Eight months ago, Mercedes-Benz surprised the motoring world when they revealed that the next-generation SL is already in development. But wait, doesn't the AMG GT Roadster serves as their sporty droptop? Perhaps the SL will be aimed towards a more discerning clientele, given its heritage and sporting pedigree.
Months have passed since the announcement, and Mercedes-Benz has been quiet on the development of the all-new SL. But that all changed when the automaker's high-performance division, Mercedes-AMG, released a new teaser image of the upcoming droptop.
While we have yet to see the car in full, the company did show its bodyshell. According to Mercedes-AMG, it's completely new. It also doesn't share any components with its predecessor, or its closest cousin, the AMG GT Roadster.
It features a 2+2 layout built on an aluminum spaceframe with a self-supporting structure. Combined with its mixed use of aluminum, steel, magnesium, and other lightweight fiber composites Mercedes-AMG claims it's one of their most rigid and lightweight body shells. Without the doors, hood, trunk lid, and other components, the automaker says the bodyshell only weighs 270 kg.
It was also designed to accommodate a wide array of drive systems and powertrains. This means it could be available with six or eight-cylinder engines, and maybe even a hybrid powertrain.
Aside from making it lightweight and rigid, the automaker also gave it a lower center of gravity. This applies both to the low connection points for the powertrain and axles and to the lowest possible arrangement of the rigidity-relevant bodyshell structure. Last but not least, Mercedes-AMG also ensured it meets the company's strict safety measures.
With its high standards set, the development of the SL's new body shell must have taken a long time, right? The company says otherwise. Pre-development only took 3 months, and the engineering team only needed less than 3 years to finish the project from the moment it was approved for production. Not bad, Mercedes-AMG.
But why did Mercedes commission to build a new SL when they already have the AMG GT Roadster? The new SL will replace the AMG GT Roadster as Mercedes-AMG deemed it's not selling well. It looks like the automaker wants to attract customers to a new droptop by offering it via a familiar nameplate. That or maybe Mercedes wants to prove that roadsters still matter.
Either way, this new SL will have big shoes to fill.