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Mercedes-AMG Reimagines Its Iconic SL Roadster

The new Mercedes-AMG SL.
The new Mercedes-AMG SL. Image used with permission by copyright holder

Well, it turns out the Mercedes-AMG couldn’t live long without an iconic SL in its line. 

Discontinued last year, the all-new Mercedes-AMG SL Roadster is set to return in 2022. Dubbed the R232, this is the car’s most radical redesign in decades. In addition to being developed with a completely new vehicle architecture, the 2022 SL has a cloth roof, a two-plus-two seating layout, modern tech modification, and a load of never before applied performance features. As the SL will essentially replace the AMG GT roadster, the 2022 SL has a lot to live up to. The work that Mercedes put into the new ride seems to have paid off. 

Just like the original SL in 1952, the Gullwing, the 2022 model was conceived first as a sketch on blank paper. This hand drawing led to an entirely new car. Mercedes-AMG took not a single component from preceding SL’s or similar models.

The 2022 vehicle is built on an aluminum space frame with a self-supporting structure. The chassis features an intelligent material composition with high aluminum content and new fiber composites. Characteristic body features include a long wheelbase, short overhangs, a considerable hood, a set back passenger compartment protected by a raked windscreen, and a squat, powerful rear end.

At 185.2 inches in length, the new SL is actually 2.9 inches longer than the outgoing model with an almost five-inch wider wheelbase. But with a wider base and a squatter stance, the new SL appears stockier and tauter. Together with voluminous, sculpted wheel arches and large alloy wheels flush with outer skin, the SL evokes a powerful, dynamic appearance. 

Up front, the fat, AMG-specific radiator grille, featuring 14 vertical slats, emphasizes this wide effect and cites the ancestor of all SL models, 1952’s legendary 300 SL racing sports car. Exaggerating the car’s shark-like grin are new slim, sharply outlined digital LED headlamps and rear lamps.

While the outside appears like a ripper, inside is typical Mercedes-AMG minimalist luxury. At the center of the space sits an 11.9-inch multimedia touchscreen that can be adjusted to reduce glare for top-down driving. The all-digital cockpit features enhanced hardware and software that’s fashioned to create a seamless blend with the analog geometric space. 

Every 2022 SL comes factory-equipped with navigation, a heated steering wheel, massaging seats, a 360-degree camera system, a Burmester surround sound system, configurable ambient interior lighting, Airscarf neck heating, keyless entry, and drive mode switches. The seats are sleeker yet richer, integrating ideal ergonomics into headrests. For even more comfort, a deflector protects front seat passengers from wind at the back of the neck. And for even more ease, a wave of your foot opens a spacious powered trunk — 7.5 cubic feet of cargo area that’s conveniently shaped to squeeze in two golf bags.

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Car and Driver cites that in the last 10 years in the United States, car vehicle sales’ share of market dove from about 50% to less than 25%. Take a look and you’ll notice that the only car in a Ford showroom is a Mustang. Premium-car makers have not been immune to this trend as Mercedes-AMG’s car percentage plummeted from 80% early in the 2000s to less than 30% in 2021. With the brand’s two-seaters under particular pressure, the SL includes 2+2 front-rear seating for the first time since 1989. This isn’t a bad thing, though, making a more spacious and versatile SL. 

Another market concession Mercedes-AMG made is adding standard all-wheel drive, which was never before an option on previous versions. This change acknowledges how hard it is to sell rear-drive cars in northern latitudes with all-wheel drive now ubiquitous.

Mercedes has not announced how much the SL will cost when it hits dealers in the first half of 2022, but consumers can expect a price north of $100,000 for such luxury and forward-thinking vision. Check out the video below to get a view of SL history and the new ride in action. 

Read More: Drive All the AMG Rides with Mercedes-Benz’s Vehicle Subscription Service

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Matthew Denis
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Matt Denis is an on-the-go remote multimedia reporter, exploring arts, culture, and the existential in the Pacific Northwest…
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