2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 53 plug-in hybrid spied

Mercedes-AMG has been spied testing what's believed to be second plug-in hybrid version of its SL roadster.

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It looks like yet another version of the Mercedes-AMG SL roadster in the works.

Our spy photographers have captured what’s believed to be a second plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version of the new SL roadster that could slot underneath the so-called SL 63 E Performance, which was recently spied.

It’s unclear what Mercedes-AMG will call this particular plug-in hybrid SL model, but our spy photographers have referred to the prototype as the SL 53.

If this name is correct, this means the SL 53 would sit above the electrified four-cylinder-powered SL 43 in the current roadster lineup, but below the V8-powered SL 55 and SL 63.

It’s also unclear what’ll power the Mercedes-AMG SL 53 but one option is a version of the four-cylinder petrol plug-in hybrid powertrain from the next-generation C63.

Mercedes-AMG has previously confirmed it’s re-engineered the AMG A45‘s M139 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine for longitudinal applications and will use it in the AMG C-Class range.

It’s been reworked and pumps out more power than before.

In the C63, the plug-in hybrid powertrain will produce 500kW of power and 750Nm of torque.

The hotter SL 63 E Performance on the other hand is expected to come with the same plug-in hybrid powertrain that features in the AMG GT 4-Door, making up to 620kW and 1400Nm when its 4.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V8 and electric motor are working in unison.

The launch range of the Mercedes-AMG SL roadster is powered exclusively by a 4.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V8 engine, making either 350kW and 700Nm in SL55 guise, or 430kW and 800Nm in the SL 63.

The only visual difference this particular SL 53 prototype has in comparison to the previously-spied SL 63 E Performance prototype are the circular, quad exhaust outlets instead of squared-off units.

In current Mercedes-Benz design language, circular tail pipes are typically a visual indicator of a less-powerful variant.

Like the previously-spied SL 63 E Performance prototype, there’s a charging flap on the right-hand side of the rear bumper. It’s partially covered with black tape but is still visible.

The next-generation SL rides on a completely new aluminium composite spaceframe platform known as Modular Sports Architecture (MSA) that’ll also underpin the next AMG GT two-door coupe.

Mercedes-AMG says the torsional stiffness of the body shell has increased by 18 per cent over the previous SL.

Inside the SL, there’s a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, as well as a 11.9-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen infotainment system.

This infotainment screen is familiar to the Mercedes-Benz range, and is able to tilt at inclinations from 12 to 32 degrees.

Mercedes-AMG will announce pricing for the 2023 SL range closer to its Australian arrival in the second half of 2022.

The company is continuing to expand the SL line, recently teasing a Maybach concept version of the SL, as well as an exclusive Mythos Series version.

It’s unclear how different this Mercedes-Maybach SL concept will look compared to the regular Mercedes-AMG SL roadster, but it has classic Maybach chrome grille, a three-pointed star emblem, imprinted Maybach logos, and a two-tone read and black colour scheme.

The Mythos Series edition, in contrast, appears to be a Speedster-style version of the SL.

Mercedes-Benz is releasing more high-end vehicles as it targets higher margins.

The company says it anticipates “disproportionate growth” in what it calls its Top-End vehicle segment, citing a 40 per cent increase in S-Class sales last year plus “record” Mercedes-Maybach sales.

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MORE: Everything Mercedes-AMG SL

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Jack Quick

Jack Quick is an emerging automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Jack recently graduated from Deakin University and has previously competed in dance nationally. In his spare time, Jack likes to listen to hyperpop and play Forza Horizon.

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