2022 Mercedes-AMG SL Preview

Chris Teague | Nov 01, 2021
FAST FACTS
  • SL gets all-wheel drive (AWD) for the first time in 2022
  • Brand-new platform and architecture with no shared parts from older cars
  • Both launch cars get AMG V8s, but other models will follow, including a hybrid
  • Infotainment touchscreen is adjustable, and voice recognition understands 28 languages
  • The new SL should land in the first half of 2022

Mercedes-Benz hasn’t been shy about its plans to shift to full electrification in the coming years, but that doesn’t mean the automaker is ready to cash in all its combustion engine chips just yet. The SL Roadster, previously a 2-seat convertible, has gotten a complete overhaul for the 2022 model year and will only be offered with a twin-turbo V8 engine to start.

2022 Mercedes-AMG SL 63 Red Front Quarter View

Unlike the previous SL, Mercedes gave its tuning shop AMG complete control of the development process. The result, at least at first, is two twin-turbo V8-powered cars with serious style and performance. The SL 55 name returns to the lineup and is joined by the SL 63. The two cars’ arrival comes as Mercedes’ convertible catalog shrinks with the demise of the S-Class cabriolet. Though the 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL will launch with a V8, an “E Performance” hybrid powertrain will become available later.

Exterior Features

2022 Mercedes-AMG SL 63 Red Rear Quarter Aerial View

Mercedes says that the 2022 SL features a clean-sheet design, just like the original car back in 1952, and notes that the new car does not share any parts with its predecessor. The new car rides on a long wheelbase with a long hood and short overhangs in the front and rear in true SL fashion.

The 2022 SL is one of the very few convertibles that look good with the top up, thanks to its near-seamless integration with the body. That top can open or close in just 15 seconds and can do so when the car travels up to 37 mph. Mercedes-AMG shoved the wheels outward a bit to make them flush with the outer bodywork, which further smooths the SL’s shape.

Mercedes opted for a soft top instead of the metal roof from previous models to save weight, but passengers won’t be bombarded with road and wind noise as a result. The top features a 3-layer design with an acoustic mat sandwiched in, and its compact design makes it possible for storage without a bulky top cover when the driver retracts it via a switch in the cabin.

Active aerodynamics reduce drag and lift and are responsible for the car’s drag coefficient of just Cd 0.31—a solid number for a convertible. Whereas most convertibles are nearly unbearable at high speeds with wind noise and buffeting, the SL’s aerodynamics help make things less intense with the top down. Mercedes notes that the aero also helps maintain stability when drivers perform an evasive maneuver at high speeds.

Interior Features

2022 Mercedes-AMG SL 63 Interior Dashboard

Mercedes calls the SL’s interior “hyper analogue,” but the array of screens and buttons tells a different story. The dash is entirely digital, though retro-inspired round air vents and tasteful metal accents do bring things down to earth a bit. Deep sport seats up front feature heating and ventilation and an Airscarf system that pushes warm air from outlets in the headrests. It’s a system used in high-end convertibles to keep passengers’ necks, ears, and upper torsos warm when driving on a crisp day.

For the first time since 1989, the SL is a 2+2 car, which means two seats in front and two in back. Though far from spacious, the rear seats allow a couple of extra (small) passengers to tag along for the ride, and the car comes with a removable wind deflector when the rear seats are not in use.

Buyers can upgrade the default buckets with AMG Performance seats that feature integrated head restraints. They offer adaptive bolsters that automatically tighten with different driving modes and, according to Mercedes, provide better lateral support. The SL gets an AMG Performance steering wheel as standard, which offers a variety of controls for audio, driving, and phone functions.

Under the Hood

The new SL will come in two versions at launch, both of which get a variation on AMG’s twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 engine. The SL 55 gets 469 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, good for a claimed 0-60 mph time of 3.8 seconds. The more powerful SL 63 gets 577 ponies and 590 pound-feet of torque for a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds, according to Mercedes. Both get an AMG 9-speed MCT automated manual transmission that features a wet start-off clutch.

Both versions of the SL come with a slew of revisions intended to improve reliability. The engine gets a new oil pan and its intercoolers repositioned. Intake and exhaust ducts are updated to promote more effective gas exchange, and parts of the catalytic converter are enlarged. The SL 63’s higher output results from higher turbo boost pressure, greater airflow, and revised software, Mercedes says.

For the first time, the SL comes with AWD, and it’s standard. Mercedes’ AWD system uses torque vectoring to shift torque to the axles and wheels that need it most, working with the cars’ adaptive suspension to improve handling and traction.

Six driving modes allow the driver to customize parts of the car’s behavior, such as steering and throttle response, exhaust sound, transmission shifts, and more. Modes include Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport +, Individual, and Race. The SL’s traction control and AWD system respond to driving mode changes, and some functions may be disabled entirely when the car is in Sport+ or Race modes.

Safety Systems

Mercedes offers a staggering list of standard and available safety features for its new drop top. They include:

  • Driver-attention monitoring
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Active steering assist to help the driver maintain lane control at up to 130 mph
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Lane-keeping assistance
  • Lane-change assistance
  • Emergency stop assist, which can stop the vehicle if it recognizes that the driver is no longer in control
  • Forward-collision warning
  • Blind-spot warning
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Exit warning, which alerts passengers when exiting the car could be dangerous

Infotainment and Technology

Sitting atop the SL’s center stack, the 11.9-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen features navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, voice controls, and a host of other popular features. Its ability to electrically adjust from 12 degrees to 32 degrees for better visibility makes it unique. A 12.3-inch configurable LCD takes the place of a traditional gauge cluster and offers the driver several views on vehicle data and performance. The screen is integrated with the visor covering it, which reduces glare and reflections.

That marvel of a touchscreen runs the latest MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment software. The system is controllable via the touchscreen or with steering wheel-mounted controls and features vehicle-to-x communication technology, which allows the car to gather information on traffic, weather, and other data in real time. The car’s navigation system works with that data to reroute around traffic jams to save time. The SL 63 comes standard with a full-color head-up display, which is available for the SL 55.

2022 Mercedes-AMG SL Competitors

The world of high-end convertibles is small but hotly contested. When it lands, the new SL Roadster will go head-to-head against the Jaguar F-Type convertible, Lexus LC convertible, and Porsche 718 Boxster.

Mercedes-Benz is the source of information in this article. It was accurate as of October 29, 2021, but it may have changed since that date. Always confirm product details and availability with the automaker’s website or your local dealership.

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