What We Know So Far
With a legacy that stretches back all the way to the original 300SL Gullwing, the Mercedes-AMG SL-class is a true automotive icon. Recent examples haven’t been as impressive as expected and a host of newer two-door, four-seat grand touring convertibles have rendered it obsolete, but we’re happy to report that Mercedes is working on an all-new SL-class that will launch in 2021 as a 2022 model. The new SL-class will share a platform with the Mercedes-AMG GT sports car, so performance and handling should be a big step up from the 2018 model. Details are scarce so far, but we expect both six- and eight-cylinder engine options, a luxurious and tech-heavy cabin, and a folding fabric roof in place of the last generation’s power hardtop.
What’s New for 2022?
Mercedes-AMG’s iconic SL-class will be all new for 2022, following a one-year hiatus. The previous generation was canceled after the 2018 model year.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
- SL53: $95,000 (est.)
- SL63: $115,000 (est.)
Without having a chance to drive the new SL and sample its powertrains, it’s hard to recommend one over the other. We expect Mercedes to offer both an SL53 model—powered by the turbocharged inline-six from the E53 sedan—and a higher-performing SL63 model that should come with a twin-turbo V-8 from the GT. Once we know more about the car’s standard and optional features, we can provide a better recommendation.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
We expect Mercedes to borrow two powertrains for the 2022 SL-class from other performance vehicles in its stable. The SL53 will likely be powered by the same turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six thst makes 429 horsepower in the E53 sedan, while the more powerful SL63 is expected to use the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 from the GT that is capable of pumping out up to 577 ponies. Such powertrains will allow the revived SL-class to take on convertible versions of the BMW 8-series and the Lexus LC, both of which are offered with powerful V-8 engines as well as more sporting rivals, such as the Porsche 911.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Neither Mercedes nor the EPA has offered any insight into the 2022 SL-class’s fuel-economy estimates yet, but we expect that information to be available closer to the car’s on-sale date. Both V-8–powered versions of the 8-series and the LC are rated at 25 mpg highway, which is a good target for the SL63, but we expect the SL53 to be the more fuel efficient of the two. When we get a chance to put the new SL-class through our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, we can evaluate its real-world mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
So far, we have few details about the new SL-class’s cabin, but given that it’s a Mercedes we’ll assume it will be decked out in genuine leather, wood, and metal trimmings and every bit of technology the German automaker can drum up. The SL-class will remain a two-door convertible but rather than last generation’s complicated folding hardtop, a fabric roof will be used to save weight and cargo space. Still, don’t expect an expansive trunk.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Undoubtedly, we’ll get a version of Mercedes’s new MBUX infotainment system here in the new SL-class, complete with the system’s “Hey Mercedes” virtual assistant, a large touchscreen infotainment display, a digital gauge display, and a redundant clickwheel or touchpad on the center console. Navigation is likely to be standard and we expect both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as a Wi-Fi hotspot. More details about the SL’s available infotainment and connectivity features will come out when the car officially debuts.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Crash tests from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) haven’t happened and most likely won’t: Neither agency makes it a priority to test high-dollar, low-volume luxury sports cars. Mercedes-AMG hasn’t released any information about available driver-assistance features, but we expect the best and most modern tech to make its way to the 2022 SL-class. Key safety features are likely to include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving mode
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Mercedes-AMG’s standard warranty package is the least special thing about its cars and covers a basic four year/50,000 mile period with no frills or extras. Both the 8-series and the LC offer significant complimentary scheduled maintenance programs, which may make those cars more attractive to those who seek to lease.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance