Motoring with Tony Conlon: New year newcomer from Mercedes
Just when I thought some of the fun had gone out of the motor industry, Mercedes-Benz has announced the introduction of its new AMG SL, a car that will have many wishing for a financial windfall.
The German manufacturer has got its new year off to a sparkling start with the introduction here of the new AMG SL Roadster – the first of a series of new model arrivals planned for the year ahead.
Virtually unique within the world of motoring, the SL has endured as a symbol of elegance and style ever since it first arrived on the scene as the 300SL Roadster almost 70 years ago – a model then inspired by a Grand Prix racing car that had been built two years earlier.
Reborn, according to Mercedes-AMG, as “an icon for the modern era”, the new SL offers what Mercedes-AMG calls “performance luxury” with a 2+2 seats configuration (the first since 1989) and a revolutionary interior experience that combines analogue geometry with the digital world – a combination reflected in a fully digital instrument cluster.
Visually, the new SL is everything most owners would wish it to be. With its crouching poise and ‘let’s get going’ good looks, its genetic ancestry and sporty nature are evident in every detail, not least in its AMG grille, athletic body shape and interior refinements.
Inside, a wide choice of sports or performance trim and leather coverings is offered, as is the latest-generation MBUX system, supplemented with AMG-specific content. Described by Mercedes-Benz passenger car sales manager, Ciaran Allen, as a “true legend for the future”, the new SL comes in a soft-top version which Allen says “can be opened and closed at speeds up to 60 kilometres per hour”.
Mercedes-AMG claims the new car combines the highest levels of comfort and quality in its interior, with just the right amount of sportiness. Notable features include an aviation-inspired instrument panel, a centre console with adjustable touchscreen, sculptured seats with integrated headrests, and a heated ‘air scarf’ feature that wards off chills when driving with the top open.
Initially, there will be a Mercedes-AMG 43 381hp, and two 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engines are available with 476hp or 585hp, boasting top speeds from 295km/h and 0 to 100km/h times of under four seconds in each case.
A Formula 1-inspired E-Performance hybrid with an electric power unit at the rear axle will follow. Fully variable 4MATIC+ all-wheel-drive is standard.
Prices begin from an eye-watering €238,395 for the Mercedes-AMG 43 – a figure influenced largely by the quality of manufacture and high level of specifications which most buyers will likely regard as a long-term investment, particularly amongst those focused on maintaining their purchase in pristine condition.