When Mercedes released the latest generation of the SL-Class , some people thought that the designers may have erred a little bit too much on the side of making it look like the rest of the Benz lineup. Instead of fitting in with the legendary history of the SL nameplate, the latest version didn’t seem to excite buyers in quite the same way. Buyers worried that the recently-redesigned SLK-Class looked a little bit too much like its bigger brother, and while the SLK certainly benefited greatly from its most recent redesign, perhaps buyers of the over-$100,000 SL weren’t too excited about their car looking so much like a sub-$50,000 SLK.
Marcus Piecha was one of those people, and perceiving a reluctance to purchase the latest SL, he set about coming up with a solution. The Mercedes-Benz SL "Avalange GT-R" is exactly that, an aerodynamics and appearance package that he believes will make the Mercedes-Benz SL much more desirable.
Click past the jump to read more about the Mercedes-Benz SL "Avalange GT-R" By Piecha Design.
Mercedes-Benz SL "Avalange GT-R" By Piecha Design in detail
The Avalange GT-R package starts with a new bumper that gives the front end a much more dynamic and aggressive look. It features redesigned air intakes on each side and a front lip spoiler painted in a variety of colors. Integrated LED daytime running lights finish out the reworked front bumper. Piecha also adjusted the location and angle of the grille to make it look flatter and broader without requiring any major work. Unlike many tuner packages, the new front end on the Piecha SL looks like it could be from the factory and is surprisingly attractive.
Side skirts are available as well and are designed to give a broader appearance to the SL. LEDs can be fitted as well, in the event that the owner wishes to illuminate the side at night. The side-fins are extended to reach back to the doors, creating a more unified look with the ones on the hood, and they are offered in black, gray, or matte finish.
Moving out back, perhaps the most prominent change is a newly designed rear diffuser. It’s then paired with trapezoid-shaped quad-exhaust tips to fit with the look of the diffuser . Rear air outlets on the sides mimic the ones on the front, and a trunk-lid spoiler that’s designed to increase downforce finishes out the back.
New 20-inch staggered wheels are offered, allowing the car to be lowered nearly a full inch (roughly 25 mm). Buyers can also choose from two new exhausts, with one sounding like the deep, rumbling SLS and the other is described as sounding like a "poisonous and lethally rattling racecar." To cap the Avalange GT-R package off, Piecha modified the hardtop convertible roof to open and close at speeds of up to 37 mph. The roof can also be remotely opened or closed remotely by using the key fob or the door handle.
Pricing for the Mercedes-Benz SL "Avalange GT-R" by Piecha Design starts at under €10,000 ($13,634 as of 6/25/2014) and increases depending on the wheels, tires, and paint ordered.
Introduced in 1954 as the Mercedes-Benz 300SL , the SL-Class is Mercedes’ grand tourer. Currently in its sixth generation, the SL was redesigned in 2012 and is now constructed almost entirely from aluminum, which allows for significant weight savings and increased rigidity. Sold in the U.S. as the SL550 , it makes 429 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque from its 4.6-liter, twin-turbo V-8, all routed to the rear wheels through Mercedes-Benz’s seven-speed automatic transmission.
AMG got its hands on the SL as well, which resulted in two models: the SL63 AMG and the SL65 AMG . The SL63 AMG packs a 5.4-liter, twin-turbo V-8 that makes 530 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. The SL65 AMG, on the other hand, manages to stuff a 6.0-liter, twin-turbo V-12 that makes a face-melting 621 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. While both use seven-speed transmissions, the SL63 AMG uses Mercedes’ AMG SpeedShift MCT, while the SL65 AMG uses Mercedes’ AMG SpeedShift Plus to swap gears.
Pricing for the Mercedes-Benz SL550 starts at $106,700, while the SL63 AMG starts at $147,300, and the SL65 AMG starts at $214,500.
One would like to assume that the success story of the legendary SL series has remained unbroken for several decades. With the current generation of the R231 however, the designers from Stuttgart have unfortunately, shot slightly off the mark because neither die-hard SL fans nor sports car enthusiasts are truly fascinated by the open “Sports Light”. One explanation for this is possibly the fact that the designers tried to impose the present uniformed Mercedes-looks on the SL. Moreover, its visual appearance looks very much like that of the smaller sibling SLK.
Even Marcus Piecha, owner and designer of the renowned Mercedes forge smithery Piecha Design from Rottweil, noticed the attitudinal reluctance of his customers towards the current SL and resolved to change the situation. For several months, he worked on many different ideas and plans. The result is the brand new aerodynamic line “Avalage GT-R” that is tailored accurate-to-the-millimetre, for the current SL generation. The new design line offers a perfectly aligned composition with the new shaping pattern comprising high-end materials and striking details. The front side stands out for powerful air inlets in the front bumpers, uniquely styled air blades with integrated LED daytime running lights and air inlets on the sides. The spoiler flap with its distinctive colours give the Piecha SL a touch of pointedness and its filigree looks. The nose above the radiator grill panel was slightly drawn forward, extended and also optically displaced downwards. The front thus looks optically more flat and broader without any work having to be done on the external dimensions.
The side skirts were designed to look sportier and make the silhouette appear clearly broader. The sill-boards can be fitted on demand, with LED illumination which perfectly illuminates the SL by night. Equally new are the extended side fins on the front mudguards that now reach out far to the doors. The smaller fins on the engine hood in serial production were replaced by the clearly larger aero-wings. For the fin set made up of 12 different parts, the customer chooses between three colour variations: high-lustre black, galvano-silver or shadow-graphite matt. Lacquering can however be done individually, also in every other colour of choice.
Also completely newly designed was the rear of the SL, where an elegantly proportioned diffuser with integrated double trapezoid exhaust screens ensures maximum sportiness. Moreover, the factory-fitted “Hands-free access” for opening the luggage compartment with the diffuser can still be supplied optionally. Another highlight on the rear is the LED reversing light with integrated fog light that was harmonically installed in the diffuser in the Formula 1 style. The rear air outlets take over the design of the front inlets in the mudguards. A rear spoiler flap for the rear lid, which clearly ensures more downthrust – particularly at high speed – rounds up the package.
After countless driving tests, Marcus Piecha opted for a 20-inch wheel/tyre combination for the Avalange GT-R because it is capable of achieving a clearly improved performance of the driving qualities of the SL when lowered by approximately 25 mm. Piecha Design developed a special electronic lowering module for the optionally obtainable ABC chassis, which enables the driver to adjust the depth of his/her car individually, on the front and rear axle using the multifunction keys of the steering wheel for the view on the cockpit display.
In the 20-inch format, Piecha offers either a concave MP1 rims in the finish titan semi-gloss or its brand new MP3 wheel in the finish dark graphite grey. In the latter case, the contour of the front axle rim was deliberately designed in the flat form to be able to fully accentuate the distinctive concave drop-centre design of the rear axle rim. Piecha Design opted for 9.5x20 inches with 255/30R20 for the front and 11x20 inches with 305/25R20 for the rear as the proper dimension. The speciality in this case: This combination fits without any adjustment and reworking whatsoever, of the bodywork under the SL mudguard.
Piecha Design developed two acoustically completely different exhaust systems for the species-appropriate processing of the waste gases. The systems made of finest stainless steel sound either like a deep roaring, rumbling SLS or a truly poisonous and lethally rattling racing car – both variations have the sporty backfiring and bubbling. Finally, Piecha endowed the SL with a comfort module for the vario roof, which ensures that the roof can open and close at a speed of up to 60 km/h. As another comfort function, the roof can be operated while the vehicle is at a standstill, through the ignition key with just three clicks on the open and close button from a distance of up to approx. 10 meters. Even the closing of the roof with a three-time touching of the “Keyless Go” facility on the door handle is possible without having to hold the key in the hands.
Piecha Design offers its extensive SL transformation for less than EUR 10,000:00 in addition to the wheel/tyre combination and assembly and painting works.