Mercedes is currently developing the new SL roadster.
It’s been a mainstay in the German automaker’s lineup for nearly 70 years. Dating all the way back to 1954 with the original 300SL, the next-generation model is on the way, and Mercedes is taking a clean-sheet approach to its design. That goes right down to the sheet metal, and the company showed new photos illustrating the composite aluminum chassis for this brand new ‘R232’ model, set to go on sale before the end of this year.
The new architecture, comprised of aluminum, steel, magnesium and fiber composites, aims to improve rigidity while reducing weight and maintaining ride comfort. “The requirements for the bodyshell architecture of the new luxury roadster were considerable,” says Chief Technical Officer Jochen Hermann. “When we [at Mercedes-AMG’s Affalterbach facility] were commissioned to undertake the overall development of the new SL, we started from scratch, so to speak, without building on any existing structure?”
The results on paper show higher rigidity than even the AMG GT Roadster. The 2022 Mercedes-Benz SL improves torsional stiffness by 18%, while improving on transverse rigidity by 50% and longitudinal rigidity by 40%. Generational improvements in convertibles typically yield more rigid chassis’ — particularly to meet crashworthiness standards. However, the ground-up approach does bring better numbers, at least according to Mercedes’ claims, than the evolutionary approach we’ve seen with some past models.
Now, more on the actual production SL should emerge in the next few months. In addition to the chassis changes, we should see some other seismic shifts including all-wheel drive capability and hybridized powertrains.