The upcoming Mercedes-Benz SL is nearly here and these are some of its juiciest details.
The final testing for the next-generation Mercedes-Benz SL (Super-Leicht or Super Light in English) is currently underway, and while many things are still undisclosed, Mercedes-Benz has revealed some interesting details about the sports car that will showcase how far it has deviated from its previous generations.
Firstly, the upcoming SL will only be the third model lineup in Mercedes' current vehicle portfolio to sport a Mercedes-AMG only moniker, after the GT and GT four-door coupe. Okay, there is the SLS coupe, but that car no longer exists in Mercedes showrooms.
Secondly, this will be the first time any SL will be made available with an all-wheel-drive system (4MATIC+), which is probably a good idea considering rumours suggesting that the car will come with 800hp and 1000Nm in its highest variant. The roadster variant will also apparently be offered with a 4-cylinder turbocharged engine under that long iconic hood design which is a bit of a letdown, but a necessary evil.
The model lineup should comprise of the SL 43, SL 53 4Matic, SL 63 4Matic and SL 73 4Matic+. Engine options should also span four, six and eight cylinders. All powertrains are expected to be electrified using Mercedes' mild-hybrid 48-volt technology, while the 800hp powered car should be getting a super high-tech plug-in hybrid system taken from Mercedes' Formula 1 cars.
Last but not least, the upcoming SL will apparently be a 2+2 seating arrangement sports car, which will see it becoming a better rival to the BMW 8 Series Cabriolet and Porsche's 911 Cabriolet. As we all know, the upcoming SL shares its underpinnings with Mercedes-AMG's second-generation GT so it makes sense to offer more seats in the SL as the GT is already a two-seater sports car.
Since the SL is in its final stages of testing, we can perhaps expect a debut of the car by the end of the year. Also, since everyone is under the presumption that electric cars are the future, this will probably be the last SL to come with an internal combustion engine.
In the spirit of celebrating ICE-powered SLs, let's take a look back at some of the previous iterations of the legendry Super-Leicht.
W198 and W121 (1954-1963)
The 'gullwing' 300SL is probably the most iconic SL of all time, which is why all of the other SLs after it had a lot to live up to. The sleek and smooth exterior design of the car is truly timeless and although by today's standards its 215PS doesn't seem like much, it was a rapid machine back in the fifties. Imagine having a 215PS rated engine back in the fifties, where even the muscliest of muscles cars from America only had around 135PS. The 300SL was also Mercedes' first road-legal sports car.
Next up in the line of SLs is the W113 SL or more commonly known as the Pagoda SL. It received its iconic nickname due to the hardtop version's resemblance to an Asian temple.
The R107 SL will always be known as the SL with the highest production volume to date. Mercedes and its fans loved it so much, they continued making it for 18 years. This was also the first SL to get safety technological advances in the form of crumple zones, deformable switches and stronger A-pillars. This was also the first time Mercedes introduced a 500SL which featured 240HP.
The R129 Mercedes-Benz SL mostly had the same underpinnings as the legendary Mercedes W124, but it did introduce some groundbreaking technological advancement in a sports car such as automatic sensor-controlled roll-over bars and adaptive dampers. The main talking points about the R129 was actually its engine options as this was the first time AMG had a hand in pimping an SL out after it got officially absorbed into Mercedes. There was the SLs 55 AMG, 60 AMG, and the 7.3-litre SL73 AMG which had 518HP.
The R230 will always be known as the first SL to be equipped with a hardtop folding roof. It was introduced to the media in Hamburg in 2001. The flagship SL600 had a bonkers twin-turbo V12 that pushed out 500bhp.
In our opinion, out of all the SLs, this is probably the least distinctive SL in terms of design, however, to some, they considered this SL prettier than the previous generation. Its aluminium body shell weighs around 110 kilograms less than its predecessor, but the heavy usage of clever electronic systems gave the car a 1.7-tonne rating. Interestingly, Mercedes introduced a 'FrontBass' system in the car which uses the cavities in the aluminium body structure to help with bass resonance.
Before you leave us, why not drop a comment telling us which SL is your favourite. We know the Gullwing is the grail SL, but realistically the R129 would be an achievable classic SL to purchase which makes it our favourite. But that's just us, what about you? Modern or classic SL?