When Mercedes announced the cancellation of several non-SUV models, the list included several convertibles. But, while the two-seater SLC is no more, the venerable four-seat Mercedes SL, aka the SL-Class, is still kicking. And we already knew the next-gen roadster was getting a significant update. But now we have official news that the 2022 SL won’t be a Mercedes, but a Mercedes-AMG.
Mercedes once offered several SL AMG models—but they were discontinued
While the Mercedes SL has always been a luxury convertible, it’s also no stranger to AMG tweaking.
This tradition started back in the late ‘90s when AMG got its hands on the V12-powered SL600, MotorTrend explains. The tuning division enlarged the 6.0-liter V12 into a 7.3-liter engine, increasing the output from 394 hp to 525 hp. This V12 would later make its way into the Pagani Zonda supercar.
And after the SL73, AMG models became a regular part of the Mercedes SL lineup. Over the years there was an SL 55, an SL 63, and an SL 65 AMG version available. There was even a Black Series version of the SL 65 AMG with a 661-hp twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12, Road & Track and Car and Driver report.
Starting in 2018, though, Mercedes began cutting down its AMG models, including the SL ones. The first to go was the SL 65 AMG with its 621-hp twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12, R&T reports. And the SL 63, with its 577-hp 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8, left the market at the end of 2019, Motor1 reports. 2020 marked the end of production for the current-gen Mercedes SL, Automobile reports.
Interestingly, although the AMG models were discontinued, Mercedes didn’t necessarily give up on making a performance-oriented SL. It’s worth pointing out that, while the latest models were undoubtedly luxurious GT cars, the first SLs were genuine sports cars. As was the car that started the SL name, the original 300SL Gullwing. And some of the company’s executives wanted the next-gen car to be “lighter [and] nimbler,” closer in spirit to the original, Autoblog reports.
The entire 2022 Mercedes SL lineup is moving to Mercedes-AMG and offering AWD
Thus, we come to the eight-gen 2022 SL, which won’t be branded ‘Mercedes-Benz.’ Instead, the 2022 SL models—all of them—fall under the Mercedes-AMG umbrella, much like the Mercedes-AMG GT. The new convertible’s electronically-operated rear spoiler even resembles the GT’s spoiler, Car and Driver reports. But that’s not the only change.
For 2022, the SL lineup is ditching the hardtop roof and going back to a soft-top one, Autoblog reports. And for the first time, the roadster offers all-wheel drive, though it’s unclear if it’s standard. Hagerty reports that all 2022 SLs will have AWD, while The Drive and Motor1 claim that AWD will ‘merely’ be “offered.”
In addition to the cloth roof and AWD system, the 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL “should be a tad lighter and smaller” than the outgoing car, Roadshow reports. However, the next-gen roadster is still a 2+2 car with four seats.
What we still don’t know
As of this writing, we don’t know what kind of powertrains the 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL will offer. Car and Driver and Autoblog expect a variety of inline-sixes and V8s, and potentially a plug-in hybrid model. We reached out to Mercedes-Benz to comment on this; a brand representative replied, “Please stay tuned for more information on the all-new Mercedes-AMG SL.”
The brand representative did confirm, though, that the new roadster will “debut later this year.” And as of this writing, the cars are undergoing final winter testing. But we don’t have an official release date nor any kind of pricing guide. For comparison, the 2020 SL 450 starts at $91,000.
Still, an AMG roadster that can power-slide through the snow? Consider us excited.
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