A new lighter, sexier, and faster generation of Mercedes-Benz’ SL is reportedly under development and is expected to reach showrooms sometime in 2020. That’s what Autocar claims, adding a number of interesting preliminary facts about the revived grand tourer.
First and foremost, the eighth-generation SL will move back to a traditional fabric soft top, which will replace the complex folding hardtop of the outgoing model and the generation before it. The vehicle will ride on a brand new platform and the development process is expected to benefit from an engineering input from the AMG performance division.
The new aluminium-intensive architecture of the SL will be shared with the successor of the AMG GT, which means the two luxury sports cars will use identical axle assemblies, suspension, steering systems, 48V electric architecture, and – most importantly – hybrid powertrains. The grand tourer will reportedly receive a transaxle engine arrangement and a dual-clutch automatic transmission integrated within the rear axle.
The MSA (modular sports architecture) platform will bring several very important improvements over today’s model. These include a lower overall weight and better weight distribution between the two axles. Also, the body proportions will be inspired by the older generations of the model.
“The new platform has given us more freedom,” an unspecified source has told Autocar. “There’s more distance between the front axle and the front firewall. This gives it more traditional proportions. It’s much more shapely, especially at the rear, because it is no longer dictated in height and width for the packaging of the hard-top roof.”
A range of hybridised petrol engines is in the cards for the revived SL, including a range-topping SL63 variant with an electrified V8 under the bonnet. Interestingly, Mercedes is also considering adding another member to the SL lineup. Our source claims a hardtop coupe, inspired by the SLC produced between 1974 and 1981, could be in the works, but nothing can be confirmed at the moment.