New 2021 Mercedes SL: AMG GT twin snapped testing

Published: 24 January 2020

► New Mercedes SL
► Latest scoop photos and intel
► Developed by AMG, twinned with GT

This is our first glimpse of the new eighth-generation Mercedes-Benz SL, historically the most prestigious pinnacle of the three-pointed star’s range. It is due to launch in 2021.

Last year we spotted a platform and powertrain mule testing under the body of a shorter Mercedes E-Class; now we've got new pictures of the SL wearing its own skin. 

Twinned with the AMG GT

Tellingly, the car maker is twinning this two-door with AMG’s next-generation GT coupe and roadster, to get better economies of scale. AMG boss Tobias Moers revealed both models are set to ride on what is known internally as the Modular Sports Architecture (MSA).

GT oily bits should mean, by extension, that the SL will be a sharper steer, although Merc will be sure to tune it for more boulevardier duties than its more focused twin from Affalterbach. 

These latest spy shots show how AMG GT DNA is coming to the surface of the new SL, not just its underpinnings. Just look at those snippets of lights and overall styling. We're expecting the relationship to be something similiar to the one between the new CLS and more-thuggish AMG GT four-door.

AMG chief Tobias Moers is on record in an interview calling the new SL-Class ‘far sportier’ than today’s model, adding that it will have a ‘perfect compromise between driving dynamics and comfort because it’s still kind of a cruiser, too.’

The tech onboard: Merc SL gets aluminium body, 4wd

Twinning these two means the departure of the coveted transaxle layout. On the bright side, mating engine and transmission makes room for the 4Matic all-wheel drive system. 

New 2021 Mercedes-Benz SL spy photos

Electric plug-in SLs and more

Electrification plays a big role in the gestation of the two sports cars masterminded by AMG. While the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle option (PHEV) offers a zero-emission range of 30 miles, the EQ Boost technology reserved for the top-of-the-line version boasts a 250kW electric power pack that straddles the differential. 

We’re told the e-motors and batteries warrant almost exactly the same weight distribution as the transaxle layout. While AMG keeps the trademark V8, the SL models make do with the straight six (plus e-power) and there’ll be a four-cylinder on steroids powertrain available too.

By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel