Administrator 2009 SLK 55 AMG/Founding Member 2006
Mercedes apparently wants to put the "Sport" back in the Sport Lightweight.
BY CHRIS PERKINS
SEP 12, 2016
Along with the S-Class sedan, the two-seat SL roadster has long been a Mercedes-Benz flagship, but recently, it's lost its way somewhat. The S-Class Cabriolet is now Mercedes' most luxurious drop-top, and the upcoming AMG GT roadster will be the most sporty, leaving the SL in an odd position. Now, Mercedes is leaning on AMG to help regain the SL's swagger.
UK publication Autocar reported last week that AMG has taken the lead on developing the next-generation SL, which is set to debut as soon as 2018. Turning the SL's engineering over to AMG seems to an attempt to make the SL more of a sports car, like the original 300SL from the mid-1950s.
Interestingly, Mercedes is said to ditch the SL's folding metal roof, which was first introduced on the R230-generation car in 2001, in favor of a soft top. This switch would reduce the SL's weight significantly, without much of a sacrifice to comfort with the top up. The next-generation SL will also ride on a scalable platform that will underpin the SLC roadster in the future.
The reported engine options for the next SL are what you'd expect from Mercedes. The 3.0-liter V6 in the SL450 will be replaced by Mercedes' upcoming straight-six; both the SL550 and SL63 will use 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8s, with the latter possibly making 600 horsepower; the V12 in the SL65 will remain in production as well.
While AMG has developed both the SLS and the GT in-house, this will be the first time a regular Mercedes-Benz will be developed fully in Affalterbach. This seems like an unusual move, but Mercedes is smart to lean on AMG's engineering expertise for its future cars.
AMG has a difficult task in differentiating the next-gen SL with the S-Class Cabriolet and the upcoming drop-top AMG GT. It has to offer the best of both cars in one cohesive package, while asserting its desirability.