At the pinnacle of the new Mercedes dream machines celebrating their public premiere in Geneva is the SL-Class. Mercedes Benz has refined, improved and developed the roadster further to a level of detail and extent that goes well beyond a mere model facelift. The result is a car that combines sportiness, safety and comfort into a synthesis unrivalled in this vehicle class, offering Mercedes driving refinement at sports car level.
The new, decidedly sporty and assured exterior design reflects the handling characteristics of this Mercedes roadster, which is now even more agile with a new direct-steer system while offering even more safety and comfort. The SL 350 is powered by a newly developed and particularly lively sports engine. Output has increased by 16 per cent to 316 hp compared to the previous 3.5-litre engine, while maximum torque has improved by 10 Nm to 360 Nm. This powerpack accelerates the new SL 350 from standstill to 62 mph in just 6.2 seconds, making it 0.4 seconds faster than the previous SL 350. More output does not mean higher fuel consumption for this sports car, however: at 28.5 mpg, the SL 350 is 1.1 mpg more economical (NEDC) than the preceding model with 272 hp.
The flagship models in this series continue to be the SL 500 with a V8 engine and the twelve-cylinder SL 600. Their engines have up to 1.1 mpg better fuel consumption than before.
The SL consolidates its substantial lead in the field of safety with bi-xenon headlamps and the optional Intelligent Light System, whose lighting functions are designed for typical driving situations. One new onboard feature is the AIRSCARF neck-level heating system invented and patented by Mercedes Benz. This optional system improves comfort when driving with the top down, and is able to extend the roadster season into the cooler months of the year.
The front-end design of the SL-Class shows that Mercedes Benz has enhanced the sporty attributes of the roadster even further. The centrepiece is a wide and therefore very imposing radiator grille, whose arrow shape symbolises virtues such as go-getting performance potential. A horizontal louvre adds visual width to the radiator grille and thereby reinforces the muscular appearance of the SL’s front end, which consequently seems surprisingly new yet very familiar.Published 25 February 2008