Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week: Mercedes brings back the SL with a sportier purpose, the new Range Rover is here and ready for electrification, some other coverage from the week, plus your news.
2022 Mercedes-AMG SL
It’s not often that we get to talk about a new Mercedes SL. For how much of a mainstay the roadster has been in the long and storied history of the brand, this is only the seventh generation of the car. Seems like it would be much more than that. But nevertheless, the luxurious GT cruiser is changing quite a bit this time around. It’s being reworked and refocused into a bit of a Porsche 911 competitor. Which is weird because that’s what the AMG GT was supposed to do.
Regardless, this new SL takes a more old school approach. Gone is the complicated and heavy folding hard top in favor of a high quality cloth top. And while other brands are adding hybrid setups or downsizing engines, Mercedes-AMG has kept the V8s in place (although a hybrid is coming later). Both the SL55 and SL63 versions are powered by 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8s – the former with 469 (nice) horsepower and the latter with 577 horsepower. A nine-speed automatic is mandatory as is its variable all-wheel-drive system, a first for the model. The close ratios, quick shifting, broad power and torque bands, and AWD make for an SL that is much quicker than ever before. 0-60 mph takes as little as 3.5 seconds with the SL63 or 3.8 seconds with the SL55. Top speed hasn’t been confirmed but it’ll be fast enough.
Its chassis gets a bit of a workover as well. The SL55 gets new adjustable dampers and standard rear-axle steering while the SL63 adds Active Ride Control (hydraulic) suspension, front-axle lift, active engine mounts, and limited-slip differential. Inside, it’s all wildly new. Mercedes usually nails it with their cockpit designs and this is probably up there with the coolest of the bunch. The physical buttons aren’t completely gone, but the vertical-oriented center screen takes over for most of them. But with two rows of buttons on either side of the steering wheel and what looks to be some driving mode selectors on the bottom, you shouldn’t need to take your hands off the wheel for most regular functions. The gauge cluster is all digital as well and appears to offer many different display options. Other than that, it’s a Mercedes-AMG. It’s going to be loaded inside.
Styling-wise, you can tell immediately that this car has a new purpose in life. It retains the low, long hood that’s synonymous with the SL. But the way the car sits and how the cabin appears to be more centrally located in the chassis with shorter overhangs has drawn comparisons to the new BMW Z4. Both vehicles, while vastly different in price and performance, have seemingly gone for the same sort of reconfiguration. Both were known for being casual cruisers and have evolved into something a little more performance-focused. For what it’s worth though, I think this looks way better than the Z4 or any recent generation of SL for that matter. It looks fabulous and it looks like it’ll be great to drive. Whether or not they can take any lunch money from the 911 remains to be seen.
[Source: Mercedes-AMG via Jalopnik]
2022 Land Rover Range Rover
Unlike the Mercedes-AMG SL, the 2022 Land Rover Range Rover is not dramatically different. At least not when you look at it from the outside. There are major changes to be found but they’re all below the lightly reworked surface. It’s been designed with electrification in mind and offers loads of new tech and luxury features, as you’d expect.
The updates begin with some new modular architecture called “MLA-Flex” which brings new refinements to the Rangie as well as a new Long Wheelbase version in addition to the standard wheelbase. This means the Range Rover can have a four, five, or seven-seat interior layout. It also allows for a wide variety of powertrains.
At launch, it’ll offer two different gas-powered engines, one as a mild hybrid setup, while a plug-in hybrid is due as a 2023 model and a battery-electric version is due as a 2024 model. The base engine will be a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six with a mild hybrid setup offering 395 horsepower and 406 lb-.ft. of torque. This is the same engine that will be used in the PHEV version along with a 38.2kWh lithium-ion battery plus a 105kW electric motor integrated with the transmission. They’re aiming for up to 62 miles of all electric range on that one. Those who want more power can opt for a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 with 523 horsepower and 553 lb.-ft. of torque. No word yet on what to expect from the full battery electric version.
The interior gets more refinements and a lot of new tech. Regardless of how many occupants you can fit inside, they’ll be more isolated from the outside than ever before. They’ve worked to reduce the cognitive load on the driver and use electronic soft-closing doors, active noise cancelling, and electric air suspension to provide the most refined experience possible for everyone inside. And while you can equip it with the nicest leather to be found, high quality and more environmentally-friendly alternatives are available too.
As far as the exterior design goes, yeah, it’s nothing dramatically different. They’ve refined its modernist design in pretty subtle ways. The front is very similar to what we have now but with slightly different grille and lower fascia treatments. The rear end is the biggest change. Overall, it’s not offensive and it’s pretty safe. They could’ve gone with the BMW route and they didn’t, so I’ll take it.
The 2022 Land Rover Range Rover is available to order now. Prices start at $104,000 for the P400 SE with the I6 Mild Hybrid and $118,700 for the P530 SE with the twin-turbo V8.
[Source: Land Rover]
Other coverage from the week
Other things happened of course besides just the new SL and Range Rover. Chevrolet had a mic drop moment with the new C8 Z06. Better looks, the most powerful naturally-aspirated V8 on the market, and serious track credentials make it the C8 we’ve all truly been waiting for. You can read up on all the details here.
What’s your automotive news?
That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.
Have a good weekend.