures on predefined components are reached and the demand for cooling air is particularly high do the louvres open (the second system only from 180 km/h) and allow maximum cooling air to flow to the heat exchangers.

The optional active aerodynamic element, which is hidden in the underbody in front of the engine, also contributes to the improved handling. This carbon profile, which weighs around two kilograms, reacts to the setting of the AMG driving modes and automatically extends downwards by around 40 millimetres at a speed of 80 km/h. The AMG driving modes are then activated. This creates the so-called Venturi effect, which sucks the car additionally to the road surface and reduces front-axle lift. The driver feels this positively in the steering: The SL can be steered even more precisely into bends and tracks even more stably.

Mercedes-AMG SL soft top: less weight and low centre of gravity

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.

Engine, transmission and all-wheel drive: great variety and more choice than ever before

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)1 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 CO 2 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.

Suspension and brakes: Multi-link front axle, active anti-roll stabilisation and optimal deceleration

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.

Six driving modes and Mercedes-AMG SL DYNAMICS: from comfortable to dynamic

The six AMG DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes “Slippery”, “Comfort”, “Sport”, “Sport +”, “Individual” and “RACE” (standard for SL 63 4MATIC+, included in the optional AMG DYNAMIC PLUS package for SL 55 4MATIC+) enable a wide spread of vehicle characteristics from comfortable to dynamic. The individual driving modes offer an individual driving experience, precisely tailored to different driving conditions. As a feature of the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes, the SL models also feature AMG DYNAMICS. This integrated vehicle dynamics control extends the stabilising functions of ESP® with agility-enhancing intervention in the all-wheel control, steering characteristics and additional ESP® functions. When cornering at speed, for example, brief braking intervention at the inner rear wheel generates a defined yawing motion around the vertical axis for responsive and precise entry into the bend. The spectrum ranges from extremely stable to highly dynamic.

Numerous connectivity services available

The MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system enables extensive intuitive operating options and many digital services from Mercedes me connect. Its strengths include the intuitive operating concept via touchscreen or touch control buttons on the steering wheel, smartphone integration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, hands-free system via Bluetooth connection, and digital radio (DAB and DAB+). In conjunction with MBUX, customers already have access to connectivity services such as Live Traffic Information. With Mercedes me connect, however, the new SL becomes even more intelligent overall: Additional functions can be used before and after the journey or while on the road. All that is required is to link the roadster to a Mercedes me account in the Mercedes me portal and accept the terms of use. Thanks to navigation with Live Traffic Information and Car-to-X communication, the customer drives with real-time traffic data. This way, traffic jams can be avoided efficiently and valuable time can be saved. Car-to-X communication enables connected vehicles to exchange information about traffic events.