Mercedes-Benz's venerable SL-Class has long been an icon of the Three-Pointed Star's lineup. On Thursday, the German automaker welcomed the seventh-generation model with a digital world premiere introduction. Don't worry, if you missed the reveal, you can still watch by tuning in right here, and then you can jump into our deep dive on the new model.
For the first time, with this new seventh-generation model, all SL models will live under AMG's umbrella, henceforth known as the Mercedes-AMG SL.
Benz says that the roadster "returns to its roots with a classic soft top and sporty character." Recent SLs models have strayed even further from the model's original remit of "Sport-Leicht" (Sport Light), gaining more and more in weight and sophistication, morphing into more of a luxury GT than a sports car. As Roadshow knows from an early prototype ride-along opportunity taken in September, the new SL was indeed developed by AMG and will feature all-wheel drive, making this posh convertible more of an all-weather proposition. Smaller, lighter and stiffer than the controversial-looking sixth-generation SL, this new model will also offer rear-axle steering and 2+2 seating for the first time in the US. Six- and eight-cylinder engine options are promised, as is a future hybrid model.
The new SL arrives at an inflection point for Mercedes-Benz as the brand transitions increasingly to battery-electric vehicles. That heavy investment into EV development and the luxury market's shift to SUVs has also pushed the automaker to consider pruning its car lineup, with the company reportedly planning to discontinue many model derivatives, including coupes and convertibles.
Will the new Mercedes-SL recapture some of the magic and panache of the original 1954 300 SL Gullwing? We'll have to drive it to find out, but we should know a lot more about its chances when the company reveals its 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL.