Report: Next Mercedes SL to share platform with AMG GT, get soft top

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG  -  First Drive

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG - First Drive

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The Mercedes-Benz SL roadster has been a very likable grand tourer, but if a report from Autocar is true, it will soon take a decisive turn toward the sports car realm thanks to the folks at AMG.

According to the report, the next-generation SL, which is due in 2019, will be built by AMG on the platform from the GT coupe and roadster. It will get the aluminum structure and carbon fiber torque tube,  helping it save weight. Further weight will be saved by switching from a folding metal hard top to a soft top. It will also get the GT's front longitudinal engine and rear transaxle layout, which should help balance the weight front to rear. A tuned version of the aluminum double wishbone suspension is likely, as is optional multi-chamber air suspension.

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Autocar says pairing the SL with the GT gives AMG greater economies of scale and allows more versions of the GT, including a line-topping Black Series that will sit above that already crazy GT R that is coming to market soon.

More big changes are possible for the eighth-generation SL. Autocar says Mercedes is considering a coupe version for the first time since 1981, as well as a 2+2 interior layout. Both of those changes, as well as the AMG GT underpinnings, would put the SL much more in line with the Porsche 911.

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Autocar reports that the SL will offer four engine choices. A pair of turbocharged in-line-6-cylinders will be offered, with 402 or 450 horsepower, and a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 will spin out 470 horses. A version of the 603-hp twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V-8 from the new E63 is also likely. The V-12 engines from the SL600 and SL65 may not return.

In all, if they happen, these are very big changes for the SL, and they would certainly raise its performance profile.

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