The chief designer of Mercedes-Benz says the new-generation of the company’s flagship SL sports car will take inspiration from the iconic 300SL of the 1950s, as the brand seeks to recreate an icon of the modern era.
Speaking to media at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Gordon Wagner, confirmed a new generation is in the works and that the future of the SL will be very bright.
“Even though I have been 20 years in the company, I have never done an SL, except for the next one that will come which will be the closest to the nicest SL, which for me is the 300SL.”
Wagner says the 300SL “was [like] a UFO” when it was first unveiled to the public in the 1950s, and set a design trend that has carried through to this day.
Although Wagner ruled out the return of the 'gullwing' doors, last seen on the SLS AMG, he did mention that a design study of a car featuring the iconic doors could be on the cards.
“Of course not [a gullwing, but a] completely new design. Not a retro design or anything [like that] but take the DNA and spirit of [300SL] for the new car. I can just say the future of the SL will be very, very bright.”
Mercedes-Benz has launched seven generations of its iconic SL, which stands for the German words Sportlich-Leicht, (Sport Lightweight). The current-generation was launched all the way back in 2013, however the average age for a generation of any recent SL has been well over 10 years, which may suggest the new car is not heading our way anytime soon.
Interestingly, the original idea for a Mercedes-Benz SL came from an American named Max Hoffman, who pushed Mercedes to produce the 300SL for the US market (which consumed 80 percent of the roughly 1400 built). He was also largely responsible for the creation of the Porsche 356 Speedster, and V8 powered BMW 507 roadster.