After more than 60 years on sale, the Mercedes-Benz SL is getting ready to change direction.
The 2021 SL will be developed by Mercedes-AMG, and will bid farewell to the heavy folding hardtop of the current car as it transforms from a heavy grand tourer into something more befitting of the Super-Leicht badge.
Spy photos from late in 2020 gave us our first look at the folding soft top on the new SL, but the latest set offers a better look at the car’s profile.
In keeping with the latest crop of Mercedes-Benz models, the new SL has slimmer lights and smoother lines than the current model. There’s also a hint of AMG GT in its rear haunches.
Development is being led by AMG, and under the skin the new SL uses a new platform – known as the Modular Sports Architecture or MSA – that will be shared with the next-generation GT range.
Power will reportedly come from a turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six or 4.0-litre V8. Both will be fitted with a 48V electrical system and a mild-hybrid setup.
The two models are expected to share components such as their suspension, steering systems, hybrid drivetrains and 48V electric architecture.
Unlike the current car, and most generations before it, the new SL will feature two rear seats inside for increased practicality.
The addition of a second row of seats has some precedent in the SL’s 66-year history.
In its second generation, the SL was available with a hard top and a fold-down rear bench that was about as comfortable as that sounds. The following R107 generation introduced a coupe variant, the SLC, which also featured a second row of seats.
The 2021 SL is also expected to borrow heavily from the latest S-Class, with the same vertical MBUX infotainment display.
Our spy photographers caught a glimpse of the cabin, which shows what appears to be a large, portrait-style touchscreen with a gloss black surround dominating the centre stack, encircled by a thin strip of brightwork.