Mercedes-Benz's iconic SL is currently into its sixth generation, with the car's last redesign introduced for the 2013 model year.
A new SL is coming up shortly, only this time it is being developed by the Mercedes-Benz AMG performance skunkworks and not Mercedes-Benz. A prototype has been spotted and is wearing the least camouflage gear yet.
We currently expect the new SL to start sales in early 2022 as a 2022 model. However the reveal should take place later this year.
There will likely be two variants at launch, both with mild-hybrid powertrains. One is likely to be badged an SL53 or SL55, and have about 430 hp. The other should be badged an SL63 and pack more than 600 hp.
Further down the track we can look forward to an SL73 range-topper powered by an 800-plus-hp plug-in hybrid setup. This setup replaces AMG's V-12 and makes a debut shortly in a range-topping GT73 4-Door Coupe variant.
All-wheel drive will also be available on the SL for the first time.
2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL Roadster spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
As for the look of the new SL, Mercedes design chief Gordon Wagener has previously said the car will take the line closer to the original 300SL, but not in a retro way. The latest tester, while still heavily camouflaged, reveals some of the lines of the car.
Under the sheet metal, the new SL will utilize a new rear-wheel-drive platform for sports cars dubbed MSA (Modular Sports Architecture), which AMG will also use for its next GT sports car, meaning we can expect a much more performance-focused SL this time around. Interestingly, we've heard that the SL will replace the current GT Roadster. The SL will also fill in for the former S-Class Convertible, and as a result will likely feature 2+2 seating instead of being a strict two-seater like the GT Roadster.
Less weight will be key. Expect the use of lighter, more exotic materials in the construction, and we can already see that a soft-top roof will replace the retractable hard-top of the past two generations.