New 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL drops disguise as reveal nears

Mercedes-AMG looks to be readying its new SL roadster for a reveal in the coming months, with a newly spotted prototype dropping most of its camouflage to give a good look at the car’s final styling.

The latest images come after Mercedes recently released official details of the composite aluminium body shell used by the all-new SL roadster.

Completely unrelated to the structures that underpin the previous-generation SL and current AMG GT, the new body combines an aluminium space frame with a “self-supporting structure”.

Mercedes claims the development process was particularly challenging given this new SL features a 2+2 seating arrangement, and will accommodate a wider variety of powertrain options. The priorities, it says, were to “present the driving performance characteristic of the brand with a focus on lateral and longitudinal dynamics, as well as to meet the high expectations in terms of comfort and safety”.

A combination of aluminium, steel, magnesium and fibre composites was selected for the best balance of lightness and rigidity, with the new SL boasting an 18% increase in stiffness over the old model. Transverse rigidity, AMG claims, is up 50% over the AMG GT Roadster, while longitudinal rigidity has been boosted by 40%. 

The main body shell – without the doors, bonnet, boot lid and other exterior fixings – weighs 270kg.

The reborn convertible will square off against the Porsche 911 Cabriolet with a range of hybridised straight-six and V8 engine options.

Multiple SL variants have been spotted side-by-side in minimal disguise, highlighting two different fabric roof options. This confirms Autocar’s previous reports that the SL will arrive with a traditional fabric hood in place of the folding hard-top arrangement that has been used for the past two incarnations.

Mercedes also confirmed that the 2+2-seat SL will be sold under the AMG brand only and will be offered with fully variable 4Matic+ all-wheel drive. While much of the SL’s development was handled virtually, final on-road testing will soon include the north loop of the Nürburgring, hinting at the car’s sporting ambition.

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Despite the SL’s market repositioning, it won’t completely abandon the luxury focus, so expect the interior to be almost as opulent as Mercedes’ other high-end models. It will be more driver-focused than cars such as the S-Class Coupé, but there could still be plenty of the brand’s latest driver assist systems drafted in, including its semi-autonomous Drive Pilot function.

Additional reporting by Rachel Burgess