Not striking is the fact that the new Mercedes SL has a cloth convertible roof. Other manufacturers, such as BMW, have now also rediscovered the advantages of the 'linen hood'. Between 2001 and 2020, the SL had a folding hardtop. Such a roof is heavy, takes up a lot of space and imposes all kinds of restrictions on the exterior designers (see the strange proportions of the Peugeot 206 CC and Mitsubishi Colt CZC for example). Hence, the coupe-convertible has fallen out of favor.
Remarkably, the SL now has four seats instead of two. Mercedes may also want it to appeal to buyers of the S-class Cabriolet (which went out of production in 2020). And yet the SL is not a sluggish men's roadster. It was developed by AMG - also a first - and the SL 55 and SL 63 will be released on the market. The first uses a well-known engine: the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 from the AMG GT, which delivers 476 hp and 700 Nm in the SL. Zero to one hundred goes in 3.9 counts. At 295 km/h the cake is finished.
The SL 63 AMG 4Matic+ is the provisional top model, with basically the same engine as in the SL 55, but with 585 hp and 800 Nm. It has four-wheel drive, a nine-speed automatic transmission and a chassis with active roll stabilization. In the sprint to 100 km/h, it is 0.3 seconds faster than the SL 55. Its top speed is no less than 315 km/h. In the future, Mercedes will also come with a plug-in hybrid version of the SL, the E Performance.
All SLs have four-wheel steering as standard. At lower speeds, the rear wheels steer against for more manoeuvrability, at higher speeds they steer along for optimal stability. The SL 55 does not have active roll stabilization, but does have active dampers. Both models have a rear spoiler that rises from 80 km/h and can take on five positions.
Where is the SL in the Mercedes delivery program? It is 4.7 meters long, making it 16 centimeters longer than the AMG GT Roadster. There is not much space in the second row of seats. Mercedes probably expects - just like Porsche - that owners will mainly use the seats for luggage. Because the trunk of the new SL is not particularly large: a maximum of 240 litres. The convertible roof can be opened or closed in 15 seconds up to a speed of 60 km/h.
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