2022 Mercedes SL Our first driving impressions

With the new 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL, the traditional SL series has a new offshoot. This time, however, the luxury convertible is being developed by AMG engineers in Affalterbach. Ride!

Thick fog obstructs the view and the morning dew rolls in thick droplets from Jochen Hermann’s current company car – a new  Mercedes-AMG SL 2022 , which invites you to take a ride. Summer is over in the Eifel, and even in a dream nobody would voluntarily take their roadster out of the garage today. Especially not at 7:30 in the morning. Unless he’s head of technology at AMG and puts the finishing touches on a legend.

Despite the cold and uncomfortable morning hours, Jochen Hermann is therefore at the wheel of a fairly final prototype. Because time is of the essence: The Stuttgart-based company wants to officially pull the shroud from the long-awaited successor this autumn, and punctually for the start of the next open-air season, it should make up lost ground against cars like the BMW 8 Series or the Porsche 911.

Even if it looks like a pleasure ride, the project is under a lot of pressure: The SL is not just THE Mercedes par excellence and a real legend since the gullwing from the 1950s. It is also the first time that AMG has taken sole responsibility for development. And since the last two generations weren’t exactly the most successful and popular, the shot with the new 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL had to be spot on.

FIRST RIDE IN THE NEW 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL

That’s why AMG pressed the reset button and brought the new 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL back to its roots. Or at least a little closer to what was once considered the best sports car in the world. It begins with the comeback of the soft top instead of the flip-up helmet, which has crisper proportions, goes better with tradition, and should also make a few of the extra pounds disappear.

It continues with the two additional seats in the second row as in the R129, which only dwarfs would call seats inside, but which are at least suitable as additional storage space. And that ends in a driving experience that is finally engaging and inspiring again, as the first ride in the new 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL shows. “That’s why we started from scratch,” says Hermann. We may already know the engines from other AMG models.

2022 Mercedes SL

And the interior looks suspiciously like S-Class – although the dashboard has become slimmer and the digital cockpit behind the four-spoke steering wheel with its touchpads and the rotary switches for the driving modes, the exhaust flaps, and the adaptive chassis is smaller. The vertical central screen for the MBUX system is now free in front of the dashboard and can be tilted at the push of a button to avoid reflections and to increase the clarity of the new 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL.

The exhaust flaps and the adaptive chassis are smaller. The vertical central screen for the MBUX system is now free in front of the dashboard and can be tilted at the push of a button to avoid reflections and to increase the clarity of the new 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL. the exhaust flaps and the adaptive chassis are smaller. The vertical central screen for the MBUX system is now free in front of the dashboard and can be tilted at the push of a button to avoid reflections and to increase the clarity of the new 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL.

2022 Mercedes SL

COMFORT AND CONTROL

The new 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL does not present itself as an extended AMG GT in a tailor-made suit, but as a solitaire with a unique aluminum space frame on the self-supporting structure and with a different layout: To gain space in the rear, it was Gearbox moved forward and works right behind the engine. And while GT drivers: sit almost on the rear axle inside, the SL is sitting in the middle of the car, explains Hermann.

2022 Mercedes SL

This has many advantages in terms of visibility and maneuverability because even a sporty SL must remain suitable for everyday use, while in the GT everything is subordinate to the racetrack performance. The biggest difference lies in the driving behavior itself: Also, if Hermann steadfastly refuses to change seats until the official test drives towards the end of the year and does not want to give up the steering wheel, you can feel the progress already during the first ride.

Formerly powerful, but a bit slow and sunk in the clouds of comfort, the new SL sticks to the road like Pattex – and that without bothering the driver with too many details of the road surface. While a GT rumbles over manhole covers and potholes and hits every little bump in your bum, the SL soaks up all irritation, absorbs the stimulus, and enables smooth cruising, but with perfect control and confidence. No swaying, no swaying, no bumping, no bucking – just solid sovereignty at any speed.

DRIVING DYNAMICS

Deep inside the new 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL – as we can feel on the first ride – there is a fighter, it is not for nothing that the SL won the Mille Miglia and still holds the track record there. The same applies to the steering, which Hermann describes as precise and predictable without being nervous or overly sensitive. Especially on the long and winding roads that lead to the Nürburgring, he doesn’t have to strain himself too hard at the steering wheel.

2022 Mercedes SL

Once the course has been set out, the SL takes the curve smoothly and tightly without getting out of line. And when the road narrows and the curves become sharper, Hermann’s hands are still moving slowly. No comparison with the tedious work of moving the predecessor or the sometimes difficult task of keeping the GT under control, while he’s nervous like an angry dog ​​on a too-short leash towards the horizon.

The biggest surprise, however, is the armored return at the end of the photo series, when the photographer calls for another drive-by: thanks to the new all-wheel steering, the approximately five-meter-long land yacht feels almost like a small car and can be turned around without any problems at the first attempt. Even a C 63 feels bulky compared to the new 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL.

2022 Mercedes SL

2022 Mercedes-AMG SL Engine

If you ask Hermann about the drive of the new 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL during the first ride, the still talkative AMG boss quickly becomes tight-lipped and the chatting mood is suddenly gone. But this engine doesn’t need any words, it speaks its language: A deep, cultivated rumble reveals the V8 as we know it from so many AMG models. Even if it doesn’t sound as aggressive and boastful as in the GT, for example. 4.0-liter displacement, what feels like a good 600 hp and all-wheel drive – this combination stands for a sprint value well under five seconds, the effortless achievement of 250 km / h, and more.

And above all for a stiff breeze when the convertible top is opened with a tap of the finger on the small button below the large screen. At least that much can be elicited from Hermann: ” he says and reminds you with a big grin of the weird but fascinating SLS well. While he’s already thinking of batteries and cables, another option hasn’t crossed his mind at all. The silky and supple V12 may once have been famous for the SL and its luxurious legacy, but it does not meet the sporty aspirations of the new generation.

Not to mention its carbon footprint and the heavyweight on the front axle, which would upset the car’s perfect balance. “And even if we were to consider this option, the engine would simply not fit under the bonnet,” Hermann nullifies any hope of a return of the SL 65 or SL 73 in the new 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL.

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