Now branded AMG, the SL Roadster hones the model’s first-ever AWD system in snowy Sweden
The eighth generation of the vaunted Mercedes SL roadster is scheduled to debut later this year, but first, it needs a final shake-down in a not-so-typical roadster climate. Mercedes released photos of two camouflaged SLs undergoing calibration tests in the winter wonderland of Sweden, along with a few details of what we can expect from this delightful drop-top. In a move that’s not all that surprising, all SL variants will be sold under the Mercedes-AMG name. Here’s what that means.
First and foremost, there will likely be a properly sporting version available. That said, we don’t expect to encounter AMG’s riotous 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 betwixt the SL’s front wheels. It’s more likely that the next SL will go the route of the new C-Class, relying on some form of heavily-boosted four-cylinder (AMG already has a 416-horse four-pot) with electric augmentation. We’re not particularly miffed by that prospect—if you want a slinky convertible that shouts German obscenities at passersby, there’s still the AMG GT roadster.
Second, and maybe more important, all SLs will now come with 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive. A system like that would certainly be a boon for roadsters enduring winters like the ones seen here. (If you’re the type of person who buys an SL roadster and subjects it to snow, we tip our caps to you.) We’d bet there’s a performance argument to be made here, especially considering that, following validation in Sweden, AMG engineers will point the SL’s long bonnet at the dips and curves of the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
69 years ago to the day, Mercedes sent its first notice to media about a new performance car—the soon-to-be-iconic 300 SL—that would embark on its first public road trials that week. Eight generations later, the marque will look to continue that same spirit with the forthcoming SL roadster. By the looks of things, the folks at Mercedes-AMG will carry the torch admirably.