It’s come a long way, baby. Where the original featured a horizontal strip with a few major controls huddled near the driver, the 2021 edition gets a ginormous central touchscreen that wouldn’t look out of place in your front room.
Welcome inside the new Mercedes-AMG SL. Please wipe your hands before entering.
Mercedes’s iconic nameplate is making a return, this time as an AMG product, and the interior showcases what the company calls its ‘hyperanalogue’ interior: an attempt to fuse the utterly superb and timeless minimalism of the original 300 SL Roadster with MB’s wealth of technological expertise.
To the latter, your eyes can't have deviated much from that central screen. Just like in the S-Class, the new AMG-SL gets a big touchscreen betwixt driver and passenger. Here, it’s 11.9in in size, framed by a pair of ‘turbine nozzle’ fans, and can be electrically adjusted into a more vertical position to avoid sunlight glare.
The driver gets a 12.3in, ‘aviation-inspired’ instrument panel, and the SL get the latest generation MBUX; indeed, that S-Class reference was relevant, because some operating structures in this new SL correspond to the Big Benz. AMG-specific content arrives in the form of ‘Performance’ and ‘Track Pace’ menu items.
Naturally, both displays can be personalised, and there’s the option of a HUD, too. That’s the software covered, but what about the hardware, you might feasibly ask? Mercedes says the seats – featuring integrated headrests – offer ‘perfect’ ergonomics and various seam and attachment patterns to emphasis the new SL’s sporty, luxury remit.
It’s officially a ‘2+2’ – the first time since 1989’s R129 SL debuted – with Mercedes saying the rear is acceptable for those up to 4ft 11in. Though, the pictures suggest otherwise… In any case, if rear seating space isn’t required, Merc offers a draught-stop, or you can just sling a few bags back there.
Burmester speakers hide in the door panels, themselves flowing “fluidly” from the instrument panel. Mercedes even says that the centre of the door – and we’re not kidding here – “is designed as a sensual layered topography”. Ahem. Just drop the roof, or busy yourself with one of 64 different interior ambient light colours. That’ll drown it all out.
Daimler Group’s design boss Gorden Wagener reckons this new SL features a “revolutionary interior experience caught between digital and analogue luxury”. There's a shot of the original below, just for reference...