At the New York Auto Show 2019, AMG boss Tobias Moers already confirmed that the next Mercedes SL generation will be developed entirely in Affalterbach. The prototypes are being tested. Our Erlkönig hunter shot down the first test vehicle.
The Stuttgart technology components are tested under the body of the Mercedes E-Class. The Erlkönig shows itself with a strongly shortened body, especially in the area of the rear doors. The wheelbase also appears to have changed, the wheels do not fit in the wheel arches, and the fenders on display indicate a larger track width.
According to Moers, the new Mercedes SL should be significantly sportier than the current model, but the focus is still on comfort and cruising properties. To prevent the AMG GT and SL from driving each other in the parade in the future, both should develop differently on the same platform: the SL towards sporty 2 + 2-seaters with a fabric roof, the AMG GT even more towards uncompromising athletes.
SL and AMG GT on the same platform
The new modular sports car architecture is likely to be installed under the modified body, which among other things will feature a larger proportion of aluminum. One thing is clear: it is still about maximum flexibility and lightweight construction. In terms of the drive as well as body shapes.
Last but not least, the subject of drive becomes a little clearer with the first Erlkönig photos of the AMG GT 4-door. After Mercedes’s diverse model designations with the 73er nomenclature have been protected, the top model will be the Mercedes-AMG SL 73 with the small addition “e”. The basic layout of the platform with the rear-mounted gearbox and the front motor including carbon Cardan shaft can be electrified without any problems.
The model of the R323 series has the 4.0-liter Biturbo V8, which will come with around 800 hp with electric motor support as a hybrid. This drive train was already visible in the GT Concept study at the Geneva Motor Show 2017 – but with 816 hp here. The production model comes with the 4-Matic all-wheel system and presumably with rear-wheel steering. The Top V8 is coupled with a new nine-speed automatic.
Chassis, brakes, and exhaust system have been significantly modified compared to the civilian SL models and adapted to the extra power. And what about a fully electric Mercedes-AMG SL? In the long run, Affalterbachers cannot avoid the topic of electrification. AMG boss Moers knows this too, who merely reports that even with a fully electric AMG “there is no way around”.
SL without V12?
We can, therefore, assume that the MSA platform developed by AMG and modified for the new generation will offer maximum flexibility from classic combustion engines to complete electric drives. In the basic version, there is the SL 43 with the three-liter inline six-cylinder, which will only start with the rear-wheel drive. The engine currently has 367 hp, which should be a bit more in the new SL.
This is followed by the all-wheel-drive versions of the SL53 and 53e with the three-liter inline six-cylinder including exhaust gas turbocharger and additional electric compressor, which will produce at least 435 hp. Then there is the SL 63 with the four-liter V8 at a power level with over 640 hp. However, the V12 engine in the AMG will no longer exist.
It should also be clear that the new SL will be significantly lighter. Depending on the type of drive, the roadster with its fabric roof then weighs less than 1.7 tons. The current R231 weighs between 1,730 and 1,845 kilograms.
For the interior, Mercedes naturally provides contoured sports seats and a sports steering wheel flattened at the bottom. Wood, aluminum, and leather dominate the interior. There is also the MBUX infotainment system with a touchscreen and the digital cockpit.
Daimler is focusing. In all areas. When it comes to sports cars and roadsters, there is a clear stable order: AMG is responsible for development in Affalterbach. That’s why the next SL generation is technically no longer a classic Mercedes, but a real AMG child. The roadster icon can only do the restart well. Classic roadsters are currently real shopkeepers. Then why not try rebirth as an electric car? It would fit in with the innovation-prone SL history.