The upcoming 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL – the new name for Mercedes-Benz's iconic luxury roadster – will feature an all-new composite aluminium chassis developed with performance in mind.
Comprising an aluminium space frame with its own self-supporting structure, Mercedes-AMG claims not one component of the new SL architecture is shared with its predecessor, nor the Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster which it will replace in the brand's line-up – though the coupe is expected to live on, using the SL's chassis.
The use of aluminium, steel, magnesium and glass/carbon fibres "ensures the highest possible rigidity in conjunction with low weight", with the body shell (without the doors, bonnet or boot lid) tipping the scales in at 270kg.
Torsional stiffness has risen by 18 per cent over the outgoing SL, while Mercedes-AMG claims transverse rigidity and longitudinal rigidity increases of 50 and 40 per cent respectively over the AMG GT Roadster.
Above: The new Mercedes-Benz SL's architecture (bottom of image), alongside that of the original 1952 Mercedes-Benz SL (top of image).
The new SL retains its predecessor's four-seat '2+2' layout, though the previous-generation car's folding hard-top roof has been replaced by a lightweight soft-top.
Highlights of the chassis include aluminium underbody thrust panels, magnesium instrument panel bracing, high-strength steel windscreen pillars, a front module cover bridge made from glass and carbon fibres, and pop-up rollover hoops.
"The development team in our bodyshell design area was faced with an extremely appealing, but also challenging task: when we were commissioned to undertake the overall development of the new SL, we started from scratch, so to speak, without building on any existing structure", said Jochen Hermann, Chief Technical Officer at Mercedes-AMG.
"We can be justifiably proud of the result, which proves, once again, the high level of development competence in Affalterbach. On the one hand we have managed to reconcile the high package demands, while on the other we have been able to achieve excellent rigidity values in all areas in conjunction with a favourable weight, so providing the basis for agile driving dynamics and exceptional comfort."
Confirmed for an unveiling later in 2021, the new SL sees the iconic nameplate move under the wing of Mercedes-Benz's performance division, Mercedes-AMG, as part of a push to reposition the model with a focus on driving dynamics and sharp handling.
A range of petrol powertrains with varying levels of hybridisation are rumoured to be offered, from the entry-level 291kW SL 43 four-cylinder, to the 615kW, V8-powered SL 73 flagship.
Rear-wheel-drive is expected to be standard on lower-grade models, with Mercedes-AMG confirming all-wheel drive will be offered for the first time – namely the rear-biased, fully-variable 4Matic+ system from the E63 sedan.
Stay tuned to CarAdvice for all the latest on the new 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL, ahead of its full debut later this year. Production will take place at Mercedes' Bremen, Germany factory.