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Mercedes-AMG SL Roadster

Gone are the days of a garage full of different exotics for different applications. Today’s supercar can cross deserts and mom’s taxi can ace the Nürburgring. It’s now all down to style and attitude, the complex messaging of what a car says about its owner even more complicated than it used to be. Tricky certainly, but a lot of fun deciding.

Tech-savvy Mercedes looks back even as it innovates. This year’s seductive SL, electronic tour de force though it is, is a case in point. The two-door grand tourer unashamedly references the SLs of yore in its gorgeous design, most notably the first, the uber-valuable Gullwing of 1952.

Mercedes-AMG SL Roadster 1

Gone are the angular Modernist lines of most of the previous generations, replaced by the softer organic shapes of the original Gullwing. But if design is all about yesterday, Mercedes, in conjunction with sister company AMG, has worked hard to make the SL43 today’s car, fulfilling multiple roles. Hence the company’s game-changing 4Matic drive system that ‘curates’ road conditions and offers appropriate levels of power, traction and downforce.

Mercedes-AMG SL Roadster 2

And the enormous interior screens, tablet-like, for easy access to infotainment menus. More innovation – that cabin has grown in size even as the car itself has shrunk, thanks to new, stronger composite materials that allow for less bulky furniture and linings. The same is true of the cloth roof, which replaces the previous hardtop. It’s immensely strong, far lighter and noise filtration is reduced. The benefits to fuel consumption are obvious.

Mercedes-AMG SL Roadster 3

On the road SL is two cars – La Dolce Vita boulevard cruiser or, at the twist of a knob, Fast & Furious, a hardcore track star, complete with performance monitors, race graphics and ground-hugging solidity. White knuckle hooliganism isn’t what SL is all about, but it’s nice to know it can play the part when asked.

by Peter Frost


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