ourSL MercedesBenz SL 50 years of Roadster tradition

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Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 Kompressor 197hp R170

50 fascinating years of a legendary car

Stuttgart — The Mercedes cars bearing the legendary SL in model badge have a new milestone: it is now half a century the start of their career as one of the most fascinating and desirable cars. To many people, sum up the whole concept of a dream Top-notch design, ground-breaking and sheer driving pleasure these qualities have the trademark of every SL over the 50 years, from the earliest right down to the SL sports car of and the second-generation SLK-Class which make its market debut in 2004. Since 1954, the SL and SLK have been sold to than 870,000 customers in con-tinent of the world.

In February the International Motor Sports in New York saw the birth of a phenomenon. It was that Mercedes-Benz presented not one but two of the soon-to-be-legendary SL models to the press and the 300 SL gullwing coupé and the open-top 190 SL.

The 300 SL, its eye-catching gull-wing doors and the of a full-blooded racing car, was an hit with the showgoers of the time the 190 SL, an open-top sports car with a soft top, founded the Roadster tradition. It was only in that the 300 SL too presented itself in guise, and made the leap gull-wing coupé to roadster.

the exact chronology, the 300 SL is still as the first in a long line of Mercedes sports cars. It was model whose im-mediate the racing version, had drawn the of American auto importer Max with a string of successes on the Hoffmann was so enthusiastic about vehicles that he asked the Board of Management in Stuttgart to a civilian version of the sports Thus began the unstoppable of the 300 SL. The striking gull-wing doors of model were just one of claims to fame. Other engineering features included the but extremely sturdy tubular chassis and a high-performance direct injection engine which 215 hp, a sensational figure for the times. The technology was also featured in the open-top version of the 300 SL.

1963: new Roadster with pagoda

The 300 SL and 190 SL continued in production until successor arrived in 1963. new model created quite a particularly due to its quirky ap-pearance. Its striking feature, alongside the new lines, was a re-movable hardtop dipped inwards in the middle. unique feature immediately one think of a Japanese pagoda and pagoda, in fact, soon its nickname. Interestingly, however, it was considera-tions rather than which inspired its development. engineer Béla Barényi, the of modern-day passenger car safety had patented this unusual shape some years in 1956, as a de-sign which extreme rigidity and maximum safety in an acci-dent. Equally was the large headroom which the model offered when the was in place.

At the same time the SL had into a highly civilised car which was particularly in its element as a And like its predecessor, this generation model also some ground-breaking technical These included safety and an easy-to-use soft top. The initially sheltered a 150 hp 2.3 litre engine which gave the SL 230 a top of 200 km/h.

1971: the SL Roadster an eight-cylinder version

In 1971, the model was followed by a new SL sports car was destined to continue in production for 18 until 1989 — than any other Mercedes car. The advanced styling of classic ensured that it to look contemporary throughout its production run. To this its combination of distinctive curves and frill-free lines gives it a and iconic appearance.

From angle, the powerful, self-assured, and masculine third-generation SL, which with an equally tasteful hardtop, pre-sented a well-proportioned profile. Striking characteristics elegance, quality and also since the crash performance of open-top two-seater was way ahead of the of the times. Furthermore, for the first ever the SL was now also available in an version. Developing 200 hp at 5800 the new engine gave the Roadster a 0 to 100 acceleration time of just 10 while at 212 km/h its top speed was an of 12 km/h on the previous model.

new standards in design and safety

The model made its first appearance at the Geneva Interna-tional Show in spring 1989. It set new not only in terms of superb quality and top-down driving but also, and above all, on The fourth-generation SL took occupant to the same level as a Mercedes For example the standard-fitted safety included a sensor-controlled pop-up bar which in a crash or extreme situation was extended into automatically by a combination of spring and power in just 0.3 seconds. The incorporating internal tubular further enhanced the protection by the unique automatic roll-over

The SL-Class of 1989 was the first car in the world to be fitted as standard an advanced-design integral seat, a seat with integrated belt. The seat frame was designed to absorb energy in a impact. Around 20 patented are to be found in this seat

Between 1989 and July more than 180,000 of this model series, coded R 129, were

2001: fourth-generation SL with technology

The current SL-Class, now comprises three models, six-, eight- and twelve-cylinder raised the bar even further on engineering and styling. A supercharged AMG developing 368 kW/500 hp is also

With its comprehensive safety the SL-Class sets the benchmark on safety for a new generation of sports Its systems cover every of vehicle safety, from avoidance based on electronic dynamics systems like ABC, Brake Assist and through high-strength body to fastest possible accident following an accident. In addition to the structural strength, occupant is further enhanced by two-stage and passenger airbags, innovative bags in the doors, integral belt tensioners, belt limit-ers and the sensor-controlled roll-over

Also new in this class is the which allows the SL to offer an motoring experience without combining the top-down fun of a roadster all the comfort of a Mercedes coupé.

the styling of this Mercedes car mirrors its advanced technology, it stresses appeal, driving and the fascination of top-down motoring. but effectively, in a nod to SL tradition, the designers also incorporated cues the very first SL of 1954. SL fea-tures have been woven together with new from the Mer-cedes design of today. Combined, these the road ahead for the future of the These include twin with a particularly dynamic new

SLK-Class: compact Roadster cult status

With the 190 SL, Mercedes-Benz demonstrated all of 50 years ago even a small roadster can big driving pleasure. Mercedes to this idea when it the SLK-Class, which has been new standards in this vehicle ever since autumn This benchmark posi-tion is not only on technological leadership but on another charac-teristic sports car emotional appeal.

Visual advanced engineering and exemplary — these are all hallmarks of the Mercedes Roadster, which has since become a contemporary car and is in great demand on both the new and the car markets, where the SLK-Class is one of the performers in terms of value

Having been sold to 308,000 enthusiastic customers all the world, picked up more 40 international awards and assumed the of world leader in its market the first generation of the SLK-Class can back on a proud and successful

Eight years after the of the first SLK, and 50 years the pre-miere of the first SL Roadster, the generation of the SLK-Class was presented to the in spring 2004. As refreshing, and potent as an Italian espresso, the new displays even stronger credentials than its predecessor.

At the time, the new SLK also expands on the and familiar strengths of its predecessor for example with its further space-saving vario-roof, a range of more advanced safety and one-of-a-kind new developments like headlamps with cornering func-tion, the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed transmission and the AIRSCARF neck-level system (optional features). The new comes in a choice of three models: the four-cylinder SLK 200 KOMPRESSOR, the SLK 350 newly developed V6 engine and for the first time in this — an eight-cylinder Mercedes-AMG

The design language is equally handsome, racing-inspired features the eye-catching nose, the radiator fins and the twin-pipe exhaust are a reminder that the SLK comes a company whose great tradition stretches back 50 years.

Mercedes engineer Knothe: a 38-year relationship the SL

At the Mercedes-Benz Technology Centre in Frank Knothe has been involved in development and testing of the mod-els for the past 38 years. professional career began on 1, 1966, when he joined as a 24-year-old engineering graduate. One of his tasks was to integrate a 2.8 litre engine in the SL models of the time. On the model too, Knothe with Mer-cedes Development Rudolf Uhlenhaut, who had a big hand in the design and engineering of the R 107 through to his in 1972. Following the launch of the R 129 in Frank Knothe and his team assumed responsibility for the development of the whose innovative vario-roof a big impression when it came out in

Today, as the S-, SL- and SLK-Class model Director, Frank Knothe is for full-vehicle development and testing of all models. Pri-vately, he drives a 300 SL, which has picked up a lot mileage and a lot of along the way.

The SL Roadsters Mercedes-Benz

Dream cars the ages

1957-1963: from coupé to roadster

1963-1971: the a high-class tourer

1971-1989: a 18-year production run

1989-2001: roadster safety

2001 and new SL-Class is a technological trend-setter

On 15 . 1951, the Board of Management of reached a de-cision which was to far-reaching implications: Mercedes would re-turn to the racing of the world. This proved to be a move, since as well as the Mercedes-Benz brand with two 1 world championship titles in the it was also the foundation of a con-tinuing the legend of the SL.

Very few combinations of letters achieved the charismatic appeal of the SL — actually conceived as an abbreviation for sporty and light. two letters today represent the of a unique Mer-cedes tradition and the continuation of a living, pulsating

The legend began in the grey period. Purses were the Auto-bahns virtually deserted and were more than parking spaces to go round. stood at crossroads directing because there were any traffic lights. But there visions; one of which was to see the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL as a racing car — and this was achieved in bravura style. — due to cost implications and of time — only the W 186 (the famous three had been available as the technical the Mercedes sports car was successful from the start. Rudolf who had given vital impetus to the 300 SL was to remember later We took the engine from the 300 and built a frame and aluminium body it.

The concept proved a good one in 1952, an SL was already second the finishing line of the famous Miglia rally. But the true of the two letters really became later that same when the 300 SL took part in the Panamericana. The magnificent double of Karl Kling and his co-driver Klenk and Hermann Lang and Grupp in this notorious race made the gullwing the focus of attention, once and for especially after the 300 SL had been in Berne, at the Le Mans 24 Hours and on the all in the same year.

Impetus the US

Despite its success on the racing the 300 SL as a road-going sports car — and as the nucleus of all SLs — was almost built. However, from the US a message from an Austrian Max Hoffmann, still known today by the nickname of Maxie, who to buy from Daimler-Benz cars didn’t exist.

This salesman, with a real for trends and what might such, was convinced that he sell 1000 road-going of the Mer-cedes-Benz 300 SL on the North American After all, the sports car had famous over the other of the pond as well, thanks to its successes. Hoffman’s arguments convinced the Stuttgart com-pany’s of Management and the road-going version of the 300 SL was revealed to the public gaze at the motor show in New York on 6, 1954.

1957 to 1963: the model becomes a roadster

years later, in March the gull-wing model was succeeded by the which ultimately went on to be until 1963. Once the US market was a deciding factor in decision, for powerful, open were all the rage there. 1958 onwards the Roadster, long, verti-cally arranged also differentiated it from the was available with a hardtop as This was the foundation for the Mercedes-Benz that an SL should be open at the same time, suitable for in all weathers.

The 300 SL was a sensation in both and proved to have a unique of attraction, with motor from all over the world to buy one. The well-known German journalist and author Fritz B. commented succinctly but accurately, It has itself in my heart. It is therefore surprising that the Coupé was honoured with the title of Car of the Century at the end of its own century.

The 300 SL was a jewel on International celebrities shared view and were delighted to be with the Mercedes-Benz sports Film star Zsa Zsa Gabor herself a 300 SL, as did the newspaper magnate Randolph Hearst; whilst heads such as the Duke of and Shah Reza Pahlevi as proud to drive the SL as the King of Roll himself, Elvis

Direct petrol injection for 210 hp of

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL was not just an object of and respect: for many it represented, simply, the epitome of the modern car. 215 hp from an engine of three litres and a, for those incredible top speed of over 250 — depending on the rear ratio — served to its true sporting ancestry. Dr. Uhlenhaut, the father of the SL, made it clear when he said, free to consider the SL models as cars — as long as the is on Sport.

The 300 SL was, to its core, a product in the innovative tradition of From the basic straight engine of the saloon, which just 115 horsepower, the racing had bred a high-performance unit. To get it up to 210 hp at 5760 rpm, they for the very first time a petrol injection system for a model with a four-stroke The injection jets were in the upper part of the cylinder where, in a normal 300 engine, the plugs would be lo-cated. In the SL these were moved to the of the cylinder head. The crankshaft of the unit, with 2996 centimetres engine displacement from a stroke of 85 millimetres and a of 88 milli-metres, was supported by seven

With the addition of a sports and a compression ratio of 8.55:1, the pack could even 215 hp at 5800 rpm. This to a power output per litre of hp — a quite unbelievable for the time, since most made do with a modest of 30 hp per litre dis-placement, at most. The of the SL engine was also a cause for 6600 rpm was the figure quoted by for its maximum speed, with rpm at cruising speed. Back anything over 4000 rpm was

Each of these high-performance was tested for 24 hours on a test with one in six even tested at throttle. The engines would be dismantled and checked once before being re-assembled and to a further eight hours of testing. Only once procedure had been completed they considered fit to be installed in the SL

Bodywork engineering based on construction

An even greater sensation was caused by the tubular a prin-ciple derived from construction. The intricate construction, ex-perts welded together by from individual, fine tubes, was light and yet rigid. to make the frame as sturdy as in the original coupé version in a very high sill left no room for normal This more or less gave rise to another innovation that was to become the of the 300 SL: its gull-wing doors. However, it came to the Roadster, the engineers the tubular frame construc-tion, by it in the door area, to make in and out easier and to increase the boot The idea behind the open-top car had from the start, after to offer a sporty tourer or convertible.

A further prominent of the SL models of the nineteen-fifties were the protrusions over the wheels, gave the SL such a strik-ing These were originally to protect the sides of the vehicles dirt and damage from chippings and were hence known as splash shields.

The engineers also improved the in other important points. For it was given a new single-joint swing with a lower pivot and compensating spring, which was to the original dou-ble-joint axle and was demanding on drivers driving at the of stabil-ity. From 1961 Mercedes-Benz fitted disk to all four wheels of the SL Roadster.

The motoring magazine Road advised its readers with to the 300 SL Roadster When a comfortable is matched by remarkably good handling, with wheels grip in what can only be as an incredible fashion, with and precise steering and with that is as good as, if not better any car so far built, then there’s one thing left to say: the car of the future has arrived!

Yet even dream had to end and, on February 8, production of the 300 SL ceased. Up until point, 3,258 sports had been built, 1,858 of as Roadsters.

1963 to 1971: that move

A living — such as the SL — is a with sequels. The successor to the 300 SL was waiting in the wings and celebrated its at the Geneva Motor Show in Yet another model from to catch the eye — not so much of a dimensional concept that im-proved spaciousness and touring and which had already been off on October 21, 1958 by the Board responsible for Pas-senger Car Development, Dr Fritz Nallinger, but more of the unusual appearance of the sports It was the unusual proportions and lines of the car differentiated the 230 SL (internal code W from all others. Its dominant feature was a removable hardtop uncon-ventionally, was lower in the middle at the sides.

Appropriately enough, sports car became known as the in common parlance, since its was reminiscent of Japanese temple Yet the reasons behind this were not so much those of as of safety. Mercedes engineer Barényi, the pioneer of modern engineering, had already designed and this unusual roof in 1956. He had real-ised the advantages it offered in terms of rigidity, offering the vehicle occupants possible safety. Similarly was the generous headroom in the 230 SL, even its pagoda roof in place.

and comfort combined

This SL generation aroused conflicting among many people at the The 230 SL was a true tourer, but its performance was not that of a tame cruiser: 150 hp its 2.3-litre six-cylinder engine take it up to 200 km/h. The press, remained enthusiastic about the refined sports car ever to As a test report of the time This is a fast, road-hugging car good brakes and good

So it was hardly surprising that the SL of was also able to demonstrate its prowess. In 1963, Eugen and Klaus Kaiser won the punishing rally after a four-day run.

Once again, was to introduce some surprises this gen-eration of SL, in the form of technical highlights. One sensation for example, the easy manual of the car’s soft-top — the soft-top in the world, as one specialist was to put it. Innovative elements were applied by the Mercedes engineers it came to the car’s safety The 230 SL was the first sports car in the world to a safety body with passenger compartment and front and crumple zones. Mercedes in the upper and medium class had this trailblazing invention Béla Barényi since and 1961, but the SL marked the arrival of technology in the world of the sports

The 230 SL was also to make a name for as a trendsetter by being the first car to feature an alternator as standard and the sports car with automatic (as an optional extra).

In 1965 the news magazine Der Spiegel to analyse what lay behind the of the SL. In a wide-scale survey, only 4.4 per of drivers quoted its exclusivity or its image value. Many people were impressed by different factors: its high bold styling, sporty the delightful possibility it offered of an open car quickly and easily a coupé, its manoeuvrability, easy and high quality proved far attractive.

Nor did progress pass by the 230 SL in the following years. In early it was replaced by the 250 SL, which featured a oil cooler, through which water was circulated. 5196 of this version were Just eleven months still in 1967, it was followed by the 280 SL, featured a larger bore and produced an output of 170 hp at 5750 Between 1963 and 1971, pagodas were built and The sports car was a hit in the US and, in the last of its production, al-most 70 per cent of 280 SLs to North America. For the Americans, the Roadster had one invaluable advantage every other Euro-pean car: it came with an power steering system and transmission — just the way the liked it.

1971 to 1989: the reign of the third SL

This was, of course, bequeathed to the generation to suc-ceed the original 300 SL. took over from the in 1971 and bore the internal number R 107. This SL was remarkable for the vari-ety of models it which ranged from the 280 SL a straight six-cylinder to the 560 SL with a V8 and which, over the course of the included eight different (not including special for other countries). These between 177 and 245 hp and made possi-ble top of between 200 and 225 km/h, thus a decisive step on the part of towards large engines. cylinders and a large displacement been part of the SL concept since.

The life span of SL generation was unusually long. It from the days of bell-bottom and Flower Power, when the buggy drove on the moon, to the era, when Michael in the USSR began the process of state and party, thus the foundations for German reunification. was to experience five Presidents and three Chancellors during period. With an uninterrupted life of 18 years, the R 107 was the longest passenger car model of the Mercedes-Benz and, by 1989, a total of of them had been sold.

The of the seventies

Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 Kompressor 197hp R170

The question of what the R 107 played in the SL legend is not an easy one to As a two-seater weighing almost 1.6 it did not, at first glance, to be either sporty (S) or light But the experts neverthe-less praised its appearance. As racing driver Herrmann com-mented, It’s yet not ostentatious. It simply oozes and masculinity.

To the observer, the body of the revealed generous curves and an amount of chromium. In some the new arrival was even de-scribed as a new creation. In fact, the lines of SL family, too, had been with great care and to detail. The boot lid, for repeated the concave curvature of the towards the centre of the car, in the of a harmonious overall appearance. adven-tures were consciously by the designers of the SL. By giving the car such lines they provided it, without realising it, with the for its long life.

Indeed the R 107 did become something of an automotive Its seventies-style understated charm it pretty well ageless. The felt heavy to the touch and with a satisfyingly solid All the details seemed part of a whole, engineered for eternity. was hardly surprising given the engineers had been aiming to this open-top car as sturdy as a car.

Suspension engineering a new route

The engineering, however, was not reminiscent of anything monu-mental at all but was in the true tradition of the SL — innovative. This was demonstrated in small, creative ideas. The R for example, was the first car to feature the horizontal ridges on the rear that prevent them getting dirty. The car’s engineering also fol-lowed an route: at the front, A-frame were attached to a sub-frame in the rear, a sub-frame with semi-trailing arms was responsible for control. Models with 3.5 litres engine capacity even fitted with a designed, sophisticated semi-independent suspension system with arms that were to the semi-trailing arms by the wheel in order to reduce the stress on the axle during acceleration. In Hermann’s judgement it was A fool-proof if you don’t overdo it too much.

Trendsetter on safety issues

one’s driving style be too after all, and the laws of be ignored, the SL could come up with what was at the time a and pioneering safety concept. It crumple zones and longitudinal that, because of their and the varying thickness of the steel would deform and absorb in a pre-defined manner in the event of a At the same time the engine and unit would be forced and down, thus minimising to the interior of the vehicle.

A robust with a hollow cross also provided safety in the event of a roll-over. Its unusually rigidity was due to an innovative welding used instead of conventional welding. This was also the car in which Mercedes-Benz fitted the windscreen using an adhe-sive process, a clever move ensured yet further stability. innovative details rounded off the edge safety concept. The was covered with energy-absorbing PVC and the knee area made by impact-absorbing bolsters. Another new was the door handle without a button. The door is opened by pulling the handle, thus that it cannot open in the event of a col-lision.

Mercedes-Benz was in ensuring that further details were in-troduced the R 107 during the course of its production

Along with other models, the SL was fitted with seat belts and headrests as in 1973.

The innovative anti-lock system (ABS) was made for the first time for the whole SL in 1980.

From early onwards, a steering-wheel airbag be ordered as an option for the SL.


Its unmistakable star quality led to the R 107 given a supporting role in the TV soap opera Dallas. In the of other celebrities, however, the SL on the leading automotive role. them were Uschi Mario del Monaco, Kurt Peter Maffei, Heinz Curd Jürgens, Gerd and many more.

The107 also achieved success in the of motor racing, although as the SLC rather than as the SL Roadster. The predecessors of today’s CL Coupés, in 1971, were, for the first only) time de-veloped on the of the SL rather than of the top-bracket Between August 17 and September 24, several SLCs drove the whole of South America in the a America Sud, covering 28 602 in the process, including 6000 of special tests. The victorious comprised Andrew Cowan and Malkin in a Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC. The SLC came second in one of the world’s arduous rallies, the East Safari Rally, in 1979. In the year the SLCs completed the Rally on the Ivory Coast an impeccable four-car victory a success that was repeated a double victory in 1980.

to 2001: styling and engineering new heights

In spite of the successful of the SL idea, work had already on its successor in the early nineteen-eighties. The paper stated In-dependent, design, compact external combined with im-proved spaciousness, comfortable ride and to be achieved by emphasising the driving

The car finally celebrated its premiere at the Motor Show in Ge-neva in The new SL, internal code name R was introduced as a legitimate heir of the SL Its exterior was the object of considerable In the opinion of many experts, it was to the 300 SL of 1954 than either of its had been. The ex-Formula 1 World Juan Manuel Fangio, his feelings back then as For me, the new Mercedes-Benz SL combines, at the very level, the characteristics of a sports car the qualities of a comfortable roadster as such, is a remarkable demonstration of the state of automotive engineering.

The SL of the was perhaps not flamboyant, but was instead of a timeless automotive sculpture exuded serenity and yet excite-ment at the time. Its pronounced wedge was evidence of both taste and — and of the strong symbolism Bruno Sacco had aimed to A new car should not just look but also be noticeably new. And will only recognise engineering if it is combined with a innovative appearance.

Particularly of the powerful look of the car is the line the headlamp along the wing to the top end of the Even apparently insig-nificant show top engineering quality. the soft-top, which is at its widest at the B-pillar position, still to merge into the nar-rowing lines as we follow them This was achieved by Mercedes-Benz a particularly clever ruse: as the opens, the mechanism pushes the out by about 25 millimetres to each

Thanks to its sophisticated mechanism, the can be opened or closed while the lights are still on red, drivers to take advantage of single ray of sun. And the draught specially designed and devel-oped for the SL, that open-top driving draught-free and yet convincingly genuine and has since been frequently

Technical sensations ensure levels of safety

The SL didn’t offer unalloyed enjoyment of driving — it also the level of occupant protection and of a roadster to that of a Mercedes thus ensuring absolute enjoyment under the open The standard safety package of the included a sensor-controlled roll-over bar would trigger automatically by power and hydraulics within 0.3 in the event of a crash or an extreme situation. The A-pillar hides a tube, which provides a en-hancement to the protective effect of the automatic roll-over bar.

The SL of was the first standard production car to be with integral seats integrated inertia-reel seat designed especially for this The dimensions of the seat frame that it absorbs energy in the of a lateral impact, in which the broad cast aluminium member between the door and the seat cushion will 20 patents have been for very specific elements this integral seat.

The of twelve cylinders

A twelve-cylinder with six litres displacement and 394 hp, took the SL to 250 km/h without any at all, marked the peak regard to the engines for standard models. These had initially lively straight six-cylinder and V8 engines and, from onwards, cutting-edge high-performance V with exemplary consumption and figures. Superior handling was ensured by a newly developed multi-link suspension, which significant improvements in straight-running and

From 1989 until 2001 more than R 129 models were pro-duced.

and beyond:

a stylish synthesis of and innova-tion

With its sleek and advanced engineering, the sports car by Mercedes-Benz in autumn 2001 the long tradition of the SL Road-sters. this latest incarnation, the Mercedes model series triumphant international career exactly fifty years ago the legendary gull wing 300 SL is now its fifth generation.

Along the innovative vario-roof, which it from an open-top roadster a weather-proof coupé (or vice in a matter of moments, the new SL-Class features the electrohydraulic Sensotronic Con-trol system (SBCT), a first for Mercedes-Benz which in tandem with the proven Stability Program ESP® and the Body Control (ABC). the SL-Class offers a unique of state-of-the-art electronic control High standards of occupant are ensured by high-strength body two-stage driver and passenger innovative head/thorax bags in the newly developed integral high-performance belt ten-sioners, force limiters and the sensor-controlled bars.

While the styling of Mercedes sports car mirrors its technology, it also stresses driving enjoyment and the fascination of motoring. Discreetly but effectively, in a nod to SL the designers have also cues from the very SL of 1954. Typical SL fea-tures been stylishly woven new elements from the Mercedes language of today, which perspectives on the future of the Road-ster. include twin headlamps a particularly dynamic new treat-ment, state-of-the-art clear-lens design an enhanced and dis-tinctive appearance.

engines with six, and twelve cylinders

A dynamic car experience is provided not only by the vehi-cle dynamics systems but by the powerful six, eight and engines, whose outputs from 180 kW/245 hp to 368 kW/ 500 hp.

Heading the is a newly developed twelve-cylinder which combines performance refinement. Equipped with turbochargers, air-to-water intercoolers, cylinder heads, alternating-current ignition and other high-tech it is one of the most advanced passenger car in the world. It is also one of the most in its class, with a rated of 368 kW/500 hp. Peak torque of 800 metres comes on stream at rpm and remains constant through to rpm, for effortless performance in any The SL 600 accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds, with a 60 to 120 km/h time of 4.9 seconds. Top speed is limited to 250 km/h.

The impressive of the twelve-cylinder model is combined superb refinement and extremely low for ultra-civilised and enjoyable motoring. The standard specification of the SL-Class meet the aspirations of drivers who not only impeccable engineering but high stan-dards of comfort and Automatic climate control, head-lamps (SL 600: bi-xenon), integral seats, a multifunction wheel, a stereo radio, seat adjustment with function and many other features are fitted as standard on the and twelve-cylinder models. Optionally, a range of innovative assistance can be supplied, like DISTRONIC control, the TELEAID automatic call system, the COMAND and display system (standard on the SL and the electronic tyre pressure system.

Model chronology:

the SL Roadsters

Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 Kompressor 197hp R170
Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 Kompressor 197hp R170
Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 Kompressor 197hp R170
Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 Kompressor 197hp R170
Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 Kompressor 197hp R170

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