Mercedes returns to its SL roots

The new generation of SL Roadster once again comes with the iconic soft top and rear seats, even if the latter are for the most part symbolic. Ahead of its official market launch, SoBARNES takes a spin behind the wheel.

All car manufacturers will tell you that there’s nothing more difficult than successfully reviving a model without adulterating it. There are two differing philosophies: the Porsche 911 on the one hand, which has conserved the same design generation after generation, and on the other, the Mercedes SL, which is not afraid to evolve, sometimes to the outrage of purists. So let’s welcome its latest version that boasts a mix of styles with a number of nods to its predecessors. Starting with the return of the good old soft top that replaces the now outdated retractable hard top. Another winning come-back is the 2+2 configuration, that is to say two back-up folding seats behind the front seats.

The brand with the three-pointed star is also aiming to regain prestige in terms of sporty driving, given that the new SL Roadster forms part of the Mercedes-AMG sports range. With an AMG 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 at launch available in two options: 476hp and 585hp. We won't go into great detail regarding performance, which, as you can imagine, is impressive. The SL has traditionally been a technological showcase for Mercedes, with all-wheel drive on the 2022 model and rear-axle steering: depending on speed, the rear wheels either turn in tandem with the front wheels or in the opposite direction to better increase agility and stability.

In terms of exterior design, the contours of the new SL are more compact than the previous generation. The addition of two rear seats (for passengers under 1.50m, according to Mercedes) works fantastically. The interior design is in keeping with the brand’s current models, with an 11.9-inch adjustable-tilt central display in place of the array of buttons and dials. In terms of boot capacity, it can hold 213 to 240 litres depending on whether the soft top is open or closed - not ideal for families. But, as the brand points out, there’s plenty of space for two golf bags. Thank goodness!

The price of this stunner has yet to be unveiled, but it is available to pre-order if you can't stand the wait. The first deliveries are scheduled for spring 2022.

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