The 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL is the seventh generation of the most legendary sports-racing car ever to wear the three-pointed star badge. First unveiled in 1952 as a roadgoing variant of the brand’s highly successful W198 racing car, the first-gen 300 SL Gullwing would never exist if not for the prodding of American importer Max Hoffman, who tirelessly pleaded to Mercedes-Benz to make a road-legal variant of the W198. Mercedes took the cue and debuted the 300 SL Gullwing in 1954.
The all-new Mercedes-AMG SL follows the same recipe as its predecessors, but not without a couple of innovative firsts. “The SL is an icon: For almost 70 years, the distinctive sports car has delighted Mercedes customers of every generation,” said Brita Seeger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing and Sales. “With the rebirth of the roadster from Mercedes-AMG, the new SL more than ever remains the symbol of this timeless fascination.”
2022 Mercedes-AMG SL: What’s New?
The 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL is a 2+2 GT luxury sports car riding on a bespoke aluminum spaceframe with magnesium, steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber for the body shell. The result is 18 percent better torsional rigidity and a traverse rigidity that’s 50 percent better than the outstanding Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster.
For the first time in its long and illustrious history, Mercedes-AMG has given the new SL a standard all-wheel drivetrain, capable of varying the torque distribution in the front and rear axle to ensure relentless traction and stable handling. Another first is a standard rear axle steering system that turns the rear wheels in the same or opposite direction for easier maneuverability around town or sharper handling when pushing the limits.
Two Excellent Variants & Two Curated Trims
The 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL is available in two versions. The AMG SL 55 has a hand-built 4.0-liter bi-turbo engine that generates 469 horsepower and 516 lb-ft. of torque. Meanwhile, the AMG SL 63 has the same Biturbo V8 but has 577 horsepower and 590 lb-ft. of torque. Both versions have an AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT nine-speed automatic gearbox.
Mercedes-AMG is offering the SL 55 and SL 63 in Touring and Performance trims. The Touring has niceties like active LED headlights, multi-contour active seats with massaging features, a heated steering wheel with AMG Drive Unit control buttons, an 11.9-inch MBUX infotainment touchscreen, a Burmester surround audio sound system, and a surround-view camera, among many others. Moreover, the SL 63 Touring gets augmented navigation, active ride control suspension, and the AMG Track Pace feature accessible via the MBUX app.
On the other hand, the Performance trim gets all the goodies from the Touring. Still, it adds a front axle lift system, the AMG Dynamic Plus Package that includes yellow brake calipers, and an electronic limited-slip rear differential.
Holding the 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL to the ground is a multilink front suspension with five control arms that are “arranged within the rim” for better kinematics. It is the first of its kind for a series-production Mercedes-AMG vehicle. The SL also has a similar five-link rear suspension design.
Standard in the Mercedes-AMG SL 55 is a bespoke AMG Ride Control suspension system with lightweight coil springs and aluminum dampers. The SL 63 has active suspension with hydraulic roll stabilization to improve ride comfort while enhancing vehicle feedback.
How Fast Is The Mercedes-AMG SL?
The 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL 55 goes from zero to 60 mph in a scant 3.8 seconds and has a 183 mph top speed. The higher-strung SL 63 reaches 60 mph from a standstill in only 3.5 seconds and has a 196 mph top speed.
The Mercedes-AMG SL has the masterful proportions of a classic GT sports car with its long hood, short overhangs, long wheelbase, and bulbous rear end. It has an AMG-specific grille design with 14 vertical slats that hark back to the 300 SL Gullwing. The SL’s curvy body enables a 0.31 drag coefficient thanks to Mercedes-AMG’s Airpanel active aero that opens or closes a two-piece air control system in the upper and lower air intakes. It also has an active rear spoiler that rises elegantly from the trunk lid.
Folding Soft Top Roof
Gone is the clever yet cumbersome folding hardtop roof from previous generations of the Mercedes SL. The new car has a three-layer soft top that weighs 46 lbs. less than the hard top while saving more space with its quirky Z-folding architecture. The design also helped lower the center of gravity, which is always good when configuring a grand touring sports car. If you’re wondering, the roof opens or closes in about 15 seconds, and you can operate the top up to a speed of 37 mph (60 kph).
2022 Mercedes-AMG SL: Pricing & Availability
The 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL starts at $138,450 (SL 55) and $179,150 (SL 63), inclusive of the $1,050 destination fee.
Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.