November 27, 2022

‘Icon’. Now that’s a phrase that will get bandied about so much in car circles. It’s continuously used to explain one thing that’s as iconic as a pickle jar as a result of, neatly, advertising and marketing departments; they’re at all times so determined to create a tale and promote us a legend. The Mercedes SL is a legend, despite the fact that. Certainly about that, and a long lasting one, too. So for as soon as, I don’t begrudge Mercedes the usage of that phrase 20 instances right through the newest SL’s press liberate.

The SL has been via many permutations. The unique W194 300 ‘Tremendous Gentle’ arrived in 1952 and was a a hit street racer. The Gullwing that adopted is undeniably iconic – considered via many critics as now not merely a automotive however car artwork. The Pagoda is my favorite, despite the fact that, and via far as a result of its design simplicity, even though the blank traces of the R107 aren’t a long way at the back of it. The R129, in the meantime, was once an engineering feat like no different. A automotive that was once ten years within the making by the point it was once introduced and represented Mercedes in its pomp: leading edge, stylish and engineering-led. All of the ones fashions are discussed within the SL’s press pack, however there’s no point out of anything else post-R129. Accident?

I don’t know, however for some, the SL began to lose its manner from the past due 90s onwards. In the beginning, the standard went south, and the designs was increasingly more ungainly. It’s onerous to argue that the R129 was once tremendous light-weight, even though that was once all the way down to its Panzer-esque construct, and it nonetheless controlled to be beautiful with it. However the closing iterations, with their frumpy overhangs and fats bottoms, seemed heavy and ungainly. So is the newest SL a go back to shape? Is it one to say along the greats?

Neatly, Mercedes makes a lot of this being a automotive that treads the road between grand tourer and sports activities automotive. It’s additionally a long way from tremendous gentle, thoughts, with the SL 55 coming in at a smidge beneath two tonnes, but from the out of doors it hides that neatly. The design is neater, tauter and extra flowing than the closing one. To my eyes, it’s essentially the most placing SL there’s been for an extended whilst. It might’ve been even heavier had Mercedes caught with the steel folding roof, however that’s ditched in favour of a comfortable most sensible, and so that you could trim as a lot fats as conceivable the construction is a mixture of metal, aluminium, magnesium and fibre composites. The naked shell, we’re advised, weighs 270kg. And it’s stiffer, naturally, with torsional pressure stated to be advanced via 18 in line with cent.

Within, it feels sportier than ever. You sit down low, with the excessive dashboard and window traces cocooning you, and the sense of feeling hemmed in (in an effective way) is amplified via the fats transmission tunnel that funnels out to house the bell housing under. That, via the way in which, comprises a rainy grasp fairly than a torque converter for the nine-speed MCT gearbox twinned with AMG’s acquainted 4.0-litre V8. Anyway, it would really feel at the comfortable aspect but it surely’s sufficiently big to house me, and I’m all arms and legs, plus the using place is spot on. The steerage wheel, seat and pedals are the place you wish to have them for convenience and comfort, and the ones AMG chairs could be company, however boy are they supportive.

There’s extra just right stuff, too. Sensible carbon fibre trim, leather-based and Alcantara all upload as much as a high-end end, and general it’s screwed in combination like a Mercedes must be. Neatly, instead of the light-weight turbine vents and the seat-adjuster panels at the doorways, which flex while you press them. Nonetheless, all of it stacks as much as a serious-feeling automotive, which is lowered simplest reasonably while you catch sight of the gamer-style graphics at the displays. Nonetheless, it’s eye catching, unquestionably showrooms neatly and the displays are ultra-high definition. The principle one for the infotainment is 11.9 inches and oriented in portrait, in a equivalent vein to the C-Magnificence’s, however within the SL you’ll be able to regulate its perspective to keep away from glare when the roof is open. It’s working the newest model of MBUX, and having been vital of the tool within the EQS this turns out a lot more responsive – simplest the pinch and zoom for the map got here throughout as a little bit gradual.

Proper, so Mercedes has advised us it’s sportier and, needless to say, that comes throughout while you soak up its charms inside of and with out, however how does it pressure? Neatly, Mercedes wasn’t working scared: I didn’t even pressure the SL out at the street. As a substitute, I had a couple of laps round its dealing with circuit at Mercedes-Benz Global. Allowing for it is a tight and twisty affair – which you wouldn’t assume would go well with a two-tonne drop most sensible – the SL acquitted itself neatly. Really well, in reality. Off the road, AMG’s superb 4.0-litre V8 thunders away with its endearing canine of warfare musicality, and having 476hp and 516lb toes to flex in AMG 55 trim, it is unquestionably a weapon down the straights. We’re used to that kind of caper, despite the fact that, which isn’t to mention it’s uninteresting – it actually isn’t – but it surely’s when the immediately ends and the primary nook seems that the SL displays its dynamic steel, and the variations between new and previous SL come into center of attention.

The primary process is to step onerous at the brakes, and the 390mm discs and six-piston calipers produce a mighty preventing power. The SL sheds pace very easily. On the similar time, it’s simple to are expecting the pedal force required, and bleed it off no doubt as you begin to flip in. And the automobile desires to show in. The entrance axle is alert and the wheelbase foreshortened via the usual rear-wheel steerage, which makes the automobile really feel nimble and keen to rotate. And because of the usual AMG Journey Keep an eye on, while you crank the dampers as much as Game + you’re now not being worried concerning the inertia because the lateral load transitions from one aspect to the opposite. Put merely, it’s strong and confident.

Certainly a few of that comes from the suspension’s design and set-up fairly than just ramping up the damping fee. Delve into the specifications and there’s obviously been some effort prolonged right here, with communicate of trimming the unsrpung mass via the usage of cast aluminium suspension hyperlinks, steerage knuckles and hub carriers. And the SL rides on metal springs, now not air luggage, and a brand new tempering procedure has lowered the load of the ones as neatly – with out, we’re advised, impinging on efficiency. For the primary time on a manufacturing Mercedes-AMG there’s even a five-link entrance suspension design to compare the multi-link set-up on the rear. That’s all about retaining the camber and observe tightly managed because the lateral so much ramp up.

The steerage isn’t animated like a 911’s, but it surely doesn’t go away you guessing. While you begin to flip in there’s sufficient heft to let you know what’s occurring, and because the so much construct it’s simple to sense how a lot grip the entrance tyres are mustering. My simplest factor was once how the steerage is geared. To start with, it’s predictable and linear, however there’s a undeniable level when it switches up a tools and all of sudden you’re heading against the apex manner faster than meant. Whether or not that’s one thing you’ll be able to dial into, I don’t know, as a result of I didn’t have sufficient laps to determine.

I did a few slower laps, simply to realize as a lot perception as conceivable making an allowance for the loss of street miles. I will be able to let you know, for example, that at 70-80mph there’s reasonably a large number of wind noise with the roof up from the window seal subsequent to my ear. At the plus aspect, while you drop the roof – which takes 15 seconds and is finished from a swipe icon at the contact display, that means but any other bodily button has disappeared – it’s now not that blustery in any respect. You simply get much more bluster from the engine, in order that’s two giant ticks. Is the trip too onerous? I haven’t were given the foggiest. I did take a look at the Convenience mode however because the dealing with direction isn’t representatively coarse, now not like a real-world street at any fee, I am not making any particular statements past it felt high-quality from what I’ve skilled up to now.

And general, that have has left me inspired. I love the brand new SL for the entire causes I didn’t similar to the closing one. It’s prettier and feels smarter within, too, and it’s great to sit down in a Mercedes that turns out neatly screwed in combination. In that sense, it’s aping the grand SLs of previous, just like the R107 and R129, however how it drives – how it feels gentle and nimble, unquestionably brings to thoughts the sooner fashions. I’m now not reasonably in a position to log off with ‘The SL lives as much as its iconic standing’ – I’d want a extra whole street check to move that a long way, and that’s the reason nonetheless to come back. However from what I’ve noticed and heard up to now, it doesn’t seem to let the aspect down.

Specification | 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL 55 4Matic+ Top rate Plus

Engine: 3,982cc, V8, twin-turbo
Transmission: nine-speed auto, four-wheel pressure
Energy (hp): 476 @ 5,500-6,500rpm
Torque (lb toes): 516 @ 2,000-4,500rpm
0-62mph: 3.9 seconds
Most sensible pace: 183mph
Weight: 1,970kg
MPG: 21.9 (WLTP)
CO2: 292g/km (WLTP)
Value: £147,475 (£152,275 as examined)