Mercedes SL (2012): first spy shots inside the new SL

Published: 19 July 2010

Our long lenses in Death Valley have captured the latest batch of spy photos of the next Mercedes SL convertible. The coupé-convertible is due in March 2012 and is codenamed R231.

We've already snapped the new SL winter-testing (see links left), but this time we've stolen a quick peek inside the new Merc SL.

What does the cabin look like on the new 2012 SL?

Steady on! This was a rather hastily grabbed, telephoto lens spy shot, so it's only a brief sneak inside the SL. But we can see round, heavily chromed air vents and the usual array of Merc switchgear. Is the indicator multi-stalk decked out in chrome too? Looks like it, judging by this reflection. And just check out the chunky girth of that steering wheel! Looks like an M3's helm...

It's also clear to see that Mercedes is sticking with its tried-and-tested two-piece folding hard top, and with all the windows down you can tell the SL will stick with frameless doors for that full open-air experience even with the roof up and the glass stowed.

What's the big picture with the new SL?

The current SL will cease production in December 2011 and CAR understands that the 2012 SL was co-engineered alongside the SLS, so a great deal of the aluminium construction know-how is likely to be shared.

A suite of V6, V8 and – for the booming, oil-rich markets – V12 engines will be offered again, and CAR predicts that the SL may break with convention and offer a diesel alternative too in the quest for higher mpg and lower CO2.

Mercedes: the mini SLS

Speaking of SLS, Stuttgart has been blown away by the success of the new gullwing. It's now planning to add a junior SLS to fit between SLK and SL. Dubbed SLV, it will be powered by a new V6 codenamed E35DELA and capable of up to 408bhp in twin-turbo guise.

The SL and SLV are likely to share a new nine-speed automatic transmission dubbed NG3 which uses two wet clutches, like the SLS supercar.

The SLV is likely to land in spring 2014, after a Frankfurt 2013 show debut.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet