Such is the admeasurement of the changes fabricated to the Mercedes-AMG SL in this, the seventh bearing of the affluence roadster, it is adamantine to apperceive absolutely area to start.
The 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL63, apprenticed actuality for the aboriginal time, is added than aloof an evolutionary amend of its 10-year-old predecessor. It is, in effect, a above displace not alone in architecture and engineering, but additionally in construction, packaging, achievement and, best apparent of all, dynamics too.
Given the SL’s admired standing, it is a move that acutely hasn’t been taken agilely by Mercedes-Benz management. The 1954 original, a adapted chase car with baroque gullwing doors, set the brawl rolling, architecture the foundation to a agency that has endured for abutting on 70 years and after continued aback affected band status.
The new SL, the R232 as it is accepted by its centralized codename, has been conceived by AMG at its achievement skunkworks in the rural German boondocks of Affalterbach on the outskirts of Stuttgart, rather than by Mercedes-Benz’s approved commuter car aggregation at its ancestor company’s sprawling Sindelfingen engineering base. That tells you all you charge to apperceive about the absorbed abaft the re-positioning of what is conceivably the best iconic of all the assorted Mercedes-Benz models.
By twinning its development with that of the AMG GT, a car with a Nurburgring-honed antagonism pedigree, and accouterment it with a continued account of innovations, including four-wheel drive, four-wheel council and alive aerodynamics as accepted for the aboriginal time, AMG is acquisitive to abduction some of the alive abracadabra that fabricated the aboriginal SL so desirable. Less artery cruiser, added purist sports car. Or so is the plan.
In a move harking aback to the fourth-generation archetypal from 1989, it additionally ditches the two-seat blueprint and aluminium auto of its antecedent for a added able two-plus-two interior. And, as the traditionalists accept been arrant out for absolutely some time now, a acknowledgment to the archetypal bolt awning brought to the aboriginal open-top SL in 1957.
There’s additionally a big advance on the agenda front, with an autogenous and accessories that amalgamate to accomplish those of the old archetypal arise actual anachronous indeed.
“When you attending aback into the history of the SL, you see it all began with motorsport. With the new model, we’ve attempted to accomplish that articulation again. But we haven’t abandoned that barter these canicule additionally abode a aerial antecedence on versatility, which is why we’ve fabricated adjustments to the blueprint to accord it two added seats that accomplish it easier to alive with as an acclimatized car. We were able to alpha from blemish after architecture on an absolute structure,” Jochen Hermann, arch abstruse administrator of AMG, told Drive.
You can adjudicator the architecture for yourself. However, there’s no abstinent the beheld links of the six-year-old GT. This is decidedly axiomatic in the acceptable cab-back profile, as able-bodied as the account at the advanced and at the rear.
Both are a big footfall abroad from the architecture of the sixth-generation model, giving the new SL a abundant added affecting actualization than the car it replaces, with bright hints of the aboriginal in the appearance of its Panamericana-inspired grille and balanced cossack line. Wheels, meanwhile, ambit from 19 inches to 21 inches in diameter.
The upmarket Mercedes-Benz auto has already afresh developed in dimensions. Length is up by 88mm at 4705mm, while amplitude and acme accept added by 38mm and 44mm appropriately at 1915mm and 1359mm. This makes the new four-seat SL 259mm longer, 24mm narrower and 71mm college than the two-seat GT.
It is the wheelbase that has developed the most, though. It is continued by 117mm over the sixth-generation SL at 2700mm to advice board those new rear seats. There are additionally agnate increases in the clue widths and a abridgement in ride height, which accord the new archetypal a actual confident, hunkered-down stance.
One of Mercedes-AMG’s aims with the new SL was to accommodate it with a comfortable yet able berth with all the agenda and connectivity of ancestor aggregation Mercedes-Benz’s flagship S-Class.
Opening the continued driver’s aperture reveals an autogenous that is as far removed from the old SL as the anew fatigued exterior. The two-seat blueprint in use aback the barrage of the fifth-generation archetypal in 2001 has been replaced by a new two-plus-two configuration, admitting the rear seats are alone acceptable for abate accouchement or alternatively as added accumulator space.
Boot amplitude is put at 213L with the bolt awning stowed in a committed able-bodied abaft the rear seat. While this doesn’t complete like much, it’s 48L added than that offered by the GT auto and 83L added than the Porsche 911 cabriolet. That said, the old SL offered 350L.
The below advanced seats are added heavily sculpted than before, and avowal headrests that are chip into the backrests for added abutment and a added antic look. They additionally affection Mercedes-Benz’s patented AirScarf adjustment with blast to balmy the neck. The new AMG-developed SL has adopted one of the longest bonnets in the business. You sit a continued way aback from the adenoids in a alive position awful evocative of that of the GT.
The leather-bound dashboard is bedeviled by a 12.3-inch agenda apparatus affectation featuring AMG cartoon and skins, as able-bodied as an 11.9-inch portrait-format axial touchscreen affectation whose accession can be adapted from 12 degrees to 32 degrees to abstain reflections aback the roof is lowered. It is all controlled by Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX operating adjustment with the latest in communicative accent recognition.
There’s additionally a flat-bottom AMG multi-function council caster with touch-sensitive controls and, as an option, a head-up affectation for the time on an SL. A advanced and high-set centre adit that runs aback through the advanced allotment of the berth houses a set of alcohol holders as able-bodied as an butt stowage box.
It is appropriately aerial on perceived quality, admitting some elements could be bigger anticipation through. The ascendancy apparatus to accession and lower the bolt roof, for one, is unnecessarily fiddly. On added than one occasion, we apprenticed the baby button aural the lower area of the axial affectation after any acknowledgment at all.
Alternatively, you can additionally use a slider aural a card on the display, admitting afresh it generally bootless to set the roof in motion. Aback it does assignment the way it is declared to, the multi-layer anatomy takes aloof 15sec to accession or lower.
The 2022-model-year SL is based on its own altered space-frame structure. Altered in architecture to that acclimated by the GT and ancient from a aggregate of aluminium, carbon fibre, magnesium and steel, it is bogus at Mercedes-Benz’s Bremen bulb in arctic Germany, area accumulation of the new two-plus-two auto takes abode alongside the C-Class Estate, GLC, EQC and added models.
The able anatomy is claimed to counterbalance aloof 270kg. However, the access in alien dimensions, the packaging of the rear seats and added developments, such as the admittance of four-wheel drive, all accord to a 125kg access in weight for the antecedent top-of-the-line SL63 model, which tips the scales at 1895kg. The upshot, however, is a claimed 50 per cent access in acerbity over the already able-bodied anatomy acclimated by the GT.
Underpinning it all is a abundantly bespoke animate suspension. It uses a new five-link double-wishbone accoutrement at the advanced with a multi-link adjustment agnate to the GT at the rear, in aggregate with accepted adaptive dampers and new failing braid springs developed accurately for the SL.
Buyers of the SL63 get hydraulically operated anti-roll confined as allotment of a anew developed Alive Ride Ascendancy package. It is a aboriginal for AMG, replacing the contrarily accepted accepted automated anti-roll confined that arise on the SL55.
Interestingly, Hermann says the about-face from the old MRA belvedere to the new MSA platform, as the new anatomy is referred to internally, has acclimatized it to position the axles lower. “This brings about a cogent blurred in the centre of force compared to the old SL,“ he says.
While a lot is new, the two twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engines accessible from the alpha of new SL sales in Australia are, in sum, acclimatized enough.
The M176 assemblage begin in the SL55 delivers 350kW and 700Nm of torque, affective it from 0–100km/h in a claimed 3.9sec and to a top dispatch of 195km/h. The SL63 uses the added heavily acquainted M177 adeptness bulb with an alike keener 430kW and 800Nm, acceptance it to celerity 100km/h from standstill in a hardly bluff 3.6sec and adeptness an absorbing 315km/h.
As able-bodied as antic an adapted assimilation system, repositioned intercoolers, a new oil pan, changes to its crankcase for added cooling efficiency, as able-bodied as a adapted bankrupt for account in the SL63, the closing abundance of the AMG agent additionally allowances from revised alive agent mounts. They anneal and abate according to load, isolating accordance aural the anatomy anatomy and essentially abbreviation amount change.
Generous agent bay adaptation brought on by the continued acid beanie has additionally acclimatized both engines to be army able-bodied aback abaft the advanced arbor for bigger weight distribution.
Both barrage models run a accepted nine-speed AMG MCT Speedshift gearbox with a wet clamp and steering-wheel-mounted about-face paddles. Army anon to the agent rather than as a transaxle aural the rear arbor as on the GT, it is affiliated to an electronically controlled rear cogwheel as accepted on the SL63 and as an advantage as allotment of an AMG Activating Plus Amalgamation on the SL55.
There are six alive modes: Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport , Individual and Chase – the closing accepted on the SL63 but afresh an advantage on the SL55. You additionally get what is accepted as AMG Dynamics, a adjustment authoritative the cyberbanking adherence ascendancy in four settings, Basic, Advanced, Pro and Master.
Other drivetrains are planned, including a constituent petrol-electric amalgam assemblage agnate to that acclimated by the S580e, admitting it isn’t accepted to amount in the new agency until the added bisected of 2022 at the earliest. There is additionally allocution of an electric drivetrain for the new SL, admitting Mercedes-AMG is actual tightlipped on rumors it could see assembly as allotment of a growing ambit of EQ-badged models any time soon.
AMG’s V8 is as characterful as ever. There’s a affable beat of bankrupt bellow on start-up and lots of characteristic automated agent babble in added antic alive modes already you get underway. The SL55 delivers huge adaptability and affluence of pace, but with an added 80kW and 100Nm, the SL63 is the bright achievement baton possessing bluff in-gear backdrop and amazing dispatch on a wide-open throttle.
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The gearbox is glossy on upshifts – conceivably not as accelerated as you get with battling double-clutch systems, but anxiously bland nevertheless, while the consistently capricious backdrop of the four-wheel-drive adjustment sees the ample achievement of both models placed to the alley with abundant effect. Traction is abundantly added over the old rear-wheel-drive SL, as apparent in the standing-start dispatch claims that set aerial new standards for the Mercedes-Benz roadster.
There is an inherently added able-bodied appearance to the able car in band with AMG’s aim to accomplish the new archetypal added driver-oriented than it has been in contempo generations. You can dig into the abysmal affluence with abundant confidence. The SL55 recommends itself as the added able acclimatized hypothesis with a ample spectrum of ability. However, the SL63 is consistently a beat added responsive, faster, louder and, in the end, agitative to drive.
When you punch things back, the new SL delivers outstanding canoeing qualities. The ample advance of torque offered by both of the barrage engines combines alluringly with the alpine gearing at the aerial end of the gearbox to accommodate admirable ability from the drivetrain at connected motorway speeds. Both models administer to abbreviate continued distances with inherent ease. Don’t apprehend bigger than 12.0L/100km, alike on the best sedate of journeys, though.
It all comes with a new akin of disciplinarian engagement. Contempo SL models haven’t lacked straight-line speed. However, their activating qualities accept been compromised to a assertive admeasurement by the accommodation to accommodate them with a adapted belvedere and underpinnings from added added boilerplate Mercedes-Benz models.
This new one couldn’t be any different. It offers abundant agility, antithesis and anatomy control, and aback you go analytic for it by switching the AMG Dynamics adjustment to Master mode, mid-corner adjustability. This is a abundant car with all the affluence you could ambition for, but it operates with a alteration of movement and admiration to inputs of article abundant lighter and added spartan. This we apparent on smooth-surfaced Californian coulee anchorage on a run amid Los Angeles and Palm Springs.
The big access in anatomy stiffness, lower centre of force and networked abeyance with four-wheel council all amalgamate to bear new-found response, acquiescently addled administration and abundant athleticism. It is not a car to beef forth arduous aback anchorage in the address of some AMG models. Rather, it is acute abundant to be guided by about aerial inputs. With all the assorted alive modes, you can clothier the SL aloof the way you appetite it.
The steering, blithely weighted, delivers lots of feel and added agog self-centring than the GT with which it shares elements of its electro-mechanical rack. The antithesis is absolutely aloof with biggy anchor that charcoal actual dependable as crabbed armament increase. We’re yet to drive the new archetypal on a accepted suspension, but the hydraulic anti-roll confined do a ablaze job of suppressing anatomy roll. It changes administration with abundant eagerness, actual flat, assertive and alluringly controlled.
The acquirement provided by the 305/30-profile rear tyres is absolutely something. You can be actual animated with the burke and still abide aural the bound of the appreciably aerial limits. There’s fun to be had, though; the torque-laden commitment does acquiesce you to agitate the aback end in the added advanced of alive modes, which affairs the four-wheel-drive adjustment to bear about absolute rear-wheel-drive ancestry with some provocation.
It is all anxiously controlled by the electronics. The alternative carbon-ceramic brakes, meanwhile, are archetypal in appearance to those of added AMG models, defective somewhat in feel until they are able-bodied up to temperature but carrying massive levels of retardation.
What we’re not so abiding about appropriate now is the ride, or added accurately its adequacy to Australian roads. There is an basal compactness to the suspension, alike aback you’ve got the new SL in its best comfort-oriented settings. It is absolutely a continued way from the cosseting auto we’ve become acclimatized to over the years.
This is not to say it is harsh; there is acceptable acquiescence and ascendancy to acquiesce it to cope with poorer surfaces after boundless fidgeting. However, beyond axle amplification joints on US highways occasionally defeated the contrarily fast reactions of the dampers, arch to some arrant through the annealed anatomy at times. Tyre barrage is additionally apparent on coarser alley surfaces, demography the flash off the contrarily absorbing refinement.
A absolute adjudication will appear aback we drive the 2022-model-year SL in Australia after this year. What is clear, though, is that with AMG calling the shots on development and the acceptance of a committed space-frame belvedere application structural developments from the GT, it is now a far added focused and antic anticipation than any contempo generation.
At the aforementioned time, it is added applied and able than it has been in the past. By reverting to a two-plus-two blueprint for the aboriginal time in over 20 years, and adopting a bolt awning in abode of the folding auto that has been acclimated for the aftermost two SLs, the new archetypal additionally offers added amplitude than a Porsche 911 cabriolet admitting a abundant abridgement in all-embracing cossack capacity.
Pricing is yet to be announced, admitting apprehend agnate levels to the old SL. Estimates put the new SL55 at over $250,000, with the SL63 acceptable to nudge $400,000 absolutely kitted. High-end, no doubt. What you’ll be affairs into, though, is the best SL in decades – a absolutely involving car accumulation all the ball and alive address of the GT, but with two added seats and greater acclimatized alive appeal.
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