Mercedes-Benz teases the new SL roadster

Semi-camouflaged sports car takes to German roads for testing ahead of its 2021 launch

28 August 2020 - 09:17 By Denis Droppa
The new SL is going back to its motorsport roots and is being developed by the Mercedes-AMG division.
The new SL is going back to its motorsport roots and is being developed by the Mercedes-AMG division.
Image: Supplied

Mercedes-Benz has released teaser images of the new SL roadster undergoing final testing before its market launch next year.

Following extensive in-house simulator trials, the new SL is now entering a phase of dynamic driving tests at the company’s test centre in Germany and on public roads.

The partly disguised pre-production units show the new eighth-generation SL will be offered as a soft-top roadster, instead of with a folding hard roof like the previous two generations.

With a bloodline that started with the iconic 300 SL gullwing coupe of 1954 and the soft top roadster that succeeded it in 1957, the new SL is going back to its motorsport roots, said the company. The Mercedes-AMG division has been tasked with the development of the sporty grand tourer, and the car is expected to be more agile and engaging its forerunner, which was launched  in 2012.

The new SL will share its aluminium-intensive platform with the next AMG GT.

Other than that, little is known about the SL’s technical details, though it’s expected to be a 2+2 seater, unlike its two-seater predecessors.

The most likely engine candidates include the 320kW 3.0l twin turbo inline six-cylinder found in various Mercedes-AMG 53 models and the 4.0l V8 turbo that powers flagship Mercedes-AMG 63 variants and produces 470kW in its most muscular guise.

Nine-speed automatic gearboxes are expected to do duty across the range, and it’s rumoured that in addition to standard rear-wheel drive, 4Matic all-wheel drive versions will also be offered.

There are no plans to build a successor model to the smaller Mercedes SLC, which started life in 1996 as the SLK. Demand for this junior roadster has dwindled and 2020 will be its last year in production.

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