70 years ago, Mercedes began testing the genesis of its roadster line: the 300 SL.
Timely, isn’t it? The R231-generation SL-Class is bowing out after a decade in production, and what you’re seeing drift around in the snow above is its replacement. The news comes right on the 70-year mark from the period Mercedes began testing the car that started it all: the legendary 300 SL roadster. While that car started its testing run on the German Autobahn, this one is wrapping up its final stages of development in the snowy Swedish wilderness.
Specifically, Mercedes is working on fine-tuning the new car’s all-wheel drive system — a first in the SL roadster range. The car’s soft-top roof also has to withstand a series of harsh conditions, to include keeping drivers warm in the frozen Arctic. You know, should you feel the urge to take your Mercedes roadster out onto a frozen lake, the automaker has you covered. After winter testing concludes, the car will see a stint on the Nürburgring Nordschleife before finally making its debut later this year.
The SL-Class is in a one-year hiatus, with the last of the R231s coming out for the 2020 model year. That means no 2021 version, before the 2022 finally emerges onto the scene. As far as we know, the car should have at least Mercedes’ slick new 3.0-liter inline-six engine. With 429 horsepower (at least in the AMG ’53’ models), the new SL should have plenty of shove for most people. The German automaker may bring in a four-pot turbo — the SLC’s departure leaves a gap to fill, remember — but we’ll have to wait and see on that one. At the top of the range, we should also see the AMG SL63 roadster in all its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 glory with anywhere from 577 to around 600 horsepower.