Max Hoffman would’ve been impressed, again
The one big difference between the original Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (W198) and its successors is that the latter lost the now-iconic gullwing doors (except for its spiritual successor SLS), which kinda made the recent models (R230 and R231) redundant in Mercedes-Benz lineup and the value of the original SL go up. People couldn’t find a good reason to pick the SL over an SLC or a GT Roadster or an S-Class Cabriolet. Needless to mention, they were no longer “Super-Leicht” (Super Light).
However, the upcoming R232 model which recently finished its winter testing in Sweden, hopes to remain true to its great-grandfather’s name as much as possible. You see, the original road-going SL was carved out from a race car of the same name, which was built around an aluminium tube space frame that was carried over to the road car.
What we’re seeing above is a 2022 iteration of the original aluminium space frame. According to the company, not a single component was taken from the preceding SL model or even from the GT Roadster. It has been created from scratch, says Jochen Hermann, Chief Technical Officer of Mercedes-AMG.
The development team in our bodyshell design area was faced with an extremely appealing, but also challenging task: when we were commissioned to undertake the overall development of the new SL, we started from scratch, so to speak, without building on any existing structure. – Jochen Hermann
While aluminium is the majority content in the chassis, steel, magnesium and fibre composites (glass fibres and carbon) have also been used as supporting structures. Compared to the previous models, the torsional stiffness of the bodyshell structure is claimed to be up by 18%. Compared to the GT Roadster, the transverse rigidity and longitudinal rigidity are claimed to be up by 50% and 40% respectively.
The weight of just the bodyshell without doors, bonnet and boot lid, as well as without any add-on assembly parts, is around 270 kg (595 lbs), Mercedes said. Well, it certainly looks like Max Hoffman (1904-1981) would’ve been impressed, for the second time.
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