The Mercedes-AMG SL Isn't a GT Replacement

Asia's Tech News Daily

With the debut of the all-new 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL, the madmen in Affalterbach have added a second drop-top sports car to the brand’s lineup. While the new SL does bear a familial resemblance to the GT line, Mercedes-AMG has little concern about the two cars sharing a stable. Don’t get it twisted: This new SL is not a replacement for the GT. Mercedes design chief Gorden Wagener explained to Road & Track in an interview that he believes the two models serve distinctly different purposes.

The Mercedes-AMG SL Isn't a GT Replacement
© Mercedes-AMG While the new Mercedes-AMG SL might look a lot like the current GT, he two sporty coupes have very different missions in mind.

According to Wagener, the new SL will retain the same luxurious cruiser focus as its predecessors, despite the fact that this is the first time the nameplate has been an AMG exclusive. The focus on comfort and luxury comes from customer demands, as Wagener noted some buyers find the GT too harsh for the sort of daily use they desire. As a result, the range-topping SL 63 will come with AMG Active Ride Control air suspension with hydraulic anti-roll stabilization. This system replaces typical anti-roll bars with hydraulic units that can actively resist body roll. This provides the car with both a smooth ride and a full range of dynamic handling abilities. The upgraded suspension is optional on the SL 55.

The Mercedes-AMG SL Isn't a GT Replacement
© Mercedes-AMG 2022 mercedes amg sl 55 63

“The GT of course obviously is more of a race car or sports car,” said Wagener. “And I mean this new SL is a true sports car, definitely. But also I mean with air suspension and all the possibilities you have, you can turn it from a cruiser to a race car with the click of a button.”

Just because the new AMG is more focused on cruising than crushing lap times doesn’t mean it won’t arrive with sporting bones. The new 2+2 platform that underpins the SL models will actually be shared by the next-gen GT, according to Wagener. Furthermore, the car comes equipped with AMG Performance 4MATIC+ fully variable all-wheel drive, an optional limited-slip rear differential, and standard rear-axle steering. Even carbon-ceramic brakes are available. The SL 55 and SL 63 share the same 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine, making 469 hp and 577 hp respectively.

The Mercedes-AMG SL Isn't a GT Replacement
© Mercedes-AMG 2022 mercedes amg sl 55 63

Sharing a sporty platform and the same 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine does create some obvious overlap between the SL and GT models. That said, what further separates the SL from the GT lineup is its interior design.

“This is a digital roadster, with not only the latest and greatest in user interaction systems with the next-level MBUX, but also with all the electronic features, driving assistance systems, which the GT doesn’t have because it is a pure driving car,” said Wagener. “The current GT is a pure driving car, and basically the new SL is a completely different kind. With all of the tech that is in there it will make a huge difference, between day and night.”

The Mercedes-AMG SL Isn't a GT Replacement
© Mercedes-AMG 2022 mercedes amg sl 55 63

The centerpieces of the new SL’s interior are its massive display screens. The center screen is an 11.9-inch portrait-format unit, powered by the latest MBUX infotainment system. This screen works in tandem with the even larger 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. The rake of the infotainment screen is adjustable to prevent glare with the top down, and can be set between 12 to 32 degrees. There are also eight different screen designs to choose from, giving the SL what Mercedes-AMG calls a “hyper analog” feel. Ignore for a moment that glaring contradiction because the rest of the SL’s interior is as opulent as you’d expect. Beautifully sculpted AMG sports seats, a Burmester stereo, and a three-layer soft top all ensure passengers are never uncomfortable. The MBUX system brings some nice features too, such as voice commands in 28 different languages and the optional AMG Track Pace data logging system. It at least appears to be a much more comfortable place to spend time than the GT.

The Mercedes-AMG SL Isn't a GT Replacement
© Mercedes-AMG 2022 mercedes amg sl 55 63

While it may hail from the AMG stable, the new SL is intended to be what its forebears always were: an elegant personal luxury convertible. It leaves the hunt for fast lap times to the two-seat GT and its near-term replacement. Instead this SL is meant to provide customers with the best of both worlds.

“That’s the good thing with technology these days is you don’t have to do either or, you can have it all,” said Wagener.

Here’s to hoping that the SL and the GT are able to co-exist without cannibalizing one another from a sales perspective. Considering how impressive this new drop-top is, the new GT might need to make its debut soon to avoid such a fate.

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