MercedesBenz SL 350 & SL 500: International Launch motoring…

12 Фев 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »
Mercedes-Benz SL 350 Base

Mercedes-Benz SL 350 SL 500: International

All-alloy and all-new, the latest in a line of Mercedes-Benz SL roadsters its target market bullseye

SL 350 SL 500

International Launch


What we liked

Twin-turbo V8 is

Calm, quiet cockpit at

Ride and refinement of standard version

Not so much

ABC equipped handling and steering not a highlight


Roof can only be when stopped


Slimmer but not trimmer

Mercedes-Benz SLs dominated the elite roadster almost since the badge was used in 1954. Though the label described the cars as lightweight, they have for of their near-60-year history the luxury sports roadster

In more recent years have been challenged but topped (least of all in sales by models from other UK and Italian marques. The latest SL is positive the badge remains as as ever. 

For this generation Mercedes-Benz has sought to around the trend that has the SL gain mass. Though the new Series SL has more convenience, and luxury features than before, it manages to shed 130kg compared to the outgoing 

This weight loss is in a part a function of an all-new monocoque (the body-in-white is lighter) that sets the SL from lesser Benzs. AMG’s SLS uses more in its construction.

Interestingly, while the car is new to the it’s not brand new – its design was some years ago before the SLK was penned and current Benz chief Gorden Wagner over. 

Some insiders say the was political. Others suggest it was as Mercedes required more to perfect the car’s aluminium construction. 

Adding weight to the theory is SL Product chief, Rehkugler, who told blank, the techniques used in SL honed building the SLS.


— Should for little

The new generation SL will in V6 and V8 form Down Under in 2012. The V8 AMG version is on the same and an order-only V12 AMG model should hit in 

Until then Mercedes-Benz will not be talking price. to a degree, nor will it talk specification.

Pricing will be or the same as the current level, say And in this rarefied category – the SL range starts at $240,200 for the and runs through to a stratospheric for the twin-turbo V12 SL 65 AMG – you can safely assume the will not want for standard

The mod-cons you’d expect are to be standard kit – certainly in the case of the on hand for the world launch in Take outs include entry and start, the new Comand web-ready infotainment system, heated and cooled seats Airscarf neck level and a high-powered audio system full Bluetooth connectivity below).

Choices of leather and trim will be extensive, seats and the like are offered as an and there will also no be a substantial program of wheel as well as metallic and matt options.

In the words of Mercedes’ own SL options tend to be for personalisation than necessity. In this it’s not so different from the it replaces.

The new generation of SL does debut a range of goodies – in cases, however, they are for the SL, rather than firsts for the or segment. For example the (optional) Sky Control variable-opacity glass made its debut in last SLK, however, the Magic Control (a grandiosely named washer/wiper system) and FrontBass system are Benz firsts.

a first for Benz and the class is Access. Providing you have the key on person, the system provides contactless operation of the boot 

Move your foot in the of the rear bumper and the SL will and/or close its boot lid – the thing when your are full of Prada, DKNY and Hardwick bags.


Pure roadster, no +2

The SL is nothing if not roadster with a long and passenger compartment set well In this regard it’s to form for the badge and genre.

millimetres longer (4612mm) and wider (1877mm), the new car also on a 25mm longer wheelbase 

Mercedes claims the changes been made to provide room for more comfort in the Effective shoulder (+37 mm) and room (+28 mm) have increased too.

The chassis is not – but almost so. Super high-strength is used to reinforce the A-pillars and frame.

A massively complex that incorporates extrusions, sections and custom formed that are welded, riveted and together, the body in white is to be more than twice as as its predecessor. 

All external are alloy while the folding roof is a mix of glass and magnesium and 6kg lighter than the last

The roof’s still not light that Benz will it to be used on the move, however. experts say this is for safety – they’re concerned about the injuring occupants should a occur while it’s in 

The roof is electrically (on approach or departure it can be operated via the key and time up and down is around

That said, unlike the R230, the new SL can be had with a choice of roof styles – painted, panoramic glass or with Sky Control glazing. This allows you to switch the glazing light to dark and back at the push of a button.

Strictly a the SL pampers both driver and with a handsome and beautifully if somewhat fussy cockpit (in the tops along I counted different ‘elements’). 

There are of leather including a stitched Notable was the fact the stitching in our cars was considerably neater in the SLS roadster we drove recently.

The on the middle of the dashtop is very SportsChrono-like. Rumour has it was added to SL SLK) at the express wishes of boss, Dr Dieter Zetsche.

console switchgear is cool-to-touch and the SL adopts the latest Benz steering column stalks as elegant as the old ones) which all functions on the left of the wheel. 

A new mini gear level push button P (Park is used. Paddles take of gearchanging duties if the spirit you – there’s no longer an option to use the lever.

Storage is an important in roadsters and the SL offers a reasonable of lidded compartments to keep away from prying There’s a split lidded console bin cum armrest and behind a deeper roll-topped bin. is rear set enough to be hard to on the move.

For occasional items are larger lockable bins the seats. These are a ‘car and seats swung forward’ to access.

Behind the occupants is an operated mesh-screen windblocker. M-B believes this feature be standard on its cars and it needs to be. the cockpit is commendably still at speeds without it, once up its calms things and also reduce noise.

The boot of the new SL is officially larger but on the tight side even for two the roof down at least). The in size is deceptive, as since the generation debuted measuring have changed. 

Comparing with apples, the roof up has increased from 339 to 381 litres, in open roadster trim now 241 litres available (was In practice this is two carry-on wheel suitcases – big enough the SL’s role in life.

— New heart, new lungs

The versions of the SL will be offered 3.5-litre V6 and 4.7-litre twin V8 engines. Both are direct-injected powerplants. At this stage has eschewed diesel or hybrid of the SL.

Later V8 and V12-engined AMG versions be debuted. The non-AMG V12 SL 600 has been in the R231 generation.

The SL 350 uses latest 60-degree V6 which is at 225kW at 6500rpm and 370Nm 3500-5200. This is the most SL, at just 6.8L/100km combined being able to sprint 0-100km/h in 5.9sec – just a second slower than the 5.5-litre SL 500 model.

The new SL500 is an more muscular beast; its turbo V8 rated at 320kW at (up from 285 at 6000). The real is the engine’s torque output. At 1800rpm – which corresponds to in top gear of the range’s default 7G-Tronic automatic gearbox – is a massive 700Nm available. is held to 3500rpm where it to taper off. 

That there’s still plenty on high into the rev range. The 5.5-litre could muster a 530Nm but not until 2800rpm.

performance is effortless. With no lag of which to speak, any throttle is almost instantly transmitted to the The 500’s 0-100km/h sprint has shaved to 4.6sec.

Combined economy is 9.1L/100km – down 12. Despite some pretty driving at last week’s our test SL still managed a world figure of 13.3L/100km.

New SL over the latest generation of powertrain and chassis smarts. Direct Steer variable steering is used. It’s a rack too, with over 2.1 turns lock to 

Electric power steering are not known for their faithful of feedback but the latest Direct system is in the main good see below for the qualifier). The advent of Steer also means SL can be to include a self-parking system.

All new SL models also feature stop-start.

Four wheel disc brakes are used, and the antilock hardware and software is a AMG versions will offer brake options. Depending on the 18 and 19-inch alloys are standard.

Two systems are offered, both semi-active adjustable damping The standard steel sprung is offered in standard and sport The latter drops the ride by 10mm and adds stiffer re-rated dampers and antiroll It’s our pick of the set ups.

Body Control (ABC) is and features hydraulic actuated struts to effectively cancel out forces. The system uses to proactively detect and counter roll, pitching and other without, says Mercedes-Benz, comfort.

Unfortunately it’s our experience that it also the car a very artificial feel and to cope with the fast changes the SL easily generates in going. With so much on underneath you it’s almost that the system also out almost every ounce of the steering offers.

Mercedes-Benz SL 350 Base


Raising the (roll) bar

Mercedes-Benz to raise the safety equipment bar time it debuts an all-new The SL doesn’t move the game on as as some recent releases, but in the latest E-Class et al, it effectively the roadster class in the level of it offers.

To whit. “The new SL sets new standards for roadsters and can be referred to as the safest roadster in the claims Professor Dr Rodolfo Director of Passive Safety at

“The rigid aluminium offers superb preconditions for a occupant cell, as well as for defined deformation zones,” he “This provides optimum for the occupants in the event of an accident.”

“But we do not think about those the vehicle – we also consider the road users, for instance effective pedestrian protection or assistance systems which protect other motorists.”

In the of a rollover the SL’s reinforced and spring-loaded rear rollover protect the occupants. The airbag includes head bags as as thorax side airbags. are seat-mounted to ensure optimal

Like E-Class, the SL’s is spring loaded to help pedestrian injuries. The SL is also to have a “soft nose” to impact loads.

Pre-safe, Attention Assist, Brake, Intelligent Light Adaptive Headlamps, speed lane departure and blind systems and a host of other systems are onboard. Most of will be standard equipment, final details will to wait until the car’s debut.

Benz has even the washer/wiper for the new SL. The system incorporates the system into the wiper The shame of it is that it requires a (matchbox sized) ‘box’ on the top of the arm which sits annoyingly in sight line.


Dominant in its class

Sales the SL dominates its class which in its own ensures plenty of competitors – at on paper. Aston, Bentley, Porsche cabs and the normal of supercars all take their – and usually come up short, Benz. Indeed, SL has the most customer base for the brand it

In this writer’s opinion, the car in concept and feel to the SL is Jaguar’s XK. the XK’s nominal +2 status; for all intents a two-seater and a pretty one at


— 500 miles

claims, compared with its the new SL offers considerably more and sportiness, setting new standards in the roadster class. Even a modest number of miles our belts, we’re prepared to the car has moved the class on – at least in aspects.

On hand for the launch SL 500s only – a mix of standard, and Active Body Control-equipped cars.

The twin-turbo 4.7-litre V8 is a very muscular engine, the car from 0-100km/h in well than 5secs. But that’s one dimension of its performance. 

Developing torque at ‘normal’ road roll-on acceleration is errr. Overtaking seems almost, as the goes – instantaneous.

In terms of the 500 is at the very top of its game – top up or down. at speeds beyond 140km/h no buffeting in the cabin once the operated windblocker is raised. You have to raise your marginally but conversation is easy at that in Australia will get you locked up.

Roof down also a muted V8 burble to you entertained. Close up the car and you’re with just enough rumble and under bonnet to convince you you’re in a sports

But it’s not a super sports that mantle will firmly with the SLS, when the AMG versions of the SL arrive this year. The SL’s are good, but not in the supercar league.

Our of the trio was the standard car rolling on its 18-inch alloys and Yokohama Though ultimately it didn’t the performance of the AMG-kitted sports car on 19-inch wheels and ContiSport it rode better, had better feel and seemed to flow and like an SL should.

The lack of any on the standard car also seemed to the most of the in part clumsy The standard SL will likely be a of the traditional SL buyers.

The AMG-kitted suspended SL was sharper in the tight and understeered less, but you paid for with a slightly choppier (even on the comfort setting) and a of steering feel. It was a hoot to but if you’re looking for a sportier SL, the clever thing to do is wait for the AMG version.

The ABC car was frankly a disappointment. The chassis limits might be higher but it takes all the feedback from the driver and replaces it odd, artificial sensations in fast changes of direction) as the car to reset itself for the change in 

This translates as a disconnected between front and back and even at times confuses the control system. Mercedes to do more work here.

it’s the abilities and the refinement of the SL 500 that shines through. If looking for a cut price SLS, be disappointed. And a two-door S-Class, not either – that role to the CL.

Simply the SL is very much an version of the Pagoda and R107 that for many epitomise the In that regard Benz has hit the

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Published. 13 March 2012

Mercedes-Benz SL 350 Base
Mercedes-Benz SL 350 Base


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