The 2022 Mercedes AMG SL roadster is designed from scratch with more cosseting and comfy than the outgoing roadsters. The SL sports car traces its roots back to 1952. The 2022 SL is built on a new aluminum-intensive platform that could very well be the last one Mercedes develops for the internal combustion engine. The car comes with three distinctive changes from the previous model. The changes include rear seat and cloth top, and standard all-wheel-drive. Credit to the Mercedes’ AMG performance arm for making history as the 2022 SL is the first car they have engineered from start to finish.
It barely shares a screw or rivet with the AMG GT Roadster. With its vestigial back seats and the increase in length, the car still proves to be the sportiest SL roadster since the racing-derived 300SL from 1957. This new R232 SL also promises to deliver comfort on par with if not exceeding that of its Mercedes-developed R231 predecessor, riding on modern technology.
The AMG crew gave the SL a host of standard and optional performance goodies. It starts under the long, low hood, where the M177 twin-turbo 4.0-liter comes in two states of tune: powerful and rambunctious. In the SL 55, the V-8 huffs down 16.0 psi of boost, while the SL 63 line-topper inhales 22.5 psi. Both engines deliver the performance mail, and both are modified for use in the SL with a new oil pan, new intake, and exhaust ducts, and repositioned intercoolers.
The Styling of the SL
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The SL is built on the MSA (Modular Sports Architecture), this exclusive platform features space-frame construction relying on a mix of aluminum, magnesium, steel, and fiber composites to make the body shell stiff and light. Despite a wheelbase that is 4.6 longer due to the added rear seat, the new structure has 18% more structural rigidity than the outgoing model, and 50% more bending rigidity versus the fantastic AMG GT roadster.
Notably, lightweight coil springs and adaptive dampers come standard but rather than air springs or even active anti-roll bars to fight body lean, the SL 63 uses a hydraulic suspension that’s linked at all four corners. Like the system in the McLaren 720S, this advanced setup pulls the inside tire up when the outside tire is compressed through the flow of hydraulic fluid to keep the body level. It works quickly and effectively, giving the SL the flat cornering of a sports car. It was simply and strategically deployed for this purpose and to save weight versus those other systems. Mercedes compensates for the SL’s additional length by making the rear-axle steering standard. It can turn the rear wheels counter to the fronts up to 2.5 degrees to virtually lengthen the wheelbase in sharp corners and parking lot situations.
The Interior Configuration
AMG has given this beauty a handful of goodies when it comes to its interior. The Z-fold fabric roof lowers in 15 seconds at the touch of a button and a switch allows all four windows to be lowered simultaneously. For a remarkably calm and quiet cabin even at highway speeds, all you have to do is raise the windows and pull up the mesh-screen wind blocker that covers the rear “seat”. In cooler weather, switch on the Airscarf neck-warmer to extend the top-down season (the cockpit isn’t long enough to need the E-Class convertible’s Air Cap windshield header air-management screen).
You don’t have to worry about the reflection of the sun on the center info screen as this can adjust between 12 and 32 degrees to prevent the sun reflection with regards to the driver’s eye. Its all-digital instrument cluster can be set to display any of several different themes and tons of information, the most pertinent of which is redundantly shown on the head-up display (standard on 63, optional on 55). Track Pace screens will help folks monitor and improve their performance on their car country club track, and the additional storage space behind the front seats and in the trunk should make the new SL much more useful as a daily driver.
The Powertrain of the SL
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The AMG crew also gave the SL a host of standard and optional performance goodies. It starts under the long, low hood, where the M177 twin-turbo 4.0-liter comes in two states of tune: powerful and rambunctious. In the SL 55, the V-8 huffs down 16.0 psi of boost, while the SL 63 line-topper inhales 22.5 psi. Both engines deliver the performance mail, and both are modified for use in the SL with a new oil pan, new intake, and exhaust ducts, and repositioned intercoolers.
The SL sends its power to the optional 275/35R21 front and wider 305/30R21 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires (245/40 and 295/35 tires on 20-inch wheels are standard) via a 9-speed wet-clutch dual-clutch automatic to launch the car from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds. The SL 63 uses the same driveline hardware to slay the 0-60 mph run in 3.4 seconds.
Familiar to Mercedes fans, the 4.0-liter V-8 is real and it’s spectacular while the 9-speed is real and pretty damn good. When either version is pushed, the V-8 pauses ever so slightly to inhale, then sounds a deep, throaty growl as the SL explodes forward. Let off in the Sport, Sport+, or Track modes, and NASCAR-style pops and crackles induce giggles. The power stays on the boil, too, pushing the SL 63 all the way to 196 mph, which is a sure way to give yourself racing hair with the top down. The SL 55 tops out at a mere 183 mph.
Availability and Pricing
The 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL-Class will go on sale in the second quarter of 2022. Mercedes isn’t talking pricing just yet, but it seems a safe bet to assume that since the new 2+2-seat SL is effectively replacing both the four-seat S-Class cabriolet and two-seat R231 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class. Pricing should represent an average of these models. Let’s figure $132K for the SL55 and $175K for the SL63. That prices the new SL right in the thick of the 2+2-passenger convertible crowd.
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