The lighter, more athletic and luxurious Mercedes-Benz SL

Posted on 04 February 2012 by Tony Santos

2012 Mercedes-Benz SL

For the first time Mercedes-Benz has released the new “SL” super lightweight all-aluminum bodyshell version of the Mercedes-Benz SL which cuts up to 140 kilograms of weight giving it much more agility, excellent roll characteristics and ride comfort. It also features the new BlueDIRECT engine, Frontbass sound system, Magic Vision Control and much more.

One of the most exceptional design characteristics in the new SL is the consistent weight reduction, Mercedes-Benz has developed an all-aluminum bodyshell where only very few components are made of other materials. The aluminum structure is not only lighter but also proves superior to the predecessor’s steel construction in terms of rigidity, safety and comfort. This is achieved through the intelligent lightweight construction with components optimized for their specific task; parts are made by chill casting or vacuum die-casting, worked into extruded aluminum sections or into aluminum panels of different thicknesses. The result: high rigidity, high safety levels and better vibration characteristics.

Compared with its predecessor, the new generation of the SL is much longer 4612 mm (+50 mm) and wider 1877 mm (+57 mm), providing more room for more comfort in the interior, too. Shoulder room (+37 mm) and elbow room (+28 mm) have been increased, exceeding the dimensions normally found in this vehicle class.

Although the new SL is even more comfortable and has more assistance systems on-board than its predecessor and therefore does actually sacrifice some of the weight saved through the aluminum bodyshell, the scales show some astonishing figures: the new SL 500 weighs around 125 kilograms less than its predecessor. Alternatively, the SL 350 is even 140 kilograms lighter – all thanks to a host of other intelligent enhanced details to reduce weight, which Mercedes-Benz has also implemented in the new SL in addition to the aluminum bodyshell.

For the engines, the SL 500 comes with the new V8 which is capable of making 435 hp (12% increased) with the torque increased from 530 Nm to 700 Nm. It has lesser displacement of 4663 cc (0.8 liters less) but it has 22 percent reduced fuel consumption. Mated to a 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission, the new SL 500 sprints from 0-62 mph in just 4.6 seconds.

On the other hand, the new V6 engine in the new SL 350 delivers 306 hp and 370 Nm of torque. It has the same 3499 cc displacement but uses just 6.8 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers. Also mated to a 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission, the new SL 350 sprints from 0-62 mph in just 5.9 seconds.

Apart from the powerful engines, the new SL offers two different suspension systems: the semi-active adjustable damping as standard and the optional active suspension system ABC (Active Body Control). Both suspension variants are combined with a new electromechanical Direct-Steer system featuring speed-sensitive power steering and a ratio that can be varied across the steering wheel angle.

The sixth generation of the SL also offers a vario-roof that can be retracted into the boot using an electrohydraulic mechanism to save space, which converts the SL in less than 20 seconds into a roadster or a coupe, depending on the driver’s wishes and the weather.

Aerodynamically speaking the new SL merits best marks in its segment in four important disciplines:

  • With the lowest drag coefficient (cd = 0.27 in the SL 350);
  • With the lowest wind noise that is virtually on a par with a closed saloon;
  • With the best comfort for open-top motoring so that you can still have the roof down even at high speed;
  • With virtually no accumulation of dirt on the side windows.

While setting new trends of technology are its two notable innovations:

  • MAGIC VISION CONTROL is a new, intelligent and highly efficient wipe/wash system. The innovative wiper blade concept always applies the washer fluid just in front of the wiper blade lip via the channels integrated into the blade – in both directions of wipe. As a result, no water is splashed onto the windscreen during spraying to disrupt the driver’s visibility, while at the same time cleaning the windscreen perfectly. The water also remains on the windscreen, thus ensuring it is cleaned without troubling the occupants, even with the roof down. For the first time a fully heated wiper blade is available as an option that prevents snow or ice from forming on the blade in winter. This heating function also allows warm water to be applied directly onto the windscreen for the first time, even in cold temperatures.
  • The likewise unique Frontbass system intelligently uses the free spaces in the aluminum structures in front of the footwell as resonance spaces for the bass loudspeakers. As a result the new SL features clear, crisp bass sounds that make possible a concert hall ambience even with the top down, and frees up space in the doors.

The prices for the new Mercedes-Benz SL including 19% VAT are as follows:

  • SL 350 BlueEFFICIENCY: 93,534.00 euros
  • SL 500 BlueEFFICIENCY: 117,096.00 euros

2012 Mercedes-Benz SL:

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