The SL-Class is one of the most iconic namplates in Mercedes’ storied history, as it dates all the way back to the legendary 300SL that debuted in 1954. The second, third, and fourth generations debuted in 1963, 1972, and 1989, respectively, and all brought significant changes.
The fifth-gen SL launched in 2003, and Mercedes gave it a significant facelift in 2008. Finally in 2012, the sixth-generation SL debuted at the 2014 North American International Auto Show, but it quickly became evident that it needed work to help separate it from the smaller SLK. This leads us to the revised version of the SL that has launched at the 2015 LA Auto Show, in preparation for the the 2016 model year in the U.S.
The new SL sports highly revised front and rear fascias with new headlights, taillights, and an all-new hood. The top is also reworked, allowing the power-folding hardtop to open and close at speed up to 40 kph, or 25 mph. The interior also sees some improvements, though not as drastic as the exterior. Fit and finish are said to be improved and the steering wheel has been updated.
The SL model range is getting revisions itself. The entry-level model has moved from the SL400 to the SL450, thanks to a revised V-6 engine with more power. The V-8 engine carries over from last year, keeping its SL550 designation. The same is true for the two AMG variants, the V-8-powered SL63 and the V-12-powerd SL65.
So let’s take a look at the refreshed SL-Class.
Updated 12/04/2015: Mercedes dropped a very interesting commercial for its latest SL. Hit play to watch it and let us know what do you think about it!
Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class.
The SL-Class has certainly benefited from the changes. The car looks much more premium in comparison to the smaller and less expensive SLK-Class. Now the two can be more easily told apart, helping customer seeking an exclusive, ultra-premium coupe feel better about their SL purchase.
The rear is classic Mercedes, though it does depart from the previous SL’s design.
The front clip has much more character to its design than before, with large air inlets under the new LED headlights, chrome or carbon fiber accents, and the new hood with its power dome. The rear is classic Mercedes, though it does depart from the previous SL’s design. The LED taillights and rear deck lid are more rounded, with sharp angles added to the mix down below, all thanks to the exhaust tips and chrome brightwork.
A bevy of new wheel options are available, including 10-spoke and five-spoke designs sized at 19 inches. Opting for the AMG package will make available six additional wheel designs. Two new colors are added to the pallet, and include Brilliant Blue and Selenite Grey Magno.
The two-piece hardtop roof operates at the push of a button while the car is moving. The top includes the option of Mercedes’ Magic Sky Control – the glass roof that changes from clear to opaque in seconds. Another “magic” feature that carries over from the previous car is Mercedes’ Magic Vision Control. Basically, it’s an innovated way to clean the windshield. Water hoses are incorporated into the wiper arms and spray cleaning solution onto the glass just in front of the blade. This happens in both directions. Best of all, the system keeps water from spraying inside the cabin when the top is retracted.
More over, the entire body shell is made of aluminum, helping lighten the car by roughly 220 pounds.
Speaking of the cabin, the SL has undergone only slight changes. Mercedes says gaps between panels have grown smaller, making the interior feel more premium. A new three-spoke steering wheel offers a slight change over the previous unit. The gauge cluster still features the two-tube design for the speedometer and tachometer The gauges, however, have been updated. A center-mounted TFT display offers vitals on the car, along with trim and mileage information.
Mercedes says gaps between panels have grown smaller, making the interior feel more premium.
The leather seats can now be had in saddle brown, made from nappa leather and Exclusive nappa leather. The interior also has nighttime mood lighting with the choice of three, driver-selectable colors. They are solar red, polar blue, and polar white. The center console has been updated with two USB ports.
Connectivity has been improved with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Included third-party apps include Stitcher Radio and Spotify, in addition to SiriusXM radio. Mercedes’ Command Online system now includes live traffic updates.
The cargo area has been updated with an electronically controlled “boot separator.” Basically, the separator acts by itself to correctly partition off the truck space for cargo or the folding hard top. The truck as now has a hands-free opening operation. Like several Ford products, the owner can kick under the rear bumper and the truck lid will open.
The big news under the newly shaped hood is the twin-turbocharged V-6 now has 34 more horsepower, pushing its total output to 362 horses. Torque comes in at 369 pound-feet. The engine is backed by a new nine-speed automatic transmission called the 9G-TRONIC. Because of these changes, the V-6 version of the SL is now called the SL450.
The big news under the newly shaped hood is the twin-turbocharged V-6 now has 34 more horsepower
The SL550’s 4.7-liter, twin-turbo V-8 carries over unchanged, making 449 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. The new nine-speed automatic is found here as well, giving the car two more forward gears over its previous gearbox.
Both of the AMG models carry over unchanged. The SL63 and its 5.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8 still makes 577 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque while the SL65 and its massive 6.0-liter, twin-turbo V-12 makes 621 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. The seven-speed Speedshift automatic transmission carries over for these models, though it does have slight modifications to make it quicker shifting.
The Mercedes SL isn’t just a straight-line machine. Its Dynamic Select fuction gives the driver five presets that change the behavior of the engine and transmission, along with the suspension and steering systems. Coming optional is the SL’s Active Body Control. The system reduces body roll in corners by quickly adjusting the suspension to make the car lean into the turn. The system also works to lower the car at higher speeds and raise the car (at the driver’s request) for entering steep driveways and such.
Number of cylinders/arrangement
362 HP @ 5,500-6,000 RPM
449 HP @ 5,250 RPM
577 HP @ 5,500 RPM
621 HP @ 5,500 RPM
369 LB-FT @ 1,800-4,500 RPM
516 LB-FT @ 1,800-3,500 RPM
664 LB-FT @ 2,250-3,750 RPM
738 LB-FT @ 2,300-4,300 RPM
Combined fuel consumption from (l/100 km)
Combined CO2 emissions from (g/km)
Acceleration 0-60 mph (s)
Top speed (mph)
The 2017 Mercedes SL has a host of active and passive safety system designed to keep the two occupants protected. Coming standard is Active Brake Assist that autonomously brakes the car in the event the driver doesn’t brake in time. Optional systems include the Driver Assistance Package, which includes Distronic Plus with Steering Assist, Active Brake Assist, Blind Spot Assist, and both Pre-Safe and Pre-Safe Plus systems.
Mercedes has yet to announce pricing for the 2017 SL-Class, but we suspect the MSRP of each SL variant will remain relatively unchanged. Expect some increase, but not much. The current 2016 SL-Class starts at $85,050 for the SL400 and increases to a whopping $217,550 for the AMG SL65.
The SL-Class has a rather wide array of competition due to its wide range of powertrain options, but the Porsche 911 Cabriolet lineup seems to match it well. The 911 Cabriolet’s powertrain lineup ranges from the Carerra’s 3.4-liter H-6 that develops 350 horses and 287 pound-feet of torque to the Turbo S’ 560 horses and 516 pound-feet of twist. This may all change by the time the new SL-Class debuts, as the 991.2 Porsche 911 is set to debut in the next few years.
The 2015 911 Cabriolet also matches the SL-Class pretty well in pricing, as its base Carerra model checks in at $96,200 for the 2015 model year, while the 2015 Turbo S model bases at $194,600.
The Jaguar F-Type Convertible lineup is another possible competitor to the SL-Class, and it is set for some serious drivetrain updates heading into 2016. For the new model year, the F-Type Convertible gains new S AWD and R AWD variants that include a 350-horse, supercharged V-6 and a 550-horsepower, supercharged V-8, respectively, mated to a new all-wheel-drive system. The rest of the F-Type Convertible lineup remains unchanged, except that the base model is also now available with a six-speed manual.
There are no mentions of pricing yet, but expect a mild uptick in the base model and a decent hike in the S and R variants to compensate for their AWD systems.
Read more about the Jaguar F-Type Convertible here.
The key improvement Mercedes has made to the SL-Class should help revive interest in the car, especially with the increased power in the V-6 model, the new nine-speed transmission in the non-AMG versions, and the upgraded exterior looks. The new aluminum body shell helps add rigidity and cut weight – two things that help a sports car move. With that, performance should slightly increase across the model range.
Wide range of engines
More power in V-6 & new nine-speed auto
Few changes with interior
Tons of competition to fend off
Updated 11/18/2015: Mercedes unveiled the 2017 SL-Class at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show.
Updated 11/13/2015: The first official images of the new Mercedes SL-Class surfaced online, meaning that an official debut should happen anytime now. Stay tuned for the official details!
Updated 11/11/2015: Mercedes dropped a first teaser image of the facelift SL-Class and confirmed an official debut will be made next week at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show.
Updated 10/21/2015: The new Mercedes SL was caught testing on the road sporting very little camouflage. Rumors suggest the model will be unveiled next month at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show.
Updated 03/03/2015: Based on the recent spy shots we created a rendering for the future Mercedes SL-Class facelift. Check it out and let us know what do you think.
New appearance for an automotive icon: the beginning of 2016 will see the start of customer orders for the Mercedes-Benz SL which will be available from April 2016 with a host of significantly enhanced technical and visual features. More powerful engines, the automatic transmission 9G-TRONIC, DYNAMIC SELECT with five transmission modes and Active Body Control with the curve tilting function all take the legend to a new dynamic level. The high suitability for everyday use has been enhanced with the vario- roof, which can now be operated at up to 40 km/h, and the automatic boot separator. Visually the front end in particular has been made significantly sportier. As a result the bonnet, bumper and headlamps, among other features, are all new.
The Mercedes-Benz SL is the top performer in a wide variety of disciplines: an elegant roadster for relaxed, comfortable cruising or a dynamic coupé for sporty trips on winding roads. Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz Cars Sales & Marketing: "The SL is an all-season vehicle that is fully suited for daily use, but above all it is a dream car for those special moments as a couple. Whatever its owner desires - it fulfils the expectations with technical perfection."
A particularly eye-catching feature of the new SL is the revised front end: the standard, unique diamond radiator grille extends downwards. Two powerdomes accentuate the long, drawn-out bonnet. Also adding to the unmistakable new appearance of the SL is the new standard-fit LED Intelligent Light System with headlamp housing extending far to the outside. The sporty silhouette is emphasised by the enlarged cosmetic air outlets with wing-like chrome inserts in the dynamic, broad vehicle wings and the exterior mirrors positioned on the beltline.
The model range now comprises the SL 400 with V6 engine uprated to 270 kW (367 hp) and 500 Nm (additional 25 kW/35 hp and also 20 Nm) as well as the SL 500 with the powerful 335 kW (455 hp) V8 engine. As standard the power transfer is handled by the new 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission. With DYNAMIC SELECT the vehicle characteristics can be adjusted in seconds at the touch of a button, as the system modifies the setup of the engine, transmission, suspension and steering at the driver’s behest.
Additional variants include the two Mercedes-AMG models in the guise of the SL 63 and SL 65, the latter with a V12 engine.
Exterior design: new appearance for the athletic aesthete
The Mercedes-Benz SL has always been athletic and aesthetic at the same time. Now the designers have worked on bringing these characteristics even more to the fore. A particularly eye-catching feature is the revised front end of the new edition of the SL: for its new appearance, traditional elements have been enhanced in an innovative and unmistakable manner. Inspiration came from the legendary 300 SL Panamericana racing car with its steeply raked radiator grille. This extends downwards, thus creating a completely individual "face" for the SL within the Mercedes-Benz model range. The grille is executed as the diamond radiator grille as standard.
The sculpted shape of the radiator grille harmonises perfectly with the now standard AMG bodystyling with the front apron in an A-wing design, which features a front splitter in the vehicle colour. Two powerdomes on the bonnet invoke the sporting heritage of the SL, while light-catching contours give additional structure to the bonnet.
Also adding to the unmistakable new appearance of the SL is the new standard-fit LED Intelligent Light System with headlamp housing extending far to the outside and torch-shaped unit comprising the daytime running lamp/position lamp and direction indicator. The edge area and other design components of the headlamp housing are retained in black - conveying a high-level of perceived quality and an effective sense of depth.
The side view of the SL reveals iconic sports car proportions, characterised by the long bonnet, the AMG side sill panels, the broad wheelbase and passenger compartment positioned towards the rear. Fine details create additional highlights. These include enlarged cosmetic air outlets with wing-like chrome inserts in the dynamic, broad vehicle wings.
With the roof down the SL shows off its attractive roadster contours with short, steeply angled A-pillars and frameless side windows. There is nothing to disrupt the clear lines: all aerials, as well as the roll-over bar, are fully integrated and thus not visible, while the electric draught-stop (optional extra) can be extended and retracted at the push of a button.
The rear end points to the high driving dynamics of the SL. The basis for this is the sense of width created by the large track gauge, accentuated by the AMG rear apron with side air intakes. The lower section of the diffuser incorporates the integral tailpipe trim elements as well as the centrally arranged rear fog lamp and reversing light.
The broad, one-piece tail lights are entirely coloured in red and pick up the flowing lines of the vehicle sides and carry them into the rear. As is typical of the brand, they feature a horizontal design with the wedge-shaped direction indicator at the top and the tail lamp and also brake lamp below.
Brilliant blue and designo selenite grey magno are available to choose from by way of new colours, plus the range of light-alloy wheels in the size 48.3 cm (19 inches) has also been extended significantly. New additions include a 10-spoke wheel and a 5-spoke wheel, both with a high-sheen finish in high-gloss black. On top of this there are six additional new AMG wheels as part of the accessories range.
Interior design: sports car atmosphere in comfortable surroundings
Minimal gap dimensions and fully padded beltlines are just two examples of the top-class standards which the SL also embodies in the refined interior. The ambient lighting with three selectable colours (solar red, polar blue, polar white) ensures an emotional lighting mood. The upper part of the dashboard forms a unit with the door beltlines, and four round air vents featuring an engine look create sporty highlights.
The three-spoke sports steering wheel has a magnesium structure and features an ergonomic grip area and a high-quality finish. The airbag module too is finished in nappa leather with topstitching. Twelve control buttons provide access to the menu navigation in the instrument cluster as well as the audio system, telephone and voice entry. The steering wheel rim has a flattened bottom section, and silver-coloured steering wheel shift paddles enable manual gear changes to be made.
The instrument cluster with 2-tube look for displaying speed and rpm combines classic circular instruments with modern display technology. Dials and pointers have a new sporty design. Up to 60 km/h, the speed scale is indicated in steps of 10. When starting up, the pointers move from the 6 o’clock position once around the entire scale and then return to the starting position. The driver is also greeted in style by the TFT multifunction display located between the circular instruments: on start-up it shows a front view of the SL.
Lovingly designed details such as the analogue clock (optional extra) adorn the centre console. Its new graphic design is based on the instrument cluster. Depending on the transmission mode selected by DYNAMIC SELECT, the media display presents dynamic driving data: longitudinal and lateral acceleration (in a G-force cross) or torque and output.
Comprehensive individualisation of the interior is possible with the broad selection of leather finishes and trim elements. The colour saddle brown is new in combination with nappa leather and Exclusive nappa leather.
Intelligent Drive: Driving Assistance package Plus and LED Intelligent Light System
As standard the SL features Active Brake Assist, known as COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS in other model series. In addition to radar-based proximity warning and braking assistance by Adaptive Brake Assist, this Active Brake Assist system carries out autonomous braking to reduce the danger of rear-end collisions. If the driver fails to act when a risk of a collision is detected, despite the warning lamp in the instrument cluster and the intermittent audible alert, the system will initiate automatic braking. This significantly reduces the vehicle speed. At low relative speeds, this intervention may be sufficient to prevent a rear-end collision with slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles.
Optionally available for the SL is the Driving Assistance package with stereo camera and in some cases new as well as improved functions. Overview of the features of the Driving Assistance package Plus:
Distance Pilot DISTRONIC and Steering Pilot: assists the driver with maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front and staying in the centre of the lane. The radar and camera-based system brakes when necessary and accelerates again, if possible, to the preset desired speed. The Steering Pilot can take the strain off the driver when it comes to lateral guidance of the vehicle. On straight roads and gentle curves it generates steering torque which contributes to keeping the vehicle in the centre of the lane. To achieve this the system makes use of a stereo camera to orient itself based on clearly visible road markings and, at lower speeds, on the vehicle in front.
Active Brake Assist with cross-traffic function: is able to warn the driver of impending crash situations, provide optimum support with emergency braking and if necessary also automatically apply the brakes itself. In addition to detecting slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles, it also detects crossing traffic at junctions, the tail ends of traffic jams and pedestrians in the danger zone ahead of the vehicle, for example.The PRE-SAFE® Brake is able to detect not only slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles but also pedestrians, to brake autonomously if the driver fails to react and as a result help to avoid accidents up to 50 km/h and reduce their severity up to 72 km/h. In flowing traffic, the PRE-SAFE® Brake provides assistance according to the same mode of operation throughout the speed range from 7 to 200 km/h.
Active Blind Spot Assist: is able to warn the driver when changing lanes, for example, and can contribute to averting an impending collision by means of one-sided brake actuation.
Active Lane Keeping Assist: is able to detect unintentional lane departure, warn the driver by means of pulsating steering wheel vibrations and contribute, by means of one-sided brake actuation, to guiding the vehicle back into its lane.
PRE-SAFE® PLUS: if a rear-end collision appears imminent, the system can activate preventive measures to protect occupants. These include warning vehicles following behind and applying the vehicle brakes when at a standstill.
The optional Parking Pilot can take the strain off the driver by helping him/her to search for a suitable parking space and making it easier to manoeuvre into and out of parking spaces with active steering intervention. A new feature is assistance with parking perpendicular to the road. The Parking Pilot includes six ultrasonic sensors in each of the front and rear bumpers which measure the size of the parking space when driving past it. In addition, the Parking Assist PARKTRONIC is also a part of the system. It provides visual and audible warnings of obstacles in front of and behind the vehicle, thus helping to avoid damage when manoeuvring.
For optimum visibility on country roads and motorways, when cornering and on bends, the standard-fit LED Intelligent Light System automatically adapts to all light and driving conditions. The LED technology features low energy consumption, a long service life and a pleasant white light which approximates the daylight spectrum. The five functions of the LED Intelligent Light System include motorway mode, cornering light function, camera-based active light function, roundabout light function and also the enhanced fog light function. On unlocking the SL, the welcome light also greets the driver with an exceptional lighting display: the LED fibre optics in the headlamps light up in blue after opening the vehicle and then transition to white locator lighting.
Anti-dazzle continuous high beam comes courtesy of the optional Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus. When high beam is switched on, this system always makes the optimum headlamp range available. The driver can concentrate on the traffic and does not have to continually switch between low beam and high beam. Via a camera positioned behind the windscreen, the Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus detects other illuminated road users, for example oncoming vehicles or vehicles travelling in front, and adjusts the headlamps independently to the new traffic conditions. A mechanism in the headlamp module masks the portion of the cone of light of the LED headlamps where there are other vehicles to prevent their drivers from being dazzled. The driver can therefore leave the high-beam headlamps on at all times and use their full range without bothering or endangering other road users. This function is active at speeds above 30 km/h when travelling in the dark on roads without street lighting.
Comfort appointments: convenient operation of the vario-roof
SL fans also appreciate the sports car icon on account of its high suitability for everyday use. With the facelift Mercedes-Benz has improved the comfort appointments even further. These include operation of the electrohydraulic vario-roof. If when opening or closing the roof the vehicle has to move off due to the traffic conditions, the process which was started when at a standstill can be continued up to a speed of approx. 40 km/h.
Equally new is the automatic boot separator. If the separator is in the upper position for increased boot capacity, it automatically moves down when the top is opened. Conversely, the automatic boot separator returns to the upper position, also by means of electric operation, as soon as the boot flap is opened.
A further practical detail in the boot is the loading setting - the roof stowed in the boot can be swung upwards by approximately 25 degrees at the press of a button. The KEYLESS-GO Convenience package includes remote closing of the boot lid as well as HANDS-FREE ACCESS. With this, the lid opens or closes automatically after making a kicking motion with the foot beneath the rear bumper. The automatic boot separator additionally moves into the upper position when opening the lid to provide clear access to the loading aperture. Another feature which has been retained is the unique optional extra MAGIC SKY CONTROL: when closed, the panoramic vario-roof automatically changes from dark to transparent or vice-versa within just a few seconds.
When it comes to ambient lighting, Mercedes-Benz has opted for LED technology and has extended the colour range: in addition to solar red, the colours polar blue and polar white can also be chosen. A further practical finishing touch: the stowage compartment in the centre console now features two USB ports. One of the highlights is ambient lighting with projection of the brand logo.
A further special feature comes in the guise of MAGIC VISION CONTROL, the intelligent and highly efficient wash/wipe system. The innovative design of the wiper blade always delivers washer fluid immediately in front of wipe lip, via the water feed line integrated into the blade – and it does this in both wiping directions. The result is that there is no gush of water when spraying fluid, which can impair visibility, and at the same time the maximum cleaning effect is achieved. In addition, the water stays on the windscreen, thus also enabling convenient cleaning of the windscreen even with the roof open. When the roof is open, the water is dispensed in such a way that no moisture gets into the interior. Optionally the wiper can be heated
to prevent snow or ice from sticking in winter. It is with such details that the Roadster-Coupé underscores its exceptional position as a comfortable sports car suitable for all-year-round use.
Connectivity: Mercedes me connect featuring a host of functions
The new SL is intelligently networked and "always on". This is ensured thanks to the standard-fit communications module (on-board SIM card) which enables the use of Mercedes me connect services. The available Standard Services currently include Accident Recovery, Breakdown Management and Maintenance Management, as well as Telediagnostics, for example.
Also available as standard is the Mercedes-Benz emergency call system. In an accident this service automatically connects the occupants with the Mercedes-Benz Emergency Call Centre and sends the position and status of the vehicle to the rescue operations centre. A rescue vehicle can then be dispatched immediately. The system works automatically, but can also be triggered manually.
The optional Remote Online feature provides the technical basis for the SL to use Remote Services. For example, navigation destinations can be sent to the vehicle from a computer or smartphone. Geofencing, Vehicle Tracker and Parked Vehicle Locator, Remote Door Locking and Unlocking or Remote Retrieval of Vehicle Status – these are additional Remote Services and Tracking Services that can currently be activated separately from Daimler AG for three years on the basis of this technical preparation.
With the Smartphone Integration package compatible smartphones can be integrated into the vehicle via Apple® CarPlay® and used via voice-operated control for example. In addition, the other vehicle controls can also be used. Safe and comfortable use on the road is always ensured.
In the case of Apple® CarPlay® for example, the system supports making and receiving calls, navigation and listening to music, receiving and sending text messages and emails as well as Siri ® voice control. The selected apps from third-party providers that are also supported include Stitcher Radio® and Spotify®.
The functionality of COMAND Online (optional extra on the SL 400) now includes internet radio as well as Live Traffic Information, for example. The latter service uses real-time traffic data for dynamic route guidance with more accurate arrival times.
A concert room atmosphere even with the top down as well as less bulk in the doors due to reduced installation space are ensured by the Frontbass system, which celebrated its premiere in the SL in 2012. It makes intelligent use of the free installation space in the aluminium cavities in front of the footwell as resonating chambers for the base speakers.
The optional Harman Kardon® Logic 7® surround sound system has a 10-channel DSP amplifier with a total output of 600 watts and 11 high-performance speakers including Frontbass.
An even more sophisticated sound is produced by the Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG sound system. It uses a 16-channel DSP amplifier with a total output of 900 watts in conjunction with 12 high-performance speakers including Frontbass. Its twin-lens tweeters provide a futuristic show effect with LED light strips - adapted to instrument lighting. The B&O-specific COMAND Menu True Image™ enables individual special settings to be made.
Even more choice: the Curve function on the ABC suspension for the first time
The steel suspension of the standard chassis features continuously variable dampers. In conjunction with the AMG Line equipment the suspension is lowered by 10 mm and fitted with harsher springs and torsion-bar stabilisers. The driver can leave the setting of the basic characteristics of the suspension to the control electronics via DYNAMIC SELECT - from comfortable to extremely sporty in the new third Sport+ mode.
The characteristics of the transmission modes:
Eco (E), fuel-efficient setting with "sailing" function
Comfort (C), comfortable setting for long journeys or on rough roads
Sport (S), sporty setting for a dynamic driving style
Sport Plus (S+), extremely sporty setting - particularly suitable for flat road surfaces
Individual (I) allows individual adjustment of the various parameters to suit the driver’s requirements.
Alternatively there is another option available in the guise of Active Body Control (ABC) with curve tilting function. ABC reduces body movements when moving off, braking and cornering. The spring struts of the ABC suspension are adjusted to the respective driving conditions via so-called plunger cylinders (via oil pressure), therefore making torsion-bar stabilisers on the front and rear axle, which can reduce comfort, unnecessary. The dampers only have to eliminate wheel vibrations and can be set up in such a way as to ensure comfort without losing any of the sportiness. In addition, the vehicle level can be adjusted to any unevenness: At higher speeds the SL is automatically lowered by 13 mm for more favourable aerodynamics. Conversely, at the press of a button it is possible to raise the vehicle by 50 mm for driving on rough roads.
On top of this there is the curve tilting function which applies a maximum of 2.65 degrees in the speed range from 15 to 180 km/h. It can be set via DYNAMIC SELECT ("Curve"), noticeably reducing the effects of lateral acceleration on the vehicle occupants. The DYNAMIC SELECT transmission modes in conjunction with ABC suspension:
Curve (CV) increases ride comfort
Comfort (C) is the comfortable setting for long journeys or on rough roads
Sport (S) as a sporty setting enables a particularly dynamic driving style
Sport Plus (S+) is an extremely sporty setting - particularly suitable for flat road surfaces
Individual (I) allows individual adjustment of the various parameters to suit the driver’s requirements.
Lighter and stiffer: elaborate all-aluminium bodyshell
The latest generation of the Mercedes-Benz SL takes the meaning of the well-known abbreviation "SL" – Super-Light – literally at its word. Systematic weight reduction is just as much a part of the outstanding design features of the new SL as it was for its namesake, the original SL from 1952 with its lightweight tubular frame. Here for the first time Mercedes-Benz has implemented an all-aluminium bodyshell as part of large-scale series production. Only relatively few components are made using other materials. High-strength steel tubes are integrated in the A-pillars to increase safety.
The aluminium bodyshell weighs around 110 kg less than if it had been produced using steel technology. The aluminium structure is not only lighter, but also superior in terms of rigidity, safety and comfort. This is thanks to intelligent lightweight construction with components optimised for their respective intended purposes. For example, different types of aluminium processing are used. Depending on their function, the components are produced using gravity die casting or vacuum die casting, made from extruded sections or used as aluminium sheets of a variety of different wall thicknesses. The result is high levels of rigidity and safety as well as better vibration characteristics.
With its intelligent lightweight construction, which also comprises new bonding techniques, the SL has also become a role model for the current S-Class. The total of six models in the luxury class are characterised by a high percentage of strategically deployed light alloys such as aluminium or magnesium.
Tradition: a dream sports car for more than 60 years
The exceptional position occupied by the SL in the history of Mercedes-Benz is also evident from its very name: due to its iconic status, the SL has retained its tradition-rich model designation even after the introduction of the new nomenclature. For more than 60 years now, the Mercedes-Benz model range with the "SL" acronym has enthralled sports car fans around the world.
This legend has its roots in the world of motorsport: in 1952 the 300 SL racing sports car (W 194), with its successes in international competitions, became the spark for the development of two exciting series-production sports cars in the guise of the gullwing coupé and roadster. Their birth ultimately took place in New York: it was there, at the International Motor Sports Show in February 1954, that Mercedes-Benz presented not one but two now legendary SL models: the 300 SL gullwing Coupé (W 198 I) and the open-top 190 SL (W 121). Based on the legendary "gullwing", the open-top 300 SL Roadster (W 198 II) appeared on the market in 1957, and was built up to 1963 in parallel with the 190 SL model.
In 1963 the SL series W 113 appeared, referred to as the "Pagoda SL" on account of the characteristic shape of its hardtop roof. This was followed in 1971 by the R 107 series which – also due to the long production period of 18 years – achieved the highest production volume of all SL series to date. In March 1989 Mercedes-Benz presented the R 129 series, which was characterised by numerous technical innovations such as the sensor-controlled roll-over bar and the integral seat. It opened up a new dimension of performance for the SL and was replaced in 2001, after a production period of twelve years, by the R 230 series. The SL now sported a steel folding top and with its pronounced sportiness harked back to the unique tradition of its legendary forefather. The current generation of the SL ultimately appeared in the spring of 2012 in the guise of the R 231 series, which combines the high performance level of its predecessor with maximum levels of comfort and efficiency.
The new Mercedes-AMG SL 63 and SL 65
High-performance roadsters now even more attractive
Affalterbach. Mercedes-AMG is further enhancing its SL 63 and SL 65 high-performance roadsters with updated technology and expressive design. The front section features a completely new design, with a radiator grille which broadens out towards the bottom and the A-wing front spoiler. The stylish light signature and the highly comprehensive scope of standard equipment and appointments underscore the high-quality impression. The engines set the benchmark in the high-performance roadster segment: the 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine on board the SL 63 generates an output of 430 kW (585 hp) and peak torque of 900 Newton metres. The SL 65 is powered by a 6.0-litre V12 biturbo engine rated at 463 kW (630 hp) and delivering 1000 Newton metres of peak torque.
Outstanding performance, impressive driving characteristics and the expressive, stylishly honed design are the hallmarks of the new Mercedes-AMG SL 63 and Mercedes-AMG SL 65. The technical highlights include the sports suspension based on Active Body Control, the rear-axle differential lock which now features as standard, the even more responsive AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission (SL 63) and the five AMG DYNAMIC SELECT driving programmes.
"Our updated SL 63 and SL 65 high-performance roadsters offer a unique driving experience, combining hallmark AMG "Driving Performance" with the pleasures of open-air motoring and superior comfort on long journeys, notes Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. The SL 63 and SL 65 will have their world premiere at the Los Angeles Auto Show on 18 November 2015; the market launch will begin in April 2016.
Both roadsters offer more power and torque than their respective competitors in this segment. These engines result in high-calibre performance, as illustrated by figures for acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.1 and 4.0 seconds respectively, for example. The top speed is 250 km/h (electronically limited). The AMG Driver’s package includes an increase in the top speed to 300 km/h (electronically limited). NEDC combined fuel consumption stands at 9.8 litres per 100 kilometres for the eight-cylinder engine and 11.9 l/100 km for the twelve-cylinder variant.
The powerhouses incorporate numerous high-tech components for high power output combined with low fuel consumption: in addition to spray-guided direct petrol injection, further features include an all-aluminium crankcase, twin turbocharging, four valves per cylinder with camshaft adjustment and an air/water intercooler. The weight-optimised exhaust system provides for a striking engine sound with an individual character. Large radiators in the front and special vents in the bonnet ensure the required heat balance for the engines.
Performance is also boosted by the sports suspension based on Active Body Control, the high-performance composite brake system and the redeveloped AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission (SL 63) or AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC (SL 65).
The intelligent lightweight design is also a major contributory factor to the high driving dynamics. On the SL models the light all-aluminium bodyshell provides the basis for high rigidity, safety and comfort combined with the lowest possible weight. The designers have used the even lighter material magnesium for the panel behind the tank. The boot lid contributes to a further reduction in weight. The interior support consists of a light carbon-fibre composite material. The extremely rigid carbon-fibre component benefits from AMG’s motorsport expertise and is bonded to the equally very light plastic outer shell. This results in weight savings of five kilograms in comparison to a conventional boot lid.
Sports suspension based on Active Body Control
The steering knuckles and spring links of the 4-link front axle and almost all the wheel control parts of the multi-link rear suspension are also produced in weight-optimised aluminium. The reduction in unsprung masses benefits not only agility, but also the response of the spring-damper elements.
Mercedes-AMG remains faithful to the Active Body Control (ABC) active spring and damper system. For even greater agility and high cornering speeds, the AMG SL models have more negative camber all round and fully revised, substantially stiffer elastokinematics. At the touch of a button, the optional Performance suspension (available for SL 63 only) offers an emphatically sporty characteristic with reduced roll angles and taut body damping at the touch of a button ("Sport") or a more comfort-oriented set-up for a high level of comfort on longer journeys ("Comfort").
In conjunction with the new electromechanical speed-sensitive power steering, the AMG roadsters offer agile cornering and clear feedback to the driver when the car is approaching its critical limits. The steering features a constant and more direct ratio and variable power assistance which adapts according to the selected suspension set-up. The standard scope of equipment also includes 3-stage ESP® with "SPORT Handling" mode for particularly ambitious drivers.
Even more responsive: AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission
The AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission on the SL 63 boasts tailor-made dynamics and high variability. Whether automatic or initiated by the driver using the steering wheel shift paddles, upshifts and downshifts are executed noticeably faster than on the previous model. Especially in "Sport Plus" and in manual mode, the transmission response is now even more prompt. This enhanced spontaneity was made possible by optimising the engine and transmission software. Furthermore, the new aluminium shift paddles are now able to transmit the driver’s commands to change gears even faster. The tangible driving dynamics are thus enhanced further.
Optimum traction: rear-axle differential lock as standard
For improved traction and driving dynamics, SL 63 and SL 65 are equipped with a mechanical rear-axle differential lock as standard. This reduces the slip on the inside wheel when cornering, without any control intervention in the braking system. This allows the driver to accelerate out of corners earlier thanks to the improved traction. The car remains more stable when braking from high speeds, and the limited-slip differential also improves traction when accelerating fast from a standing start.
AMG DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes
The five different driving programmes "Comfort", "Sport", "Sport Plus", "Individual" and "RACE" provide the driver with broad scope for influencing the characteristics of the SL 63 and SL 65. Numerous parameters can be modified, from throttle response to engine sound, enabling the utmost in individualisation. In the "Comfort" programme the driver experiences a gentle transmission characteristic with comfortable and early gear changes. In "C" mode the car always starts in second gear. In the other driving modes the engine and transmission demonstrate substantially greater agility, in addition to which gear changes are faster. On the SL 63, an automatic double-declutching function when downshifting and the RACE START function also form part of the standard scope of the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission.
Expressive and distinctive: the exterior design
The striking design emphasizes the two high-performance roadsters’ self-assured character. The front section is totally new and markedly more expressive. It is characterised by the newly designed twin-blade radiator grille, which is now wider at the bottom. The A-wing front apron, the large cooling air intakes with flics as an additional means of guiding air flows and the front splitter emphasize the vehicle’s width. The newly designed bonnet combines design and function in the guise of classic powerdomes and the vents which are required for technical reasons.
The apron in a new diffusor look immediately catches the eye at the rear. All-red tail lights underscore the stylish character. The side skirts also feature a new design and incorporate different inserts according to the model concerned - in silver chrome on the SL 63, while the SL 65 is set apart by applications in high-gloss chrome. The Night package is optionally available for the first time. The Carbon-Fibre package has been extended to include inserts in the rear apron and in the side skirts.
The SL 63 leaves the factory with 10-spoke light-alloy wheels, painted in titanium grey and with a high-sheen finish, in size 9 J x 19 with 255/35 R 19 tyres at the front and in size 10 J x 19 with 285/30 R 19 tyres at the rear. The SL 65 is fitted as standard with multi-spoke ceramic polished forged wheels. The front wheels come in size 9 J x 19 and are fitted with 255/35 R 19 tyres, while the rear wheels in size 10 J x 20 are fitted with 285/30 R 20 tyres.
Class materials, comprehensive scope of standard appointments: the interior
The lavishly appointed interior covers every wish: the standard scope includes sports seats in nappa leather with optimised lateral support and model-specific upholstery layout, multicontour function and seat heating. The driver has a good grip on the AMG SL at all times with the 3-spoke Performance steering wheel in black nappa leather featuring a flattened bottom rim and silver-coloured aluminium shift paddles. Carbon-fibre trim and the analogue clock in IWC design highlight the high-performance roadster’s special standing. Optional carbon-grain aluminium trim lends the open-top two-seaters an even more personal touch.