Introduced in 1952 by the W194 racing car, the SL has entered the 2022 model year with a brand-new platform developed by AMG. The seventh-generation will be available in 55 and 63 specifications at launch, both of them with 4Matic+ all-wheel drive and fully variable torque distribution.
Something you won’t see at Mercedes-Benz dealerships near you is the no-frills configuration before your eyes. Penned by pixel artist X-Tomi Design, the black plastic bumpers and steel wheels of the featured design study are complemented by unpainted side mirrors and exterior door handles.
Obviously enough, Merc won’t go down this path because the Stuttgart-based automaker offers black plastic trim pieces exclusively on commercial vehicles. Not even the A-Class features the low-cost garnish, but on the other hand, Merc has acknowledged that its compact vehicles leave much to be desired. Lest we forget, head honcho Ola Kallenius said one year ago that Mercedes-Benz “should not become a competitor of the volume makers.”
Turning our attention back to the brand-new SL, the R232 represents a departure from the R231 in more than one way. Marketed under Mercedes-AMG branding, the sporty convertible now features a canvas top and 2+2 seating. Rear-axle steering, a much stiffer chassis that consists of a space frame with a self-supporting structure, active aero, MBUX infotainment, and good looks, pretty much sums up the 4.0L V8-engined sports tourer.
Following the M177 bi-turbo V8, the SL will gain a base straight-six engine and more powerful versions of the aforementioned eight-cylinder mill. The very existence of the GT 63 S E-Performance leads me to believe that a plug-in hybrid performance variant is under development as we speak.
The brand-new platform of the R232 will also be used by the next-generation GT, which is going to be offered exclusively as a hardtop. As a brief refresher, the platform is dubbed MSA for Modular Sport scar Architecture.