AMG Amps Up

A new SL, and hot new hybrids from Daimler's performance division

Within the Daimler empire, AMG is now the center of all things performance. All V-8 and V-12 engine development and assembly is done at AMG’s Affalterbach factory, the Project One hypercar brings Mercedes F1 technology to the road, and the new GT/4 will joins the GT twins as a unique Mercedes-AMG product. And AMG is about to further extend its R&D contribution and vehicle development skills

Stuttgart’s product planners are currently debating whether or not to market the next-generation SL exclusively under the AMG banner. Such a move would be perfectly credible as the current SL replacement, codenamed R232, is being engineered in sync with the next-gen versions of the GT, known internally as C/R192. The project team is led by the AMG CEO Tobias Moers, who is closely connected with his predecessor at AMG and current CTO at Mercedes-Benz, Ola Kallenius.

As the AMG GTs are pure two-seat sports cars, the next-gen SL can relax a little. R232 therefore not only reportedly loses its bulky retractable hard-top, but also gains two rear seats which can accommodate more than a couple of shopping bags.

The new aluminum-intensive, front/mid-engine layout, with available air-suspension, rear-wheel steering, active stabilizer bars, and 4MATIC all-wheel drive, is set to give the new SL a much sportier character, but with interior packaging that is, thanks to an elongated wheelbase, actually less cramped than the two-door S-class.

According to an engineer familiar with the matter, we can expect the following models when the new Mercedes-AMG SL goes on sale in 2021:

• SL43: 3.0-liter straight six with 435 hp, including 48V, 20 hp mild hybrid system.
• SL53: 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 with 522 hp, including 48V, 20 hp mild hybrid system.
• SL63: 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 with 612 hp, including 48V, 20 hp mild hybrid system.
• SL73 PHEV: 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 with 612 bhp, plus an e-motor rated at 204 hp for a total of more than 800 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque.

Sources say the 73 PHEV package will also find its way into the AMG GT/4, the future S-Class, and the top of the range GLS SUV. The E-Class misses out, though insiders tip it to instead offer a pair of six-cylinder performance PHEV options good for 571 hp and 639 hp.

From what we know today, the second-gen AMG GT, due in 2022, is not listed as PHEV model. But Daimler has its EQ Power Plus componentry in the works—a combustion engine plus two small yet powerful e-motors left and right of the transaxle transmission—and this powertrain would give the car the performance is status demands, and neatly position it between the mainstream AMG performance hybrids and the ultra-exotic Project One.

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