Having first divulged the redesigned 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL’s architecture in May, Mercedes-Benz revealed another piece of the product puzzle Tuesday, unveiling the SL’s new cabin, even as test mule photos have already appeared online.
“This roadster has stood for automotive fascination and desire for decades,” said Gorden Wagener Chief Design Officer Daimler Group. He characterizes the new SL’s interior as, “a great opportunity and challenge for design, because every designer wants to create icons. The result is a revolutionary interior experience caught between digital and analog luxury.”
More space for passengers
For the first time since the 1989 Mercedes-Benz SL R 129 model, the SL boasts a 2+2 seating configuration finished in single- or two-tone Nappa Leather, Nappa Leather with the now-ubiquitous diamond stitching, or a mix of Nappa Leather with Dinamica Race microfiber and contrasting topstitching in yellow or red. The last is, perhaps, the most ecologically sensitive choice, as Dinamica is an Italian-produced recycled microfiber made from polyester fibers and plastic bottles.
While the addition of rear seats suggests the new model has a more spacious usable cabin, Mercedes-Benz did not provide any specifications.
A far more refined interior
The new instrument panel is anchored by a center-mounted 11.9-inch center-mounted multimedia touchscreen alongside a 12.3-inch high-resolution LCD instrument cluster.
The screen’s massive vertical orientation is a switch from the horizontal one used previously. It’s framed in a gently sinuous motif that envelopes the touchscreen and flows into the center console, offsetting the screen’s rectilinear form.
Mercedes-AMG’s signature air-conditioning vents used in the AMG GT dot the instrument panel, which has a far more integrated appearance, wrapping seamlessly into the doors, unlike the 2021 SL. The design’s finesse possesses an artistry clearly lacking in the previous model, which looked as if an engineer, not a designer, had cobbled together the interior.
For many drivers, the performance of a vehicle’s infotainment system is as important as the car’s overall performance. In the SL’s case, the touchscreen uses the latest-generation Mercedes-Benz User Experience software, while the instrument cluster can be customized. A head-up display is optional, and can be personalized to match the instrument cluster’s appearance. Further technology details were not disclosed.
New ways to achieve old objectives
The new interior resides in a vehicle that adheres to the original SL’s goal of being Super Leicht, or Super Light. Engineers are using aluminum, steel, magnesium and composites to shed weight from the vehicle, with its spaceframe weighing in at 595 pounds.
“Compared to the previous model series, the torsional stiffness of the bodyshell structure increased by 18 percent. The transverse rigidity is 50% higher than that of the AMG GT Roadster, while the longitudinal rigidity is 40% higher,” said Jochen Hermann, chief technical officer of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.
A model steeped in history
The company is calling the 2022 SL a “reinterpretation” of the original coupe from 1954.
The SL’s life began as a racecar, one built with an innovative spaceframe design to keep weight down. Debuting at 1952 Mille Miglia, the 300 SL came in second, going on to win races at the Nürburgring, Le Mans and the Carrera Panamericana.
Its success caught the attention of Mercedes-Benz importer Max Hoffman, who asked Daimler-Benz to make a production version of the 300 SL race car. Debuting at the 1954 New York Auto Show, it featured roof-hinged gullwing doors and thick door sills, as the race car’s space frame design dictated using non-traditional doors.
Its design would be built for three years until it was modified into a roadster, beginning the iconic car’s long history.
Mercedes-Benz is looking to reconnect the new model’s aura with that of its long-ago forbearer in the eyes of customers. “The new SL is the rebirth of an icon for the modern era,” said Philipp Schiemer, chairman of the Board of Management at Mercedes-AMG GmbH.
Given consumers declining appetite for coupes and roadsters, fielding a new SL is imperative. Having sold 7,007 units when last redesigned in 2013, last year, the SL found a mere 1,784 buyers, down nearly 75 percent.
Time will tell if even the best that Mercedes-Benz has to offer is enough to entice buyers to once again consider an SL.
2022 Mercedes-AMG SL — Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a new Mercedes SL coming out?
There’s an all-new redesigned SL-Class debuting for 2022 after a short hiatus. Expect to see it in showrooms by the end of the year.
How much will the 2022 Mercedes SL cost?
Pricing has not been announced, but its closest competitor is the BMW 8 Series Convertible which starts at $94,400.
What does SL mean on a Mercedes-Benz?
SL is an abbreviation from the German term Super-Leicht, or Super Light, and derives from the construction method used on the first SL, built in 1954.