A redesigned Mercedes-Benz SL-Class arrived for 2022. The SL is officially classified as an AMG and is closely aligned with the performance skunkworks’ next-generation GT sports car that’s still being developed.
For the 2023 model year, Mercedes will expand the SL lineup with an entry-level SL 43 powered by a 4-cylinder engine. It’s due in U.S. showrooms this summer, and Mercedes on Monday confirmed a starting price of $111,050, including a $1,150 destination charge.
Under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that generates 375 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. While such engine configurations aren’t new, the SL 43’s turbocharger is an electrified design similar to what’s used in Formula 1.
The same setup is also found in the new C 43 that also arrives for 2023.
Automakers have offered engines with electric compressors before, in which an electric motor is used to spin a compressor that helps deliver boost pressure to an engine during low revs, with a conventional turbocharger taking over once the revs build. The result is strong engine response from idle, something turbocharged engines don’t normally have.
In the case of the SL 43’s engine, the electric motor is integrated directly with the turbocharger, sitting between the turbine wheel on the exhaust side and the compressor wheel on the intake side. In F1, the electric motor is also used to recover energy from the exhaust when boost isn’t required, though this isn’t the case in the SL 43.
Instead, the electric motor here relies on energy recovered from the vehicle’s 48-volt mild-hybrid system. This system is essentially a beefed-up electric starter motor able to aid the engine during high loads and recover energy under braking.
Unlike the V-8-powered SL 55 and SL 63, which come with standard all-wheel drive, the SL 43 comes with rear-wheel drive only. The SL 43 also misses out on the AMG Ride Control suspension with adjustable damping as standard, though it’s on the options list.
A 9-speed automatic transmission is common to all versions of the SL. Using launch control, Mercedes claims the SL 43 will sprint to 60 mph from rest in 4.8 seconds and top out at 170 mph.
The SL 43 is visually distinguished from the SL 55 and SL 63 by unique front and rear fascias, as well as round tailpipes instead of the V-8 models’ square-shaped tips. There are also different wheel patterns for the SL 43, with the standard set measuring 19 inches in diameter.
Standard features include power heated and cooled seats with leather trim, an AMG Performance steering wheel, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and an 11.9-inch infotainment screen with a tilt function to improve visibility when there’s glare.
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