Next-Gen Mercedes SL to Lose Retractable Hardtop

Next-Gen Mercedes SL to Lose Retractable Hardtop

Aiming to reduce weight, the next-generation Mercedes-Benz SL- and SLK-Class models will lose its retractable hardtop.

Instead, the German automaker will give its luxury sports cars a conventional soft top along with a wide array of changes when it arrives on the next MSA modular platform. The new platform will not only help reduce production costs on the models but will improve weight distribution along with lowering the center of gravity.

SEE ALSO: 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLK250 Review

In terms of powertrain, the SLK will receive a range of four- and six-cylinder engines while the SL will feature Mercedes-Benz’s new 3.0-liter inline-six engine. Though nothing is confirmed, the SL will likely have around 365 hp while the SLK’s four-cylinder will offer 238 hp. The more powerful six-cylinder engine in the SLK could churn out anywhere from 333 to 435 hp.

Both models are a ways off however, as the SLK is expected in 2020 and the SL in 2021.

GALLERY: 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG


[Source: AutoNation]

Discuss this story at our Mercedes-Benz forum

  • Hmmmm – even more reason to keep an R171

  • Dale Ferguson

    With ya Woolly!

  • Michael Benner

    The retractable hardtop is one of the main reasons I want to get a SLK… A key part of that is the ability to have both a convertible roof and a glass roof in one package. You can’t get that with a soft top! Also, the retractable hardtop is just badass. It’s worth more than a little saved weight.

  • Michael Cole

    Just as Michael Benner below comments the reason to by an SLK is the retractable hard top, it looks like the car I purchased last week will be the last SLK I own.

  • rob7412

    That’s just crazy ! I’ll bet when Mercedes sees that the primary result of losing the retractable hardtop will be losing a huge portion of SL sales. I only hope that Mercedes retracts that ignorant move and goes back to producing SL’ s that people will actually want to buy. I like my Corvette convertible – I love my Mercedes hardtop convertible.

  • Royboy

    If this is true, Mercedes simply do not understand anything about its customers or the main reason people buy the SLK or SL as opposed to any one of the many other convertables that are on the market. So, in the hope that someone from the company who is in a position of influence is reading this, let me shout that “WE BOUGHT AN SLK BECAUSE IT HAS A FOLDING HARDTOP”. If I wanted a small 2-door car with good weight distribution and a low centre of gravity that behaved a bit like a sports car, I would have bought a BMW 3-series! The folding hard-top is a Unique Selling Point!

  • DaveCh

    Woolly, I am definitely keeping my SLK R171…


  • Steve Wynn

    LOVE my SLK R171. For those of us in the north, a ragtop makes no sense. I love the retractable roof. That leaves me with two options. Keep what I have, or buy another brand. Bad move, Mercedes!

  • PBG

    Quiet, warm and dry as a coupe with the top up a convertible dream with the top down. The folding hardtop is one of the truly great features of the SLK. And as for look, the R170 with the top up is as good looking as any convertible top ever. Big mistake getting rid of the hard top convertible. Shave some weight somewhere else.

  • DanaTeresa

    So just what the hell is the point of producing the SLK if it no longer has the one feature that made it an SLK? Mercedes, what has happened to you? You may still retain German engineering in your product, but something is eating the brains out of the executive department.

  • TheHogKiller

    I’ll SECOND THAT. What is the point? The hard top is what made is so friggin’ COOL. If I’d wanted a soft top I’d have bought a D@MN Mazda.

  • Karen Caponi

    What a mistake. The best part of the SLK is the retractable hardtop. I agree with others that posted. Considered a Porsche but bought the SLK because of the hardtop convertible. I guess this might be the last SLK I own.

  • JWL

    Is this an April Fools joke? Why eliminate one of the greatest features? If Mercedes was serious about performance, they wouldn’t be making so few SLK 350 and 55s… Big mistake – this is a luxury sports car, not a sports car with luxury…

  • John Macey

    If you lift the boot on my 2012 SLK when it has rain water on it, most of the water ends up in the boot, not the designed cups. Design fault I am told by my dealership, happens on SL as well apparently. Also when opening the doors the water can drip inside in the wet. Not impressed with such design faults for the latest SLK.

  • RL Gordon

    Hopefully, Mercedes will see the comments here as representative of how the market demands that the company keep its hard top convertibles. If Mercedes doesn’t, I’m afraid it will lose its market share to the BMW Z4 or Lexus SC430. The hard top convertible is non-negotiable for consumers of these roadsters. After that, the choice among these is more a matter of personal preference, brand loyalty, etc. If your preferred brand doesn’t have the non-negotiable hard top convertible, you go to your second choice that does have it. Who would capitulate on the hard top convertible in favor of a few shed pounds. I, for one, am not sophisticated enough of a driver to appreciate the lower weight of a rag top, but I am certainly capable of appreciating the aesthetics, practicality, and yes, the sexiness of the hard top convertible.

  • lonnie93041

    I was looking at Z4s and Boxsters until I took a test drive in an immaculate silver 2005 SLK with gray leather. I had no idea it was a true high performance sports car and the folding hard top made the ragtops look like half assed afterthoughts. There was no contest. I bought it on the spot and every time I walk into the garage it feels like Christmas morning.

  • Steve

    I bought my SLK because of the roof. No point having a ragtop in the UK.

    What is this rot about

    “improve weight distribution along with lowering the center of gravity.”

    May have a slight effect but who ever drives a road car hard enough to notice or need any improvement.

  • John

    I bought my SLK (R170) for the same reason. No matter who makes the soft top, it always looks skeletal and cheap. Difficult to clean, they look second-hand very quickly and nearly always have poorer visibility than a tin top and develop flappy bits and leaky bits. The vario roof is noiseless, leakless (if maintained correctly) and the car looks equally fabulous with the roof up or down. I agree the CofG argument is silly and if Mercedes want to save weight, leave out the pointless electrically adjustable seats and other van things like that.

  • John

    vain, not van – sorry

  • AlexD

    Big mistake Mercedes I won’t dare by another SL unless hardtop, period, it’s the reason I’d buy a Ferrari California over an Audi R8, hardtop, period. Are you guys going to also just put in an fm/am radio only? May save some weight.

  • Runningman

    I own an R172 SLK 55 AMG. It means I have a beautiful baby super car that I can use all year round (snow excepted). I hate driving a rag top in the winter, the extra noise from rain on the roof and general additional acoustic noise from driving through rain etc drives me mad. If they really want to reduce weight and lower the centre of gravity, then make polycarbonate roof standard, use aluminium panels (as with new SL). I assume the next AMG model will be a turbo v6 so there’s another major weight saving. The SLK is the best all rounder by far. If they remove one of the major benefits then loyal buyers will start looking at Porsche, jaguar and BMW (or may be even move away from 2 sweaters altogether). I wonder if this is just one of those stories to test customer reaction (after all change isn’t until 2020) ? Well if so, then the reaction is a very clear NO … NO … NO !!