Around since 1954, the “Sport Leicht” occupies a very special place in Mercedes’ vast lineup and even though sales have been sluggish in recent years, the roadster will not get the axe. Without going into too many details, parent company Daimler through the voice of its boss Dieter Zetsche confirmed the SL will live to see another generation.
The announcement came at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show during which a promise was made for a revamped SL billed as being a “real wow car, a stunning car.” Zetsche went on to specify that for the model’s next iteration, Mercedes will attempt to make the posh droptop bolder as a way to return to the model’s best years. He admitted the conservative approach towards the current-gen R231 has not been as successful compared to more exciting SLs from yesteryear:
“Whenever we accomplished that in the past, the SL has had a very good performance in the marketplace and that's where we want to go.”
Latest intel suggests the overhauled SL is scheduled to go on sale in 2021, so we might get to see it as early as 2020. Major changes are in tow if we were to rely on the rumor mill indicating Mercedes has plans to ditch the metal roof in favor of a soft top. Some say it will ride on the same platform as the next-gen AMG GT models and will grow in size to accommodate two rear seats you’ll actually be able to use, though one has to wonder how the new SL will positioned in relation to the S-Class Cabriolet.
Powering the entry-level SL is said to be a straight-six engine with around 435 hp, followed by a biturbo 4.0-liter V8 with 522 hp and a 612-hp SL 63 with an upgraded specification of the same V8. The crown jewel of the range is expected to be an SL 73 with a combined output of more than 800 hp and 738 lb-ft (1,000 Nm).
As a side note, the “73” moniker could in fact return as per some recently discovered trademark fillings (S 73, GLS 73, G 73). These models might share a hybrid powertrain with 800+ hp as seen in last year’s Mercedes-AMG GT Concept, which combined the aforementioned V8 with a rear-mounted electric motor.
Note: 2021 Mercedes SL speculative render pictured above.
Source: Daimler via Autocar