New Mercedes SL Roadster: price, specs and release date

Nick Lette van Oostvoorne
August 27, 2020

The new Mercedes SL Roadster has been teased in images showing prototype cars undergoing testing.

  • Fabric folding roof expected
  • No Coupe version predicted
  • 2+2 seating expected
  • Six- and eight-cylinder engines
  • Due to go on sale in 2021

These are the first official pictures of the new Mercedes SL roadster. This new soft-top alternative to the likes of the Porsche 911 Cabriolet and Jaguar F-Type Convertible is set to go on sale next year, joining the AMG GT Coupe and Roadster at the top of the Mercedes sports car range.

A thick camouflage wrap disguises most of the new Mercedes SL’s design.

2021 Mercedes SL Roadster design

These heavily camouflaged prototypes leave a lot to the imagination, but their overall proportions make it clear the new SL Roadster will have a long bonnet, a curvaceous front end and bulging wheel arches. The headlights appear more angular than before, and the new car should feature a similar ‘Panamericana’ grille to the latest AMG GT.

The new SL’s brake light appear thinner and wider than the old car’s 

At the rear, it looks as though the new SL Roadster will sport a pair of large air vents below the brake lights – similar to the ones on an AMG GT63S 4-door – and four large exhaust pipes. These will be either round or square, depending on which engine you choose.

The new SL will feature a folding soft-top instead of the old models’ metal roof. 

2021 Mercedes SL Roadster roof

The old Mercedes SL came with a folding metal roof, but the new car is expected to go for a soft-top instead. Not only will this help make the car lighter, but the less complex mechanism should leave more space in the boot for luggage when the roof’s folded away.

Modern soft-tops feature multiple layers of sound-proofing, so you can bet it’ll be very relaxing to travel in with the roof up. Various air deflectors should help reduce buffeting when you fold the roof down – which you should be able to do at up to around 30mph.

The SL’s interior may inspiration from the AMG GT’s cabin (shown here).

2021 Mercedes SL Roadster interior

We don’t know what the new SL Roadster’s interior will look like, but Mercedes is expected to fit it with two small back seats – unlike the AMG GT, which is a strict two-seater. These extra seats will be just big enough for kids to use on short journeys – much like the back seats in a Porsche 911 Cabriolet.

Six- and eight-cylinder engines will likely be available.

2021 Mercedes SL Roadster engines

Mercedes hasn’t announced which engines will power the new SL roadster, but you’ll likely be able to choose from a range of mild-hybrid six-cylinder engines and bigger, more powerful V8 options.

The former will probably make use of the six-cylinder engines currently fitted to the Mercedes E-Class and Mercedes-AMG E53 while V8 models will use a version of AMG’s tried-and-tested 4.0-litre twin-turbo engine. As with almost all new Mercedes, the new SL Roadster will come exclusively with an automatic gearbox – most likely a nine-speed unit.

The new SL will go on sale in late 2021.

2021 Mercedes SL Roadster price and release date

These images show early prototype SL Roadsters being tested, so it’s likely the finished car won’t be ready until 2021. Expect entry-level six-cylinder models to cost from at least £70,000 while top-spec V8 versions could set you back more than £100,000.

Read our in-depth Mercedes-AMG GT review for more information on this new car’s bigger brother or check out the latest offers on the best convertible cars on sale now.