First Look: New 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL
The iconic Mercedes SL is back, with all-wheel drive and a ragtop
WRITTEN BY HOWARD WALKER
IMAGERY COURTESY OF MERCEDES-BENZ
NOVEMBER 22, 2021
But the SL – short for Sport-Leicht, or Sport-Light – is too big a nameplate for Benz meisters to give-up without a fight. After all, those two little letters have been gracing the trunk lids of low-slung Merc sportsters since the legendary 300SL Gullwing from 1954.
So the SL is back – brand new from the wheels up, with big changes that include 2+2 seating, a switch back to a canvas roof in place of a folding lid, standard all-wheel-drive, and V8-only power.
The convertible is being built by those performance wizards at AMG out in the wonderfully-named German township of Affalterbach, which is reflected in the two-seater’s fancy new name – the Mercedes-AMG SL.
Of course, it’s going to be awesome to drive. Why wouldn’t it be, with that AMG-massaged 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 under the hood cranking out 469hp in the new SL55, and 577hp in the SL63?
In addition to standard all-wheel-drive, you also get such handling enhancers such as rear-wheel steering, adaptive dampers with hydraulic roll stabilization, and brake rotors the size of Rhode Island.
The Mercedes-AMG SL is a terrific convertible, with a soft top that rises and falls in a zippy 15 seconds, and at speeds up to 37mph. An SL hasn’t had a pair of rear jump seats for 2+2 seating like this since the much-loved 560SL of the late ’80s, not that any adult human is going to sit back there. Still, I can’t help but feel a mild twinge of disappointment at what might have – or perhaps could of, should have – been.
Think what a poster child for electric power the SL could have been; the world’s first all-electric luxury sports car, a drop-top with a more-than-enough 400-mile range, and neck-snapping, off-the-line acceleration. The new EQSL, no less.
It also is a pity that the styling is such a copy-and-paste version of the current AMG GTC Roadster. I know Mercedes loves to stick with one style fits all – C-Class to E-Class to S-Class. But with the SL being such a low-volume halo model, they could have chosen bold revolution over mild evolution.
All that said, this new AMG SL is guaranteed to capture the hearts of SL loyalists, keep owners of the now-discontinued S-Class Convertible in the Mercedes fold, and even pull-in a few AMG GTC, Lexus LC, BMW 8 Series or even Porsche 911 owners.
Deliveries are expected to start next spring, and while there’s no official pricing yet, expect the SL55 to kick off right at $100-grand, with the SL63 closer to the $120,000 mark.
Bobby Ewing would have been right there at the front of the line.