Mercedes‑AMG SL turns into speedster with PureSpeed concept

Mercedes-Benz in 2022 announced a new strategy of focusing on lower-volume but higher-margin vehicles like those offered through its AMG and Maybach sub-brands.

The strategy will also include the launch of a new Mythos series offering highly bespoke limited-edition cars. The first of these is scheduled for launch next year, and Mercedes on Wednesday provided an early look with a thinly veiled concept version dubbed the Concept Mercedes‑Benz AMG PureSpeed.

The concept was revealed in Monaco, where Mercedes’ Formula 1 team is competing this weekend in the Monaco Grand Prix. The team’s drivers, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, were on hand to help unveil the car.

As the name suggests, the concept is a pure speedster completely devoid of not only a roof but also a windshield. But the design differs from typical speedsters by integrating a halo protection system similar to what’s used in Formula 1. The halo is designed to provide protection for occupants’ heads by deflecting any large objects that may come hurtling through the air, and works with a pair of rollover hoops mounted behind the seats. Small wind deflectors also help direct airflow over the cabin, though these are expected to be replaced by a traditional windshield for the production version.

Concept Mercedes‑Benz AMG PureSpeed

Concept Mercedes‑Benz AMG PureSpeed

The front of the car features a more pronounced nose compared to the standard SL, which Mercedes said was inspired by the design of the AMG One hypercar. New aerodynamic elements also feature, including the extended front splitter, side curtains, and wheel covers, all made from carbon fiber. The front wheel covers are open to aid airflow to enhance brake cooling and increase downforce, while the rear wheel covers are completely closed off to help reduce turbulence.

For the concept’s livery, the number 10 references the racing number of the Mercedes driven to victory by Christian Werner in the 1924 Targa Florio. The red paint is also a nod to that victory from a century ago. Werner’s car was painted red to match the traditional racing color used by Italian cars, instead of the white paint used by German cars. According to Mercedes, this was done to deter Sicilian locals from impeding the car’s progress in the race.

Inside the concept, there’s bespoke trim as well as a custom dash-mounted clock designed by watch company IWC Schaffhausen, a partner of Mercedes.

Concept Mercedes‑Benz AMG PureSpeed

Concept Mercedes‑Benz AMG PureSpeed

No details on the powertrain or chassis were revealed. The standard SL’s output currently tops out at 805 hp in the SL 63 S E Performance plug-in hybrid grade.

The production version of the PureSpeed concept will be limited to 250 units, Mercedes has confirmed. Build slots will only be offered to what Mercedes described as its “most dedicated” customers, similar to how limited-edition models from brands like Ferrari and Lamborghini are marketed.

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