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.

Under the sheet metal is 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 feature 2+2 seating.

2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL Roadster body shell

2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL Roadster body shell

The new platform features space-frame construction, relying on a mix of aluminum, magnesium and composites for the body shell, with thicker cast aluminum components used for nodal points where forces will be stronger. Compared to the outgoing SL, Mercedes boasts increased torsional stiffness of 18% and a lower center of gravity.

To further reduce weight, we can see that a soft-top roof will replace the retractable hard-top of the past two generations.

Production of the new SL will take place at Mercedes' plant in Bremen, Germany, where the current generation is built.