The soft top will soon be back for the Mercedes-Benz grand touring roadster, the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class. Not only that, the new Mercedes-Benz SL Class could now accommodate up to four people and is more dynamic than its hard-top predecessor.
Perhaps, one of the best news about the new 2019 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class – with codename R232 -- could be that it is said to be now being developed by the carmaker’s performance arm. A source privy to the matter told Autocar that this decision for the new two-seat luxury roadster was taken up last year by Ola Kallenius – Mercedes’ new research and development boss. According to the source, Kallenius decided to have AMG develop and engineer the new SL Class to give it “a more sporting character” than the current model – something that would be a piece of cake for Mercedes’ performance division. As a result, the new Mercedes SL Class would be a different proposition from the current model.
With AMG heading the engineering and development of the new SL Class, it isn’t a wonder why the new roadster is given such new elements. Its final production version is expected to be underpinned by a new platform -- known internally as the MSA (modularen sportwagen architektur) – that would also underpin the SLC’s successor. This new MSA platform permits scalable tracks and wheelbase, thereby allowing Mercedes to design a 2+2 cabin for more practicality. AMG chief executive Tobias Moers told Autocar at the New York Motor Show that a 2+2 configuration would allow the carmaker to offer a model with a “bit more space."
Moreover, the folding aluminum roof of the current SL will be thrown to the trash bin, giving way to a multi-layer fabric hood that features a construction similar to the soft top employed by the S-Class cabriolet. This new soft top doesn’t only make it possible for the new SL Class to employ its new cabin configuration, but also makes the new model much lighter. If this is really the case, the new SL Class could have a more sporting character, as intended by Kallenius.
Interestingly, one of the engines that will be the core of the new SL Class is the new 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six petrol engine that will come in different power levels. The new SL 300 would employ a version that delivers 365 bhp, while the SL 400 will be powered by a variant that generates 435 bhp, thanks to turbocharger boost pressure and other features. Meanwhile, the new SL 500 comes with a specially tuned version of AMG’s 4.0-litre V8 engine that provides up to 455 bhp of output.