MercedesBenz R230 SL Roadsters motoring com au

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Sl 500 r230


Mercedes-Benz R230 SL Roadsters 2008)

International Launch

Monica, USA

What we liked

engaging drive

Interior

ABC suspension defies physics

Not so

Nose job is just that

ratio steering not as good as AMG

Engine/Drivetrain/Chassis: 3.0/5.0

Price, and Practicality: 3.0/5.0

Safety:

Behind the wheel: 3.5/5.0

3.0/5.0

Mercedes’ flagship SL dominates its segment like no The classy front-engined, rear-wheel two-seater is quite simply the choice when it comes to high-visibility motoring.

Benz the line traces its roots back to the original 1954 300 SL — or more correctly, the 300 SL open car. While might be more marketing than a historically correct there’s no doubt the SL model are traditionally long lived. also seldom facelifted.

The generation of SL, the R230, was unveiled in and brought to the series its first hardtop — Mercedes’ The electro-hydraulic folding three-piece has quite literally changed the for top-end roadsters. We’ve the R230 on a couple of occasions, recently when Benz a seven-speed SL 350 to the mix (more here ).

Now years on from its initial Mercedes has refreshed the SL. And rather score a new model nomenclature, the car its R230 nameplate. The obvious is the new face, and perhaps more there have been under the skin to make the car a and more engaging drive.

Mercedes says the emphasis is now on sportiness and effortless superiority.

AND EQUIPMENT

Four SL models be launched in the US and European markets the 350, 500 and 600 models are joined by a new 280. At this stage uncertain whether Mercedes will add the 170kW 280 to its local

No local pricing or specifications been announced for the updated These details will closer the new SL range’s local in July (2008). Nevertheless, insiders say we can expect prices to though not markedly. Currently the 350 the range off at $218,000. The V8-engined 500 is at $301,000 with the V12 biturbo currently $376,000.

Given the part-million-plus pricetags, levels will remain All the mod-cons you’d expect, full electric, heated (cooled too on some models), soft leather upholstery, and the of dash and console finishes at extra cost) come

Though in overseas markets like the SLK-sourced Airscarf heating and high-level COMAND APS satnav audio system Harmon Kardon ‘Logic surround sound) are optional, the SL arrive Down Under all the equipment you’d expect a flagship sporty.

ADR regulations however, we miss out on the SL’s new Lighting System. The system’s bi-xenon headlamps activate modes (country, motorway, fog lamps, cornering light and active light function) When the active light is activated, the headlamps pivot in with the steering angle bends, which Merc enables drivers to see 25m further a long bend than is the with conventional dipped

The SLs follow a simple formula a solid platform with independent suspension front and a big engine up front coupled an automatic transmission and rear drive. Brakes are four-wheel

There’s been no radical this time around, there are two headline mechanical — the new Direct-steer variable steering system and the new Sportmotor of Mercedes-Benz’s 3.5-litre V6 petrol

Direct-steer is essentially Merc’s of BMW’s Active Steering Though it works in a different (it uses the Australian-designed Bishop ratio steering rack than the BMW’s servo/gear it delivers the same result. is, the steering is quicker the more you wind on.

Thus the car feels responsive in the cut and thrust of the sporty but there’s less need for of lock when you’re

It’s interesting that BMW’s M division or Mercedes’ AMG use the variable ratio tillers. driven the SL and SL-AMGs back-to-back we can the latter has a more ‘pure’ experience with much feel. There’s not a lot wrong the new SL set-up just the same.

The 350 is the ‘hero’ engine in the updated SL (and hence was the only one of the cars we drove at the launch, see both the 500’s 285kW/530Nm V8 and the 600’s behemoth 380kW/830Nm twin turbo V12 are carried The 280’s powerplant is the same 3.0-litre V6 you’ll find in the C

Though based on the existing V6 series, the 350 Sportmotor has been to provide a more accelerative and powerplant. There’s been an power increase from 200 to (at 6500rpm) and the engine revs — all the way to 7200rpm. Peak is up 10Nm to 360Nm — well up in the rev range, at 4900rpm

The 0-100km/h sprint has therefore trimmed 0.4sec and Mercedes it’s eked out some mileage from the V6 despite its neddies. In the ECE combined test it is to be 0.4L/100km better than (9.9L/100km versus 10.3).

For the Benz has also trimmed the 500 and fuel consumption by the same They’re not quite as abstemious — at 11.9 and 13.9L/100km

Mercedes says the Sportmotor’s and exhaust system has been to offer a little more pleasure. To be frank we didn’t a hell of a lot of difference — a symphonic Alfa V6 all of a sudden, it

The 3.0-litre 280 V6, the Sportmotor and 500 V8 are mated to the version of Mercedes’ own 7G-Tronic auto which in the 350 application now a ‘double-declutching’ throttle-blip function on when used in manual Benz says the function the shifts, but we just dig the sound.

The 600 with its five-speed auto the only ‘box able to the biturbo’s mountainous torque.

Benz’s Active Body (ABC) electronically controlled suspension is optional on the 280 and 350 in Europe, the system to be fitted across the Down Under. ABC automatically for body pitch, roll and yaw and the damping settings for the road It also allows Mercedes’ to ultimately tune in different characteristics to the car(s) as they see (see ON THE ROAD below)

In trim, the 280 and 350 get 17-inch wheels while the 500 and 600 step up to 18s. likely, however, that delivered cars will a higher grade of alloys as

The R230 refresh is quite a facelift. Aimed at making the car more aggressive, the SL’s new (which Merc says us a hint at the flavour of upcoming like CLK and E-Class) uses that hark back to the 300s. In particular, they your attention to the prominent horizontal element of the grill and the longitudinal ‘powerdomes’ in the bonnet.

The are an unusual design with facetted and curved edges. The are necessary as Mercedes has carried the front guards from the model. The new side vents fill the spaces used in the car, and if you look carefully at the edge of the headlamps you’ll they match the profile of the ‘peanut’ lamps.

New, exterior mirrors are fitted and indicator repeaters.

At the rear been even less The taillights are essentially carried and changes are limited to the new bumper, a lower diffuser-style detail Benz says adds a touch… Oh, and new trapezoidal exhaust — which are designed to widen the body.

The result is a car that is hard to pick the model it supersedes — when viewed from of the A-pillar. In fact, there’s remarkably few ‘hard’ parts on the car. It seems Benz is the big stuff for the next generation SL with a lighter, alloy-rich is expected in 2011-12.

Inside, more differentiation fortunately. The SL strictly as a two-seater, however, is the dual-cockpit look, replaced by a contemporary, flatter dash incorporates the existing model’s Or at least switchgear that the same.

There’s a fresh leather steering wheel and a instrument cluster and binnacle help with the ‘sports’ New seats feature more bolstering than the last however, as Mercedes-Benz head of and long-time SL owner Hand-Dieter told the Carsales Network, the SL a companion for the whole day not just a squirt.

The trademark folding is one of the fastest on the market — away in less than Fresh-air fiends will be to extend their topless thanks to the SLK-sourced Airscarf heating system.

The new SL’s APS package (Merc’s more version of iDrive) includes the voice-control system which says has the ability to recognize a of words per function. This it easy to use, says the

SL’s safety levels are As you’d expect from the SL features all the current state of the art safety systems including a rollover bar — activated if the onboard computers detect an or imminent rollover.

Hefty discs, the latest generation of ABS and Benz’s updated ESP stability are all standard.

Sl 500 r230

The SL has not been EuroNCAP Driver/passenger airbag and head/thorax are fitted standard.

Bi-xenon are standard across the range, but as noted Australian regulations Benz offering the Intelligent System on local SLs.

The combatant the SL has faced is Porsche More recently Aston has started to encroach on its turf its models. We’d like to you which one, but we can’t them apart.

In the Italian Maserati has lifted the lid on its Spyder and XKR attracts a small number of If the bigger-engined SLs are your poison, like Ferrari and Bentley into play as well.

The edge of the new SL is likely an answer to the success of Porsche and the inroads by Aston of late. Benz many of its SL customers come via and stay. Those who felt the car was just a touch ‘soft’ may now another look. If the ‘base’ SLs enough to sway them, the models should certainly get attention.

ON THE ROAD

Mercedes-Benz sought to sharpen the SL’s in its latest guise, without the two-seater into an all-out At the risk of being accused of the marketing bumpf, the SL performs much as advertised. Largely we can it’s mission accomplished.

It take a back-to-back drive of old and new to separate their traits. the luxury of that we’ll to rely on some pretty seat-of-the-pants memories of the ‘old’ SL to gauge the abilities of the new vehicle.

The V6 has sufficient get up and go to make the SL quick, a relative paucity of torque it’s not going to challenge the of considerably cheaper cars as BMW’s twin-turbo 3 Series There are, of course, more powerful options including AMG cars if outright is important.

At the 2000m-plus altitudes we encountered the drive, the engine started to the SL’s not inconsiderable 1825kg weight). The car was far from breathless, but progress required more use of the and plenty of revs. Contrasting the curves of the new 350 Sportmotor and the ‘old’ engine almost all the benefits are up top hence the revs.

Where the V6 into its own is the sense of proportion and of the car. Coupled with the front end, the SL350 is a corner carver and unlike the generation retains that and agility even in fast of direction.

The drive route us through the backstreets and boulevards of before tackling the sinuous, tarmac of the Angles Crest On the super smooth, grippy and even on the more frost surfaces on the way to Silverwater Lake in the San Mountains to the northeast of Los Angeles, the SL at home.

Rolling on Dunlop the cars had prodigious grip and a of poise up to quite elevated

Though there is little feel, the response is rewarding. The ratio steering weights up off centre — this is in to the propensity of some previous models to go light in your

In isolation you’d praise the Driven back-to-back with the but linear steering fitted to the AMG of the SL, we would always opt for the latter. feel, more confidence and consistency of response.

When you do on the Active Body Control SL defaults to light understeer. says it tunes the chassis to a touch of oversteer at lower (under 100km/h) — the great turn-in. Through to 140km/h the chassis response is and over that there’s understeer. The changes are subtle than manifest.

The ESP system is unobtrusive and does not intervene you’re deliberately hamfisted. We to leave the Active Body in standard rather than mode, with no complaints

The auto is a good match to the though on the curvy bits it can be a too eager to hold gears in S mode. Better to leave it to its own in C (comfort) or take over the and use it in M (manual) mode.

Given it’s got seven to play with, there seems to be an inordinate gap between and third gear. As noted perhaps due to the power-sapping altitude and grades of the test route, at we found the second-third ‘gap’ often than most.

spring has come early year, so even though was snow on the ground the air temperatures in the mid-teens in the mountains. No test for the system — we were likely to need our SL’s seats.

We peeled off the lid for at least of the 350km test route and can there’s still considerable noise at anything over — there are no doubt convertibles on the market today. even without the (manual) in place is well controlled, With the ‘net curtain’ there’s barely a zephyr to the locks. Not that such trouble your correspondent.

The seats are great, with purchase to keep you in place not so much that longer become painful. There’s an level of luxury and comfort the cabin that at least in justifies the hefty entry

As noted above, Mercedes-Australia is yet to its pricing for the SL range, however, expect the car to arrive at less the current $220K. The question the pricetag asks is whether choose to own a single SL over, a prestige sedan and an M3 or similar sporty…

Clearly given the of Mercedes flagship roadster the over, plenty would…

To on this article click

Published. Tuesday, 18 March

Sl 500 r230
Sl 500 r230
Sl 500 r230
Sl 500 r230

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