Colleague from the auto motor und sport magazine was co-driver in the new Mercedes SL while AMG’s head of technical development, Jochen Hermann, was behind the wheel. First impressions.

Photos: Auto motor und sport

It is a historic moment. Colleague from auto motor und sport magazine participated at the first test drive as a co-driver with the new Mercedes SL. Behind the steering wheel was the AMG head of technical development, Jochen Hermann. Mercedes SL is the oldest series in the Mercedes range. The first representative of this series appeared in public 69 years ago on a frosty March morning on the Stuttgart-Heilbronn motorway.

It is the first time that the new Mercedes SL appears almost completely unmasked. We were not present at the first test drive but we are in the assent of the auto motor und sport journalist who said that the car looks more compact and more muscular than its predecessor and has unmistakable Mercedes elements.

We would add that the new Mercedes SL looks less tall and closer to the ground. It’s not a simple impression because the new SL is no longer based on the E-Class platform but on a new platform, MSA (Modular Sports Architecture), developed by AMG for SL and the future AMG GT.
In fact, the substructure of the new SL, code name R232, is 100% new. The roadster is based on an aluminum space frame on which a self-supporting construction rests. This solution has clear advantages offering high rigidity and low weight. The return to the solution with the soft-top roof also contributes to the low weight.

“We at AMG are aware of the huge responsibility that we are allowed to continue such a legendary series,” says Hermann, quoted by auto motor und sport.

Mercedes does not yet give details about the engines, but from under the hood of the test car we recognize the typical sound of a V8 engine that can be heard more clearly in Sport and Sport Plus modes through the four exhaust pipes.

From the passenger seat, the colleague from auto motor und sport remarks that the prototype softly overcomes bumps while the body feels very rigid and solid. After an avoidance maneuver, the car calmly returns to its trajectory, this being one of the objectives when adjusting the drive train. Thus, even in the alternating turns left and right, the car is easy to control, very stable and follows perfectly the angle of the direction. The test car runs on 21-inch wheels with 275 wide tires on the front.

The lower camouflage highlights the presence of door handles hidden in the body as in the S-Class. The first photos do not show the interior but the colleague from auto motor und sport magazine noticed that the automatic transmission lever is on the steering column as in C, E and S-Class and not on the central tunnel as in AMG GT. The three-spoke steering wheel is new as well as the two buttons under the left and right arms of the steering wheel that allow the selection of driving programs and suspension settings.

However, there will be some surprises when R232 will be presented next spring, when we will celebrate 70 years since the launch of the first SL.