Charl Bosch
Online Motoring Reporter
3 minute read
12 Mar 2021
3:17 pm

New Mercedes-Benz SL teased again in a winter wonderland

Charl Bosch

Like the GT73e, the SL line-up will be headed by a 73 model for the first time in two decades.

Pair of new Mercedes-Benz SLs undergoing winter weather testing in Sweden.

Mercedes-Benz, after releasing the first official teaser images of the all-new SL last year, has released what is likely to be the final batch of pre-production snaps of the newcomer.

Pictured in Sweden undergoing winter weather testing, the still heavily disguised replacement for now almost 10-year old R231 generation provides a further hint of what to expect in the form of the exposed soft-top roof.

A first for the SL since the R129 that ended production in 2001, the soft-top roof will be joined by another SL first in the shape of Benz’s variable 4Matic+ all-wheel drive system, which will allegedly feature on the bulk of all models bar the entry-level derivative.

Mercedes-Benz SL

’73’ designation will return to the SL for the first time since 2001 as the new range-topping model at the expense of the now discontinued SL 65.

Confirmed to undergo handling testing at the Nürburgring in the coming weeks, the SL will be build in-house by AMG and ride on the same made mostly out of aluminium MSA platform as the GT, while retaining its trademark 2+2 layout. A significant weight drop over the R231 is expected thanks to the new platform.

Based on a leaked presentation slide last year, the SL will be offered in a choice of models powered by six and eight cylinder engines, although rumoured is the electrified four-cylinder that will power the incoming all-new C63 and C63 S.

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According to a new report from Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, the line-up will comprise of the non-hybrid, rear-wheel drive only V6 SL 43, the SL 53 and SL 53e whose V6 will be offered with or without mild-hybrid assistance, the V8 engine SL 63 and at the top-of-the-range, the returning mild-hybrid SL 73e that replaces the V12-powered SL 600 and SL 65.

Mercedes-Benz SL

The R129 SL was the last to feature a soft-top roof when production ended in 2001.

Also poised for a return is the SL 55 that will serve as the entry-level AMG badged model. In the case of this model, as well as the 53 and 53e, 63 and 73e, the mentioned 4Matic+ system will come as standard with the latter model set to share its electrified V8 with the GT73e and the newly rumoured E73. Output will reportedly be as much as 600kW/1 000 Nm of torque.

In spite of little being known about the SL’s interior, chances are it will draw heavily from not only the GT, but potentially also from the S-Class in terms of look and design. Expect therefore the new MBUX infotainment system, digital instrument cluster as well as a wide variety of materials and finishes ranging from aluminium and leather to wood and Alcantara.

Although Mercedes-Benz has remained coy on a launch date, the SL is expected to debut this year before entering production towards the end of 2021 or in early 2022.

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