In one of the worst pieces of weight-saving-related news we’ve ever heard, Mercedes-Benz is said to be pondering a fundamental change for the next-generation SL and SLK to make them lighter. They are, reportedly, going to do that by replacing the cars’ signature retractable hardtop with a soft top.
We are all for lightness and simplicity, but this seems to us like a terrible idea. The folding hardtops of Mercedes SL and SLK are their defining feature. Without them they’d be like normal drop-tops, no better than the numerous other models out there.
These changes are apparently planned for the next generation of Mercedes SL and SLK, which are due in 2020-21. So they are a long way away and who knows what happens until then. Someone may invent an engine that runs on boiled eggs, and all the concerns about fuel economy would be forgotten.
But until then, Mercedes is going to stick to the plans. They are going to give the SL a new in-line six 3.0 liter engine, and a new four-cylinder unit to the SLK. Despite the downsizing, both engines will make considerably more power than their predecessors.