For generations, the Mercedes-Benz SL model has been tagged by many car enthusiasts as one of the few timeless cars that have left a mark in the hearts of people. It is the bread and butter of the German luxury automotive giant with combined worldwide sales amounting to billions.
The 2017 model, which Mercedes called an “inspiring” grand tourer, was the latest of the fine thoroughbred first launched in 1954. With its flowing and sweeping LED headlamps retrofitted to the contour of the reshaped grille and the retractable hardtop perfectly positioned for a sleek look, the current SL can be considered as the definition of a classic coupe or roadster.
However, even its 20-inch wheel has not helped the current SL model to overtake the competition with worldwide sales going flat. Despite the lackluster performance of Mercedes-Benz’s flagship SL class model at the high-end segment over the last couple of years, the German automaker said that it is still not ready to retire the brand, which has become synonymous with exclusivity and luxury.
According to Motor Authority, Dieter Zetsche, the CEO of Mercedes-Benz, revealed to attendants of the recent Geneva Auto Show that the company is now working on the seventh-generation SL grand tourer in time to taper off the production of the current model.
With Mercedes AMG-GT eating up worldwide market shares from the SL and crossover models from other luxury brand adding pressure, Zetsche—also popularly known to the auto industry as Dr. Z—said that it would take “bold steps” and engineering for the German luxury automaker to recapture the attention of car aficionados.
It will be recalled that when the sixth-generation SL was released, its daring and sexy silhouette helped boost global sales more than its previous generations.
Dr. Z, however, said that the new generation SL will have to pack a lot of “wow factor” in order to stand out along with current Mercedes models and compete with other luxury car brands in the sports touring market. “The new generation SL needs to have the ‘wow’ element in it,” he said. “There is a very serious competition within Mercedes’ expanding family, as well as other models being offered by the competitors.”
Now at its fourth year of production, other top-of-the-line Mercedes models such as AMG GT C Roadster and even the S-Class Cabriolet are outclassing the SL-Class.
Will it be worth the wait?
Apparently, Mercedes-Benz is not looking to extend the production of the current SL model (R231 project).
The division of Daimler AG said that the wait for the newer and better SL model would be announced soon, adding that it has started testing the concept vehicle.
AMG engineers, according to Dr. Z, have been hands-on with the seventh-generation SL model round the clock. Initial testing showed that the new SL will be smarter, faster and more agile than its predecessors as materials and engine designs have gotten way ahead compared in 2013 when it was first launched.
Once Mercedes-Benz rolls out the new model in the near future, fans of the luxury car brand will see if the upcoming SL-class will live up to the expectations coming from the outcome of its initial test and be indeed worth the wait.
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