Golf clubs at the ready…
After some very grainy images of the new Mercedes-Benz SL leaked onto the web on Monday we knew it wouldn’t be long before clearer images surfaced. And true to form, last night a whole gamut of them appeared along with some technical data. Now there will be some who say that a sneaky insider revealed the images, but the cynics here at BOTB News believe that these will have come from Merc themselves.
Well, however they came to be, they certainly give us a clear look at the new SL. The front end first seen on the SLS Supercar makes another appearance after gracing the front of the new CLS and SLK models. The CLS is arguably the most successful application after the SLS, as it really didn’t sit well with the SLK’s diminutive proportions. The large grille and oversized headlamps overwhelmed the shape and made the SLK look very nose-heavy.
Here on the new SL, the large grille is much better proportioned within the larger body, though the headlamps do still seem a little on the large side. The rest of the body shows more improvements though – deep sculpting down the flanks add drama to the shape, and the rear takes the lamp design from the CLS and apply it to the newly curved rear. Side-on is definitely the worst aspect though, with the nose having a very large overhang which gives the appearance of a shorter wheelbase than is actually the case.
Overall it’s a very successful shape in our eyes, and will certainly go down well with the conservative well-heeled over-40’s that are the key demographic for the SL. Interior-wise, the new SL gets a very SLS-like cockpit; in fact you would be hard pressed to tell the two apart were it not for the (slightly tacky) ‘SL’ on the gearlever. Mercedes have also taken advantage of the aluminium structure and incorporated two bass speakers in the 17 litre recess ahead of the footwells, which should ensure a clear and crisp performance from the stereo.
The SL has always majored on technology and the new model doesn’t disappoint. Model for model, the new car is around 100 kg lighter than the previous SL, thanks to extensive use of aluminium and magnesium in the body and chassis, despite being larger in every dimension. There is also the standard folding metal roof, but now available with the ‘Magic Sky Control’ panoramic roof option which switches from opaque to clear at the flick of a switch. Another first for the SL is the ‘Magic Vision Control’ system which has the screenwash/water exiting along the length of the windscreen wiper blade to ensure the driver’s view is never obstructed. Interesting tech, and certainly a ‘why didn’t they think of that earlier’ moment.
Engine-wise, the SL will initially be available with a 3.5 litre V6 producing 306 bhp in the SL350 and a 4.7 litre twin turbo V8 producing around 430 bhp in the SL500. Later in the product life there will be the inevitable SL63 AMG model with around 550 bhp for performance fans. Most interesting though is the expected 3.0 litre twin turbo diesel engine variant, which promises 300 bhp performance combined with 50 mpg economy. This will be the only true rival for the BMW 640d.
Prices in Germany have already been set at €93,500 for the SL350, with the SL500 coming in at €117,00.