The new generation of the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class now being presented is the sixth to follow the 1952 racing car. In the unique tradition of the SL it is entering its era as an athlete, refined aesthete and innovative trendsetter with an extraordinarily high utility value. Mercedes-Benz is initially offering the new SL with two engines – as the SL350 with a V6 engine and as the SL500 with a V8. The new BlueDIRECT engines have an output of 225 kW (306 hp) in the SL350 and 320 kW (435 hp) in the SL500 (a 12-percent increase over the predecessor).
There are two suspension variants from which to choose. The SL is supplied as standard with semi-active adjustable damping (lowered by ten millimetres in the AMG sports package). The active suspension system ABC (Active Body Control) is available as an optional extra. Unique the world over, it has been enhanced especially for the new SL.
The sixth generation of the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class also offers a vario-roof that can be retracted into the boot using an electrohydraulic mechanism to save space, converting the SL into a roadster or a coupé, depending on the driver’s wishes and the weather. Unlike its predecessor, three versions are available for the new SL: painted, with a glass roof or with the unique panoramic vario-roof featuring MAGIC SKY CONTROL. The transparent roof switches to light or dark at the push of a button. When light it is virtually transparent, offering an open-air experience even in cold weather. In its dark state the roof provides welcome shade and prevents the interior from heating up in bright sunlight.
Rich power reserves plus modest fuel consumption – this formula describes the fundamental characteristics of the new SL models. They owe this in part to the two V6 and V8 units from the new generation of BlueDIRECT engines from Mercedes-Benz. As is already the case with the S-Class and the CLS, they now also enable the SL to achieve previously unattained marks for efficiency in its segment. The V8 in the new SL500 has at its disposal 4663 cubic centimetres of displacement from which it achieves 320 kW (435 hp) – so in spite of having around 0.8 litres less displacement that’s some 12 percent more than its predecessor (285 kW/388 hp). The consumption, meanwhile, falls by up to 22 percent, with the torque increasing at the same time from 530 Nm to 700 Nm – an increase of 32 percent. The V6 engine for the SL350 has the same displacement as its predecessor – 3499 cubic centimetres – from which it now achieves 225 kW (306 hp). Whilst this means that its output is 7 kW less than the engine in its predecessor (232 kW/315 hp), as the torque simultaneously climbs from 360 Nm to the current figure of 370 Nm, there is no perceptible loss of power – on the contrary, in fact: when accelerating, the new SL350 even proves superior. Plus the new V6 impresses with its outstanding consumption figures. It is content with 6.8 litres over 100 kilometres, making it almost 30 percent more economical than its predecessor (9.7 l/100 km).