Mercedes is readying an all-new, eighth-generation SL roadster, and the German automaker wants everyone to know just how all-new it is. In the latest bit of information, the company revealed that the new SL shares not a single component with today’s SL, and that the new roadster is built on a new aluminum-intensive, space-frame architecture. The above image is a peek at what lies under the new car’s skin.
It’s somewhat surprising that Mercedes is developing a new architecture for the SL. Although the SL is an important car for the company’s brand image — it has been a halo model for the entirety of its 70-year existence — it also is a model that sells in volumes that are low and trending lower. Even well-heeled car buyers are turning their backs on ritzy, stylish convertibles in favor of still more SUVs. And Mercedes-Benz has said that it plans to reduce the number of convertible offerings in its lineup.
Pointedly, Mercedes says the new sports car, codenamed R232, is not related to the AMG GT Roadster. It could be, however, that the new SL will replace that model in addition to the current Mercedes-Benz roadster. We already know that the car will be sold as the Mercedes-AMG SL, and that it’s being repositioned as more of a true sports car and less of a grand tourer. Spy pictures (shown below) have also revealed that the car ditches the retractable hardtop in favor of a traditional soft top, and we’ve learned that all-wheel-drive will be available for the first time.
As to the new SL’s styling, we’ll have to wait to see if it improves upon the current version. Here’s hoping. For now, though, Mercedes seems to want us to appreciate the new car’s inner beauty.