Auto Trader cars

Skip to contentSkip to footer

Coming soon: new Mercedes-AMG SL

All-wheel drive, powerful V8 engines and all the latest tech underpin Porsche chasing intent for Mercedes-AMG’s brand-new SL

Dan Trent

Words by: Dan Trent

Published on 31 October 2021 | 0 min read

The SL has been a Mercedes-Benz fixture since the 1950s, effortlessly moving with the times from hardcore sports car into the more mature and luxurious versions we’ve known in recent years. That’s changing with this brand-new model, which ditches the folding metal hardtops of recent SLs and returns to a more traditional fabric convertible hood. That’s about the only ‘old-fashioned’ thing about it, though, the new SL introducing all-wheel drive for the first time on the model and powered by a choice of two muscular V8 engines.
If that doesn’t sound very on-message in these electrified times fear not, an E Performance Hybrid will follow as this all-new SL manages the iconic model’s transition away from internal combustion engines.
For now, though, it’s business as usual and performance and sporting character to compete head to head with the likes of the Porsche 911 Cabriolet and convertible versions of the Aston Martin Vantage and BMW 8 Series. Traditionally that role has been filled by the AMG GT but the fact this SL has been designed and built from the ground up by the tuning division - and is branded as the Mercedes-AMG SL - shows new intent.
The 4.0-litre engine is familiar from the AMG GT (and is also used in the Aston Martin Vantage) and will be available in SL63 form with 585 horsepower and 476 horsepower for the SL55 version, the latter a welcome return for a celebrated SL badge many will have fond memories of. Both drive through a nine-speed automatic gearbox and a sophisticated all-wheel drive system able to switch between rear-driven balance for a sportier feel while putting power to all four wheels for improved acceleration and also traction in slippery conditions. As well as the extra performance the SL63 gets a highly sophisticated suspension system that actively counteracts roll through the corners while maintaining comfort the rest of the time. Details of the hybrid version are scarce for now but, for all the improved efficiency, should offer similar levels of performance.
Inside Mercedes promises usable rear seats for passengers up to 1.5 metres tall, meaning you should be able to bring the kids along for the ride too. Alternatively you can use the space as extra luggage capacity. And while the SL has got decidedly more sporty it hasn’t forgotten the luxury long-time fans demand, with all the high-quality trimmings you’d expect of a modern Mercedes. Tech also has a big part, with a new vertically oriented central screen that you can adjust to avoid glare when driving with the roof down. Powering it all is the latest generation of Mercedes’ MBUX operating system, adapted from the latest S-Class but given a specific AMG twist.
Consistently the emotional heart of the Mercedes range, an all-new SL is always a big moment for the brand and a statement of intent when it comes to style, tech and performance. A role this new one seems more than ready to take on.