Almost 70 years after the legendary Mercedes-Benz 300 SL debuted, the development of the new SL generation is for the first time completely in the hands of Mercedes-AMG – The enthusiasm and expectations are unparalleled. We speak with Jochen Hermann and Dennis Heck of Mercedes-Benz Classic.
In 1952, there was little reason for many motorsport enthusiasts to celebrate. Why? Mercedes-Benz. In the early 50s, the brand decided to return to racing – and pulled away from the pack. The 300 SL, developed by gifted engineers, stepped onto the world stage. A legend was born. And who would have thought that it would hit the road as a production car just two years later?
Nearly 70 years of uninterrupted history later, a new chapter beckons. For the R 232 series, the development of the SL is in the hands of Mercedes-AMG for the first time. Great hands at that, of course, because as Jochen Hermann, Technical Managing Director at Mercedes-AMG, says: "We have to put a car on the road that makes everyone say, Wow, an icon is back – and it's still an AMG"
The new "made by AMG" SL has big tires to fill. After all, this is not the first car to be developed entirely by AMG. Before it came the SLS and the subsequent Mercedes-AMG GT. "But with the SL, we not only had to bring an icon into the future, but also align it with the AMG brand,” Hermann says.
Nevertheless, for generations the SL has remained committed to comfort. "A sports car doesn't have to be uncomfortable," Hermann says. "Sportiness comes through precision. You can feel that when you steer, in the way the body moves, in the fact that I'm not left in the dark even for a millisecond about what the car is doing. That's racing, accuracy, reliability; consistent behavior. And that's not to be confused with an uncomfortable, hard chassis."
Soon the new Mercedes-AMG SL will be presented to the public, and Hermann already finds occasional moments for reflection. "I get goosebumps right away," he says. "It is a car that will delight our customers in the years to come and that will definitely earn a special place in a museum at some point. We used to chase after cars like that and now I get to develop them. It's a childhood dream."