2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL sharpens its edge because it turns into extra welcoming


The pea soup fog and regular rain within the mountains exterior of Palms Springs, California, are making it onerous to determine the character of the 2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL. With its new 2+2 structure, is the SL now a Porsche 911 competitor? Is it the lovechild of a C-Class cabriolet and an AMG GT roadster? Or do its smooth prime and small rear seat merely revive the third-generation SL mannequin final offered in 1989?

The 2022 SL marks a whole redesign of a beloved sports activities automobile that traces its roots again to 1952. It rides on a brand new aluminum-intensive platform that might very effectively be the final one Mercedes develops for the interior combustion engine. It additionally marks three vital modifications from the last-generation mannequin: that rear seat and material prime, and normal all-wheel-drive.

The brand new SL can also be the primary engineered from begin to end by Mercedes’ AMG efficiency arm. These roots give it a efficiency credibility it hasn’t had because the first-generation 300SL that was derived from a race automobile.

2022 Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG

2022 Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG

2022 Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG

2022 Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG

2022 Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG

2022 Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG

The AMG crew additionally gave the SL a number of normal and elective efficiency goodies. It begins below the lengthy, low hood, the place the M177 twin-turbo 4.0-liter is available in two states of tune: highly effective and rambunctious. Within the SL 55, the V-8 huffs down 16.0 psi of increase, whereas the SL 63 line-topper inhales 22.5 psi. Each engines ship the efficiency mail, and each are modified to be used within the SL with a brand new oil pan, new consumption and exhaust ducts, and repositioned intercoolers.

The SL sends its energy to the elective 275/35R21 entrance and wider 305/30R21 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires (245/40 and 295/35 tires on 20-inch wheels are normal) by way of a 9-speed wet-clutch dual-clutch computerized to launch the automobile from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds. The SL 63 makes use of the identical driveline {hardware} to slay the 0-60 mph run in 3.4 seconds.

Acquainted to Mercedes followers, the 4.0-liter V-8 is actual and it’s spectacular, whereas the 9-speed is actual and fairly rattling good. When both model is pushed, the V-8 pauses ever so barely to inhale, then sounds a deep, throaty growl because the SL explodes ahead. Let off within the Sport, Sport+, or Observe modes, and NASCAR-style pops and crackles induce giggles. (I can’t assist it. I’m 13 at coronary heart.) The ability stays on boil, too, pushing the SL 63 all the way in which to 196 mph, which is a positive solution to give your self racing hair with the highest down. The SL 55 tops out at a mere 183 mph—barely even ticket-worthy.

I’m not about to induce any forward-thrust explosions with fog so thick I can barely see the taillights of the SL just a few automobile lengths in entrance of me. With steep drop-offs unprotected by guardrails on these mountain roads, I’m additionally not eager on discovering the boundaries of grip for the chunky Michelin tires. If solely Mercedes AMG may management the climate like they do a suspension.

2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL body shell

2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL physique shell

Too unhealthy Mercedes can’t, as a result of on 350 different days of the 12 months this is able to be an awesome alternative to check the stiff new construction and a few fairly cool superior suspension expertise. Known as the MSA (Modular Sports activities Structure), the SL’s unique platform options space-frame development counting on a mixture of aluminum, magnesium, metal, and fiber composites to make the physique shell stiff and lightweight. Regardless of a wheelbase that’s 4.6 longer as a result of added rear seat, the brand new construction has 18% extra structural rigidity than the outgoing mannequin, and 50% extra bending rigidity versus the improbable AMG GT roadster.

Light-weight coil springs and adaptive dampers come normal, however reasonably than air springs and even energetic anti-roll bars to struggle physique lean, the SL 63 makes use of a hydraulic suspension that’s linked in any respect 4 corners. Just like the system within the McLaren 720S, this superior setup pulls the within tire up when the skin tire is compressed by the stream of hydraulic fluid to maintain the physique stage. It really works rapidly and successfully, giving the SL the flat cornering of a sports activities automobile. AMG engineers selected it for that objective and to avoid wasting weight versus these different programs.

Mercedes compensates for the SL’s extra size by making rear-axle steering normal. It may possibly flip the rear wheels counter to the fronts as much as 2.5 levels to nearly lengthen the wheelbase in sharp corners and car parking zone conditions.

Even in these hostile circumstances, a number of the SL’s dynamic strengths present by. The 12.8:1 steering ratio makes it fast, and it feels weighty and direct by the chunky, small-diameter steering wheel. That fast turn-in is met by flat cornering and unbelievable physique management enabled by the hydraulic dampers and double-wishbone entrance and rear suspensions that each one conspire to take care of a big contact patch in corners. The rear finish follows alongside rapidly, with reactions made sharper by the rear-axle steering that steers reverse of the fronts lower than 37 mph like in lots of automobiles, however as much as 62 mph, the place it may be extra helpful for monitor driving. 

2022 Mercedes-Benz SL 55 AMG

2022 Mercedes-Benz SL 55 AMG

2022 Mercedes-Benz SL 55 AMG

2022 Mercedes-Benz SL 55 AMG

2022 Mercedes-Benz SL 55 AMG

2022 Mercedes-Benz SL 55 AMG

Stiffer than the outgoing automobile with extra superior suspension expertise and the flexibility to tune it for efficiency or consolation, the 2022 Mercedes SL is a extra succesful and higher dealing with automobile than the quick however smooth SLs of latest years. 

The linked hydraulic dampers additionally work on the reverse finish of the spectrum, loosening up throughout straight-line driving for a extra comfy experience. Energetic engine mounts, normal within the SL 63 and elective within the SL 55, do a lot the identical: their magnetic fluid loosens up whereas cruising for a softer experience and corporations up in corners to raised stop the engine from including to the lateral inertia, leading to faster reactions. The brand new SL could carry out higher than the automobile it replaces, nevertheless it’s nonetheless easy sufficient for comfy use day-after-day even with the elective 21s.

Inside, the SL boasts much more expertise, too, although the inside nonetheless completely blends conventional SL themes of efficiency and luxurious, whereas additionally giving a nod to the unique 300SL with its minimalist look. A 12.3-inch digital display serves because the instrument cluster and contains a particular visor to forestall reflections attributable to daylight, a should for driving with the highest down. It gives a number of show themes—Understated, Basic, Sport, Supersport, and Observe Tempo—with layouts that vary from so minimalist that solely the instant vary of velocity and torque are proven within the speedometer and tachometer to in depth on-board telemetry. Try the data and designs, and select the one which’s best for you. I’m a fan of the look of Supersport and the dynamic info it exhibits.

2022 Mercedes-Benz SL 55 AMG

2022 Mercedes-Benz SL 55 AMG

2022 Mercedes-Benz SL 55 AMG

2022 Mercedes-Benz SL 55 AMG

2022 Mercedes-Benz SL 55 AMG

2022 Mercedes-Benz SL 55 AMG

An 11.9-inch portrait-style touchscreen sits within the middle console as the principle hub for infotainment. It tilts from an ordinary 32 levels, which gives essentially the most comfy view to a much more upright 12 levels to keep away from reflections attributable to daylight. Beneath the display are a row of bodily buttons used to regulate incessantly used objects. 

A head-up show is normal within the SL 63 and elective within the SL 55. It makes use of augmented actuality to overlay arrows and for navigation instructions. 

It’s all straightforward to watch sitting low within the coddling and supportive base sport seats or the even sportier elective seats. Both set of seats cradle our bodies of nearly any measurement fairly effectively, and provide the extra pampering of heating, cooling, and therapeutic massage. 

I’m driving prime up for many of this chilly and wet journey. The usual AirScarf neck-level heating can battle the chilly however not block the rain. Within the up place, the three-layer prime blocks out most wind and street noise, although I detect some wind noise from the windshield header at freeway speeds. The totally automated roof takes simply 15 seconds to lift or decrease, a course of that may be executed whereas touring at speeds of as much as 37 mph. Thank goodness it’s so fast as a result of it’s important to swipe on the touchscreen to 1 facet or the opposite to function the highest and hold your finger in place till the method is full. 

Mercedes masses up the SL with facilities resembling smooth nappa leather-based, Burmester audio, and a surround-view digicam system, plus a full spate of normal and elective energetic security options. Costs aren’t but accessible, however we count on the SL to begin round $100,000 when it hits the market this spring. 

That’s about the identical worth because the outgoing automobile, however this time round patrons get a sharper, higher performing grand tourer with extra utility and higher expertise. It doesn’t sport the unique structure of the Porsche 911, however the brand new SL will enchantment to patrons of the earlier automobile, whereas additionally attracting extra severe lovers who need to carve by the canyons (ideally not within the rain) on the weekends. 

Mercedes-Benz paid for journey and lodging on your creator to convey rain to California and convey you this firsthand report.

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