Revised Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Roadster
Mercedes Benz SL-Class (2006)
Dynamic and inspirational

Four years on from its launch, the successful Mercedes Benz SL-Class Roadster has undergone a number of enhancements, the most significant being in the areas of technology, design and interior appointments. The engines, powertrain and chassis have been optimised to deliver a sportier response so that 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 uprated V12 powerplant, deliver assured driving pleasure. Second-generation Active Body Control and the more direct steering make for noticeably sportier handling without compromising the high level of comfort which is one of the hallmarks of the SL-Class. The redesigned front section, new rear light units and new light-alloy wheels reflect the more dynamic character of the revised SL-Class 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 285 kW/388 hp and 530 Nm 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 62 mph in 5.4 seconds (predecessor model: 6.2 seconds). Despite the 26 per cent boost in performance, the fuel consumption (NEDC combined) matches that of the predecessor model at 23.2 mpg. The six-cylinder engine in the SL 350 is another new unit. Although this 200 kW/272 hp V6 powerplant achieves fuel savings of 3.3 mpg, its output is 11 per cent higher. The combined NEDC fuel consumption is 27.4 mpg.

The SL 350 accelerates from zero to 62 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 380 kW/517 hp and 830 Nm respectively. This twelve-cylinder engine accelerates the SL-Class from zero to 62mph in just 4.5 seconds (predecessor model: 4.7 seconds).

All three engine variants of the SL-Class have newly developed exhaust systems: the particularly stirring and powerful engine note has been specially 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 per cent faster in manual "M" mode; furthermore, this package features steering-wheel shift paddles similar to those used in Formula 1.

continues... | Part Two

Published : 18/01/06 Author : Melanie Carter

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