Four years on from its launch, the successful Mercedes-Benz SL-Class has undergone a number of enhancements, the most significant being in the areas of engineering, design and interior appointments. The engines, powertrain and chassis have been optimised to deliver a sportier response. As a result, the unique Roadster now offers an even more enjoyable dynamic driving experience while perpetuating the "SL legend" which has existed for over 50 years.
New V6 and V8 engines, as well as an even more powerful V12 powerplant, deliver assured driving pleasure. Second-generation Active Body Control and the more direct steering add an impressive new dimension of sportiness to the handling without compromising the high level of comfort which is one of the hallmarks of the Mercedes SL-Class. The redesigned front, new rear light units and new light-alloy wheels reflect the more dynamic character of the revised SL even when it is stationary. New interior appointments as well as painstaking attention to the details of the new materials and colour schemes give the interior an even more luxurious look and feel. Shift paddles on the steering wheel - which form part of the optional 7G-TRONIC Sport package - underline the dynamic character of the enhanced SL-Class.
With an output of 388 hp and 390 lbs-ft of torque, the newly developed V8 engine in the SL 500 offers everything that is expected of a powerful sports car. The eight-cylinder unit has a displacement of 5.5 litres and is one of the most powerful engines in its displacement class. The SL 500 accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds (predecessor model: 6.2 seconds). Despite the 26 percent boost in performance, the fuel consumption (NEDC combined) matches that of the predecessor model at 12.2 litres per 100 kilometres.
The six-cylinder engine in the SL 350 is another new unit. Although this 272-hp V6 powerplant achieves fuel savings of over one litre per 100 kilometres, its output is 11 percent higher. The combined NEDC fuel consumption is 10.3 litres per 100 kilometres. The SL 350 accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds, making it more than half a second faster than the predecessor model.
At the top of the model range is the SL 600 with its V12 biturbo engine. The output and maximum torque of this unit have been increased to 517 hp and 612 lbs-ft respectively. This twelve-cylinder engine accelerates the SL-Class from zero to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds (predecessor model: 4.7 seconds).
All three engine variants of the SL-Class have newly developed exhaust systems: the specially sound-engineered, powerful engine note has been tuned to enhance the driving experience while still offering exceptional comfort on even the longest trips. Mercedes-Benz equips the V6 and V8 models of the new SL-Class with the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission as standard.
7G-TRONIC Sport, which is available as an optional extra, allows shifting to be performed up to 30 percent faster in manual "M" mode; furthermore, this package features steering-wheel shift paddles similar to those used in Formula 1.
More dynamism and comfort: second-generation ABC
The ABC (Active Body Control) active suspension system (standard in the SL 500 and SL 600, available as an option for the SL 350), which is regarded as one of the milestones of automotive technology, has been refined even further for the new SL-Class. Compared with the predecessor model, body movements in dynamic driving situations have been reduced by up to 60 percent. This takes the SL-Class into a new dimension of handling dynamics, yet the Roadster still offers the same high level of comfort. A new steering set-up with a more direct ratio makes the SL-Class noticeably more responsive. In addition, the brake systems of the SL 350 and SL 500 have been modified to handle the increased engine output.
With subtle changes to the body design, the new-generationMercedes-Benz SL-Class is ready for the future. A new bumper with three large cooling air intakes and a more pronounced V-shape as well as fog lamps with chrome surrounds emphasise the power of the two-seater and give it a wider look. These features are complemented by the newly designed, matt silver radiator grille with three louvres and chrome highlights. The side view is enhanced by new light-alloy wheels whose powerful design reflects the sporty character of the SL. New rear light units complete the styling measures: with their horizontal divisions and red/white clear-lens design, they accentuate the width of the muscular rear of the SL. The new body details harmonise perfectly with the widely acclaimed design of the SL-Class whose exciting and elegant lines are unique and unmistakable.
Interior: even more attention to detail
The Mercedes designers have also made only discreet changes in order to update the interior of the SL-Class. Measures taken to accentuate the characteristic combination of Mercedes comfort and sportiness include the use of softer leather upholstery, new interior colours, high-quality metal door sills with Mercedes-Benz lettering and embossed aluminium trim elements.
Other interior highlights characterised by their particularly attractive look and feel include classic, chronometer-style gauges housed within the redesigned instrument shroud with double topstitching, the new digital clock and the cover of the adjacent ventilation outlet, as well as the new aluminium-look switch for operating the vario-roof. The two-seater can be converted from a Coupé to a Roadster - and vice-versa - in next to no time. Opening or closing the folding roof, a glass version of which is available as an optional extra, takes just 16 seconds.
An even higher level of operating comfort than that offered previously is provided by the optional remote boot-lid release system which provides access to the boot at the touch of a button. The standard equipment includes the now removable luggage cover which increases the capacity of the boot by 22 litres to provide 339 litres of luggage space - more than any other vehicle in this segment. The luggage cover, which can be removed quickly and easily, makes loading the boot considerably easier and enhances its usability.
When it comes to individualisation, an even wider designo range is available to SL customers with immediate effect. For the first time, the new line-up includes two designo interior appointments packages offering an particularly attractive array of colours and materials. Designo Edition I features a classic combination of colours while Designo Edition II has a sporty character.
Success story: the original SL with gullwing doors made its debut in 1954
For over 50 years now, the Mercedes models bearing the famous "SL" designation have fascinated sports-car enthusiasts all over the world. The direct descendant of the original "Gullwing" SL which made its debut in 1954, the SL-Class echoes its design and perpetuates the incomparable success story of the model series. With a worldwide market share of 35 percent, the SL-Class is the clear market leader in its segment - a position which the model update will help to consolidate. The new generation SL-Class will have its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show in February 2006; it will appear in the showrooms of Mercedes-Benz outlets and authorised dealerships from March 2006.
Since its debut in 2001, the fifth-generation Mercedes-Benz SL has now also established itself as a particularly desirable vehicle in every market. With its unique combination of compelling design, advanced technology and a strong character, it is able to win over drivers in all age groups. The "SL" model designation is synonymous with passion, emotion, driving enjoyment and the sheer thrill of travelling in a roadster – as, indeed, it has been for more than 50 years. Ever since the very first SL appeared in 1954, car enthusiasts all over the world have been captivated by this legendary Mercedes model series.
The new generation SL-Class resolutely perpetuates the SL legend and the unprecedented success story of the model series. With a worldwide market share of 35 percent, the SL-Class is the clear market leader in its segment. The model update measures in the areas of design, engineering, equipment/appointments and quality will help to extend this lead even further.
Design: modifications calculated to create a more dynamic appearance
Sparkling new looks yet still familiar – welcome to the latest generation of the SL-Class. Only a few details of the body which has won a whole series of awards were modified by the Mercedes designers in order to give it a more dynamic look. One such change concerns the front bumper: three large air intakes with a new design provide a visual indication of the power of the V6, V8 and V12 engines. By adding to the presence and width of the face of the SL, these distinctive openings visually lower the centre of gravity of the vehicle. New, oval fog lamps with chrome surrounds reinforce this effect and harmonise with the twin-headlamp face. The noticeably more pronounced V-shape of the front bumper gives the Mercedes sports car a more energetic and powerful look, even when stationary. Now featuring three louvres instead of the previous four, the slightly higher matt-silver-painted radiator grille also looks more dominant. The louvres have a more substantial appearance and feature chrome highlights which contribute to the sense of exclusivity.
Light-alloy wheels: attractive designs in 17 and 18-inch versions
The side view of the new generation SL-Class is dominated by attractive light-alloy wheels with an updated 5-spoke design. The SL 350 and SL 500 have new 17-inch wheels while the SL 600 has 18-inch light-alloy wheels in an exclusive V12 design. Two new 18-inch wheels are available as an option for all three models. Featuring a high-sheen surface and deliberately technical styling, the wheels with the new 5-twin-spoke design look a size bigger thanks to their spokes which continue right into the rim well. The new 10-spoke wheels add a distinctly elegant touch with their rounded, flowing forms.
Modified rear light units enhance the muscular rear of the updated SL-Class. Their red and white lenses bring extra brilliance to the rear view of the SL-Class while their horizontal division creates an impression of greater width.
Awards: numerous prizes reflect the quality of the design
The numerous awards with which various media and bodies have recognised the SL-Class since 2001 testify to the unique status of the Mercedes Roadster. "World’s most beautiful automobile", "Deutscher Designpreis" [German design prize], "Aufregendstes Automobil" [Most exciting car], "Auszeichnung für höchste Designqualität" [Award for the highest design quality] or "1. Platz bei den Traumwagen" [Number-one dream car] are just a few examples of the international awards which the two-seater with the three-pointed star has received.
Quality: special attention to interior details for even greater perceived value
The discreet modifications continue inside the vehicle. By devoting great attention to detail, the designers have been able to increase the perceived value of the SL-Class even further. The characteristic combination of Mercedes comfort and sportiness has been given added emphasis within the context of the model update measures. New, even softer leather upholstery (standard in SL 500 and higher) not only improves seating comfort but also enhances the sense of quality. The high-sheen metal door sills with Mercedes-Benz lettering now have a new design. New, embossed aluminium trim elements with an attractive pattern (standard in the SL 350, available as a no-cost option for the SL 500) are pleasing to the eye and to the touch. Burr walnut wood trim elements with a new grain pattern are standard in the V8 and V12 models and are available as an optional extra for the SL 350.
Another enhanced-quality feature is the redesigned shroud with double topstitching which houses the instrument cluster with its classic, chronometer-style gauges. To the right is the digital clock with a new dot-matrix display for better legibility. In front of the clock, the cover of the ventilation outlet has also been redesigned. The control switch for the vario-roof now has a more user-friendly form and a metallic surface. The two-seater can be converted from a coupé to a roadster – and vice-versa – in 16 seconds. The vario-roof is also available in a glass version as an optional extra.
Interior: new colour scheme for a luxurious and sporty ambience
The interior colour scheme of the new generation SL-Class has also been completely revised. In addition to the familiar alpaca grey and pebble beige, customers now have the choice of three new leather colours (standard for SL 500 or higher): black, flamenco red and cognac brown. The adoption of black as the new contrast colour extends the scope of the colour scheme and creates a luxurious and sporty ambience. The SL 350 has black seats in combined leather/"Como" fabric and can be equipped with leather upholstery as an option. All model variants can be equipped with particularly luxurious Exclusive nappa leather appointments, comprising an all-leather finish for the dashboard, door panels, centre console and the area behind the seats; the roof lining is finished in Alcantara. Customers have always been offered a wide range of colour combinations with which to individualise their SL-Class and the choice has been extended even further in the context of the model update measures. There are now five different interior colours and twelve exterior paint finishes to choose from, meaning that SL customers now have no less than 60 different possibilities for individualising the colour statement made by their sports car.
Particularly scratch-resistant nanoparticle paint technology is standard
The SL-Class is equipped as standard with the substantially more scratch-resistant clearcoat based on nanotechnology. This innovative paint system, which was introduced first by the Stuttgart-based automotive brand, is used in both metallic and non-metallic paint finishes. Remarkable advances in the area of nanotechnology have allowed tiny ceramic particles - each less than a millionth of a millimetre in size - to be integrated into the molecular structure of the binding agent. The nanoparticles provide a three-fold improvement in the scratch resistance of the paintwork and ensure visibly enhanced gloss over an extended period of time.
designo: even greater choice with new Edition interior packages
SL customers who wish to individualise their vehicles further can call on an even wider designo range with immediate effect. Ever since it was launched more than ten years ago, the high-quality designo range has become increasingly popular, especially among customers of the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class who like to use this unique range of individualisation options to add a particularly personal and exclusive dimension to their roadster.
Twelve different designo metallic paint finishes featuring particularly scratch-resistant nanotechnology can be combined with twelve single-tone or twelve two-tone designo leather upholstery finishes – with the result that there are practically unlimited possibilities for customers to turn their personal preferences into reality. A new feature is the designo logo on a high-quality metal badge set into the seat backrests. The designo Exclusive leather appointments have been enhanced substantially: leather appointments in the selected designo colour now cover not only the seats and the door centre panels, but also the lower part of the dashboard, the lower parts of the door panels, the rear shelf panelling and the centre console. Additional appointments available include designo Alcantara in anthracite, alpaca grey or pebble beige for the vario-roof lining as well as the A and C-pillars.
With regard to the designo wood trim elements, customers can choose between three variants:
maple grain stained in designo natural or designo umber
designo matt natural oak grain – a new, attractive wood trim
As unique as ever, the designo stone trim elements made from genuine granite are available in two versions for the SL-Class:
Labrador blue pearl
black Star Galaxy
Furthermore, for the first time, two designo interior appointments packages offering an extremely attractive combination of colours and materials are available for the SL 350 and SL 500.
designo Edition I features a classically elegant combination of colours and comprises:
leather appointments in cashmere beige
trim elements in designo matt natural oak grain
front armrest lid in designo black leather
designo black leather selector lever
instrument-cluster shroud in designo black leather
Alcantara roof lining in anthracite
lower section of dashboard in cashmere beige
The designo Edition II appointments package has a sporty character and comprises:
leather appointments in designo basalt grey
trim elements in black carbon fibre
front armrest lid in designo black leather
designo black leather selector lever
instrument-cluster shroud in designo black leather
Alcantara roof lining in anthracite
lower section of dashboard in basalt grey
AMG optional extras: even more powerful and dynamic looks for the SL-Class
The SL-Class can be given an even sportier character by means of two optional extras from Mercedes-AMG: AMG bodystyling and AMG light-alloy wheels. AMG bodystyling comprises front and rear aprons as well as side skirts and has the characteristic AMG design: at the front, the redesigned bumper with the large cooling air intakes and oval fog lamps with chrome surrounds makes a particularly powerful statement – and gives the new generation SL-Class an even more muscular appearance. The side skirts pick up the design of the front apron with their distinctive styling and create a link to the rear apron. The striking rear bumper with its black insert provides a satisfying conclusion.
Another particularly sporty touch is added by the AMG 5-spoke light-alloy wheels. Painted in sterling silver, they are now available as 19-inch wheels for the first time as a factory-fitted option. With their wide 255/35 (front) and 285/30 (rear) tyres, they fill out the wheel arches perfectly and give the SL-Class a decidedly dynamic look. Moreover, they also enhance the handling characteristics even further. AMG bodystyling and the distinctive AMG light-alloy wheels are available for all three model variants of the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class.
Optimum transport solution: high-quality bag for area behind seats
Mercedes-Benz Accessories GmbH offers the ideal travelling companion for those long trips in the form of a bag which has been specially developed and designed for the SL-Class. This elegant piece of luggage is matched precisely to the dimensions of the SL-Class and thus makes optimum use of the luggage shelf. The base of the bag is raised slightly in the middle to allow it fit snugly and securely over the centre tunnel of the Roadster.
In addition to the standard black/black colour scheme, the rear-shelf bag will be offered in future in the three most popular colours of the original leather upholstery of the SL-Class, each colour being used in combination with black ballistic nylon. Furthermore, the customer can make a special request for the bag to be made from any other original leather upholstery so that it is a perfect, harmonious match for the interior of his or her vehicle. Thanks to the integral retaining loops made from hard-wearing nappa cowhide, the bag can be secured particularly effectively with the optional luggage strap system. The intelligent interior layout of the bag allows it to be packed in many different ways to provide optimum protection for valuable items.
When it comes to the design and development of open two-seaters, few, if any, car manufacturers can draw on such a wealth of experience as Mercedes-Benz. The SL-Class, which was launched in October 2001, is synonymous with the remarkable capacity for innovation which characterises the brand with the three-pointed star.
Vario-roof: from coupé to roadster in just 16 seconds
With the vario-roof, which had its world première in 1996 in the SLK-Class Roadster, Mercedes-Benz set new trends in the development of open-top motoring. At the touch of a button the folding hardtop turns the two-seater from an open-air summer roadster into a car for all seasons with the practicality and low noise level of a coupé. The Mercedes engineers have perfected the technology behind this brilliant idea in the SL-Class and have developed an even more space-saving concept in order to minimise the impact on the boot capacity. The transformation from roadster to coupé (or vice-versa) takes just 16 seconds.
Movement: folding mechanism for C-pillars, rear windscreen and boot lid
The vario-roof consists essentially of three moving elements, which are connected with one another by an elaborate folding mechanism:
The dual-shell roof element in aluminium or (as an optional extra) glass
The two C-pillars with inner and outer shells
The rear windscreen with four-millimetre thick single-layer safety glass
As in the SLK Roadster the boot lid is also part of the system. Featuring a hinge function with seven joints and an integrated tubular frame, the lid tilts back automatically, allowing the roof elements to fold away fully into the load compartment. A two-piece, moving cover and two flaps which cover the area between the roll-over bar, side wall and boot lid on both sides, are also part of the vario-roof mechanism.
Those seeking a sense of freedom and openness with the roof closed can specify the optional glass variant of the vario-roof and treat themselves to a unique panoramic view. This optional extra creates a glass surface which extends from the windscreen over the whole roof and back as far as the rear windscreen.
The hydraulics: eleven cylinders and a high-pressure pump at work
Both the glass and aluminium variants are operated using the same remarkable and innovative folding mechanism. Consisting largely of die-cast aluminium painted black, it is located in the side walls of the bodyshell. A hydraulic pump and a total of eleven electrically-controlled hydraulic cylinders are used to operate the vario-roof. By either pulling back the redesigned aluminium-look switch on the centre tunnel or – when outside the SL sports car - pressing the button on the electronic ignition key, the driver sets in motion a process which can quite justifiably be described as a masterpiece of modern technology:
The fastenings on the roof frame and on the tubular frame of the boot lid are released. The roll-over bar is lowered, if necessary.
The boot lid tilts back. The rear side windows open. The front side windows slide down a few centimetres.
The "parcel shelf" folds away and the side covers fold out of the boot lid. The roof opens. The rear windscreen rotates around its own axis.
The roof, rear window and C-pillars disappear into the boot. The roll-over bar is erected, if it was in this position before the roof was opened.
The "parcel shelf", the tubular frame of the boot lid and side flaps are closed into place. The front side windows close again.
Boot: greater capacity, even easier to load
The rotational movement performed by the rear screen allows the curved surfaces of the roof and rear screen to lie close to each other in the boot. This gives the SL-Class a boot capacity of 235 litres (in accordance with the VDA measuring method) when the vario-roof is open – sufficient space for the luggage of most occupants. The vario-roof therefore only reduces the boot capacity by around a third (capacity when roof closed: 317 litres). The removable luggage cover, which increases the capacity of the boot by 22 litres to provide 339 litres of luggage space (more than any other vehicle in this segment) is included as standard with immediate effect. The luggage cover, which can be removed quickly and easily, not only increases the capacity of the boot, but also makes loading considerably easier and enhances usability.
The "Easy-Pack" system makes using the boot even more comfortable and convenient: when the roof is open, simply pressing a red button on the right-hand side of the boot panelling causes the folded vario-roof to tilt upwards by about 20 degrees, making the items of luggage stowed underneath easily accessible. When the luggage cover is closed again, another press of the red button returns the roof to its normal stowage position.
Additional operating comfort is offered by the optional remote boot-lid release system. Pressing the relevant button on the vehicle key, the boot lid or the interior panel of the driver’s door triggers an electrical system which opens the boot entirely automatically. The opening process also causes the folded vario-roof to tilt upwards for easier access. Pressing the red button on the underside of the boot lid returns the vario-roof to its normal stowage position and then closes the boot lid.
Passive safety: everything one would expect from Mercedes-Benz
The occupants of the SL-Class are protected by the high-strength body structure as well as by two-stage airbags for both driver and passenger, head/thorax sidebags in the doors, integral seats, belt tensioners, belt-force limiters and the sensor-controlled automatic roll-over bar.
The engine is the heart and soul of a sports car. In no other vehicle segment is the subjective quality of the driving experience dominated to such an extent by the powerplant. With this in mind, the Mercedes engineers have provided the new-generation SL-Class with three newly developed engines, each of which offers more output and torque than the corresponding predecessor model.
The SL-Class engine line-up comprises three powerplants with six, eight and twelve cylinders. The basic unit, the new V6 engine with 200 kW/272 hp and 350 newton metres of torque, is also offered in many other Mercedes-Benz passenger-car model series. Higher output with lower fuel consumption is the message from this advanced six-cylinder engine with a displacement of 3.5 litres, 24 valves and four continuously adjustable camshafts. Compared with the V6 used previously in the SL-Class, the new unit offers an extra 20kW/27 hp of output (an increase of about 11 percent) and consumes 10.3 litres of fuel per 100 km in the NEDC cycle – a good litre less than its predecessor.
The eight-cylinder engine in the SL 500 is a newly developed unit which has been providing the new S-Class with superbly assured performance since autumn 2005. With a displacement of 5.5 litres, the engine develops 285 kW/388 hp which represents an increase in performance of more than 26 percent compared with the previous V8. At 530 newton metres, its torque is also significantly higher – about 15 percent – than the maximum achieved by the previous engine. This high level of torque is available from 2800 rpm and remains constant throughout a wide engine speed range up to 4800 rpm, providing the ideal basis for powerful acceleration and fast intermediate sprints:
The new generation SL 500 accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 5.4 seconds and is therefore almost one second faster than the previous eight-cylinder Roadster.
In third gear, the SL 500 accelerates from 60 to 120 km/h in just 5.0 seconds.
The newly developed eight-cylinder unit is the top powerplant in the new generation of Mercedes-Benz V-engines which was successfully introduced in mid-2004. Equipped with four valves per cylinder, continuously adjustable intake and exhaust camshafts, a two-stage intake module and tumble flaps in the intake ducts, the new V8 is one of the most powerful engines in its displacement class. Other technical highlights of the new eight-cylinder unit include special shifting camshafts. These reduce the pressure fluctuations in the exhaust tract which are inherent in the design and thus improve the engine’s gas cycle significantly. The consequences of this measure include smoother running and higher torque in lower and medium engine speed ranges. The new Mercedes eight-cylinder powerplant employs the latest lightweight construction principles, with an aluminium crankcase, low-friction cylinder liners of aluminium/silicon alloy, a forged steel crankshaft and weight-optimised connecting rods.
The fact that, at 12.2 litres per 100 kilometres, the combined NEDC fuel consumption of the SL 500 remains at the level of the previous model despite having higher output and greater torque is a clear endorsement of the advanced design and high-tech features of the new Mercedes eight-cylinder unit. With a specific fuel consumption of 233 grams per Kilowatt hour (g/kWh) when operating at peak efficiency, and 345 g/kWh at part-throttle (2000 rpm, 2 bar), the engine has easily the lowest fuel consumption in this displacement and output class.
V12 engine: advanced powerplant with sophisticated biturbo system
The twelve-cylinder engine of the SL 600 reflects the wealth of experience and expertise which Mercedes-Benz brings to the development of high-tech powerplants. The Stuttgart-based automaker is the world’s largest manufacturer of V12 engines for passenger cars. This top-of-the-range engine has been revised for the new generation SL-Class: thanks to a new, far more efficient electronic engine management system, output has been raised by 12 kW/17 hp to 380 kW/517 hp. Maximum torque is also up by 30 newton metres to a new high of 830 Nm – and remains constant at this impressive level between 1900 and 3500 rpm.
With figures like these, it is clear that the SL 600 has ample resources to cope with every driving situation. It accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in only 4.5 seconds and polishes off the 60 to 120 km/h sprint in 4.2 seconds. The maximum speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h. Combined NEDC fuel consumption is 14.3 litres per 100 kilometres. The V12 combines its impressive performance with exemplary smoothness and extremely quiet operation - ideal conditions for a refined, highly enjoyable driving experience.
Lightweight design: engine features aluminium and magnesium components
The crankcase of the twelve-cylinder engine is made from diecast aluminium while diecast magnesium is used for the cylinder-head covers. Fracture-split or "cracked" conrods made from high-strength forged-steel alloy, pistons made from a high-quality aluminium alloy, hollow camshafts of induction-hardened forged steel, a weight-optimised forged-steel crankshaft and a diecast aluminium sump feature among the other lightweight components of the engine which weighs just 263 kilograms and has a power-to-weight ratio of 0.71 kg/kW.
This exemplary lightweight design is complemented by the engine’s equally impressive credentials with regard to its noise emissions and vibration characteristics. These qualities are inherent in the design of the new V12 unit: the V-angle of 60 degrees balances inertia forces and moments at source.
The space-saving positioning of the twin turbocharger turbines in the exhaust manifold maximises their efficiency. The compressed air flows through two engine-mounted water-cooled intercoolers located on the cylinder head covers. Depending on the engine load the air is cooled here by up to 100 degrees Celsius, so that its temperature and density are optimised for the combustion process. The water-intercoolers are integrated in a special low-temperature circuit. A demand-controlled, electric circulation pump transfers the heat between the water-intercoolers and the low-temperature cooler located in front of the engine which passes the heat from the water to the cooling air.
Overview of key engine data for the new SL-Class:
Cylinder arrangement/valves per cylinder
10.7 : 1
10.7 : 1
9.0 : 1
Output kW/hp at rpm
Max. torque Nm at rpm
Fuel consumption combined l/100 km
Accel. 0-100 km/h s 60-120 km/h s
Top speed mph
Sound design: newly developed exhaust systems for all three V-engines
The engine note has always been one of the defining characteristics of the sports-car driving experience. In order to add particular emphasis to the sporty character of the SL-Class, the Mercedes engineers have developed new exhaust systems for all three V-engines within the context of the model update measures. Their aim was to ensure that the updated models would have an emotionally engaging, dynamic engine note under load – when accelerating, for example – yet would still offer a high standard of long-distance comfort (one of the hallmarks of the SL) when cruising. Furthermore, all unwanted background noise was to be eradicated and emphasis given to those frequencies which are perceived as pleasant by the occupants.
Whether you are driving the SL 350, SL 500 or the SL 600 – it takes only a few kilometres to conclude that the measures which have been taken are a resounding success. At low revs, in particular, the SL engines are pleasantly sonorous and distinctive without ever becoming intrusive. The new sound design makes it possible to appreciate the exceptional potential of any member of the SL engine line-up, whatever the driving situation.
Exhaust emissions: all engines comply with the most stringent standards
The design measures taken to achieve this comprise new anechoic rear silencers with precision-tuned pipe perforations, centre silencers which function as Helmholtz resonators (SL 350 only) and a newly developed switchover valve between the left and right exhaust pipes. Increased pipe diameters in the SL 350 and SL 500 as well as the optimised flow characteristics of the silencers result in lower exhaust counterpressure and thus contribute to the increased output. All the exhaust systems are made from particularly durable stainless steel and have full twin-pipe architecture. The new catalytic converters, which are fitted on the firewall near the engine and feature a tri-metallic coating, make it possible to do away with the additional underfloor catalytic converters which were used previously. The new units reduce the exhaust counterpressure, reach their operating temperature more quickly, offer more efficient aftertreatment of the exhaust emissions and have greater resistance to aging. The emission control system used by Mercedes-Benz also features internal exhaust-gas recirculation with secondary air injection. All three model variants of the SL-Class fall well within the most stringent emissions limits which currently apply and have the potential to satisfy the standards planned for the future, too.