Mercedes has completely revamped its SL roadster in a bid to recapture a little of the excitement of past models.
The new soft-top, arguably recognised in its heyday as one of the classiest roofless rides you could be seen in, was handed over to the manufacturer’s AMG division for its makeover.
And when we talk about an all-new car, that’s exactly what it is. Mercedes says the latest arrival has nothing in common with its predecessor, nor, indeed, AMG’s equally ceiling-free GT roadster.
Past models of the SL, which was introduced nearly 70 years ago, have enjoyed a lot of kudos. It had what can only be described as an elegant reputation.
An SL was the kind of vehicle a chap in a cravat and velvet jacket would have driven in the 1960s, or possibly his female counterpart adorned in an equally chic trouser suit and polo-neck combo.
A lot of open-top cars are dismissed for being all style over substance, but the SL has generally escaped such comparisons. The new model will be received in much the same way, we predict, powered as it is by a bitey 4-litre V8 biturbo engine.
The new SL has a soft-top setup, as opposed to the retractable hardshell of recent models, which makes it lighter, and the car is now being offered in a two plus two format (though you probably wouldn’t want to be travelling in the back).
The SL is being offered in two versions, called the 55 and 63, with the beefiest engine option producing 585 horsepower and 800Nm of torque. That powertrain will get you from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in 3.6 seconds.
Mercedes says the new SL “combines the sporty genes of the original SL with the driving performance typical of AMG”, and, if that’s accurate, the car is likely to be a wild ride for anyone, velvet jacket, trouser suit or not.
No price has been revealed yet, but commentators suggest a price tag in the region of $100,000 for a base model. The cars should arrive in showrooms early in 2022.