The new Mercedes-AMG SL knows how to look good naked | Top Gear
Advertisement
BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
First Look

The new Mercedes-AMG SL knows how to look good naked

Strip the new AMG SL's panels and this clean-sheet chassis is what you'll see

Published: 19 May 2021
 comments

“Excellent rigidity values in all areas in conjunction with a favourable weight.” It’s what we’re all striving for and, swerving a seemingly inevitable lockdown bod, the new Mercedes SL has achieved it.

Strip all the panels, trim and mechanicals from the brand new Mercedes-AMG SL and this naked metal is what you’ll see: a clean-sheet composite aluminium chassis that shares not a single part with the old SL nor AMG’s other drop-top, the GT Roadster.

Advertisement - Page continues below

Yep, you’ve no doubt spotted the key suffix change. AMG is developing the SL rather than Benz, and it’s taking its duties very seriously indeed, channelling the original Fifties 300SL which boasted a ground-up design space-frame chassis.

This time around, though, the SL accepts normal doors. Those delightful gullwing doors were a necessity, not an extravagance. It’ll also house 2+2 seating and all of Merc’s (and AMG’s) latest driver assist systems. Expect it to be autonomy ready for when rules allow, but with a whole host of driver flattering tech in the meantime – as well as four-wheel-drive. Something no previous SL has offered.

The big talk is weight, with every feasible gram chiselled out by crafting the chassis from a composition of aluminium, steel, magnesium and fibre composites. At 270kg it weighs as much as an especially bulky motorbike. More pertinent is Merc’s focus on the car’s overall centre of gravity, so all the powertrain mounting points will place the heavy items as low as possible. It goes hand-in-hand with switching to a fabric roof from top-heavy folding metal.

The chassis boasts 18 per cent more torsional stiffness than you’d find in the outgoing SL’s, and it’s more rigid than the GT Roadster. After a decade (or more) of the Merc SL being a bit of a soft option, AMG’s making it fighting fit to take on 911 Cabriolets, Ferrari Portofinos and presumably everything in between.

Advertisement - Page continues below

Now we just need to see it fully clothed. Excited?

Top Gear
Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

More from Top Gear

Loading
See more on Mercedes-Benz

Promoted Content

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.