Published on December 17th, 2011 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
6th Generation Mercedes Benz SL Coming In 2012….Here Are The Details
The new Mercedes-Benz SL-Class has been produced for the first time almost entirely from aluminium and weighs up to 140 kilograms less than its predecessor. Its highly rigid all-aluminium bodyshell provides the basis for agile, sporty handling that has been taken to an entirely new level, coupled with exemplary roll characteristics and ride comfort. Even better driving dynamics come courtesy of the new BlueDIRECT engines; they are more powerful yet at the same time up to 29 percent more economical than the engines in the outgoing generation. Other new features include the unique FrontBass system, which turns the luxury sports car into a concert hall regardless of whether the top is open or closed, and the highly efficient adaptive windscreen wipe/wash system MAGIC VISION CONTROL; it supplies water from the wiper blade as required and depending on the direction of wipe.
This new SL provides ample driving pleasure. Apart from the powerful engines, the sportily tuned yet comfortable suspension, which also boasts intelligent lightweight construction, proves outstanding. For instance, the steering knuckles and spring links on the front axle are also made out of aluminium to reduce the unsprung masses. The same also applies to virtually all the wheel location components on the rear axle. The new SL is available with two different suspension systems: the SL features semi-active adjustable damping as standard. The optional active suspension system ABC (Active Body Control) is available as an alternative.
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. This ensures excellent straight-line stability and, therefore, a high degree of assuredness when travelling at motorway speeds and makes the SL very agile. It also reduces the amount of steering required when parking and manoeuvring.
The new V8 in the SL 500 develops 320 kW (435 hp) from its displacement of 4663 cc and thus around 12 percent more than its predecessor despite some 0.8 litres less displacement. The fuel consumption has been reduced by up to 22 percent. At the same time, the torque has increased from 530 Nm to 700 Nm – a gain of 32 percent. Although the displacement remains the same at 3499 cc, the new V6 engine in the new SL 350 develops 225 kW (306 hp) and delivers 370 Nm of torque. It uses just 6.8 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres, making it almost 30 percent more economical than its predecessor. Both engine variants come with a standard-fit ECO start/stop function. The 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission, which has been optimised in relation to fuel consumption and comfort, also contributes to the exemplary, low fuel consumption. The fuel economy of the BlueDIRECT engines takes nothing away from the roadster’s raciness. Quite the contrary: the SL 350 accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.9 seconds, making it three tenths of a second faster than its predecessor. The SL 500 takes just 4.6 seconds – eight tenths less than the previous SL 500.
The new Mercedes-Benz SL-Class compared with its predecessor, 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. Clear lines create a formally coherent internal space within this comfortable interior. Generously used wood trim extends from the centre console across the dashboard into the doors, creating a pleasant wrap-around effect. Three types of wood along with two different aluminium trim finishes are available. Perfectly in tune with the roadster’s character, it combines the unpretentious atmosphere of a high-performance sports car with a comfortable, stylish ambience one comes to expect in a luxurious touring car.
This 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 a few seconds into a roadster or a coupé, depending on the driver’s wishes and the weather. Unlike its predecessor, three versions are available for the new SL: painted, with glass roof or with the unique panoramic vario-roof with MAGIC SKY CONTROL. The transparent roof switches to light or dark at the push of a button. When light it is virtually transparent, offering an open-air experience even in cold weather. In its dark state the roof provides welcome shade and prevents the interior from heating up in bright sunlight. The frame of the three roof versions is made of magnesium, making the roofs around six kilograms lighter than the roof on the predecessor, thus providing a lower centre of gravity for the vehicle and, in turn, better agility.
The engineers have refined the operating mechanism for the roof and boot lid. It now takes less than 20 seconds to open or close the roof completely.
Thanks to the crash-optimised aluminium structure, standard-fit PRE-SAFE® and assistance systems on the same high level as the S-Class, the SL is the world’s safest roadster. The rigid aluminium bodyshell forms a sturdy passenger compartment along with precisely defined deformation zones in the front and rear ends. In the event of the vehicle overturning, A-pillars made out of a mix of steel and aluminium and two roll-over bars protect the passenger compartment. The restraint systems including the two-stage driver and front passenger airbags have been further developed. A headbag integrally covers the side head-impact area. An additional thorax airbag in the seat backrest can protect the upper body in the event of a side impact. Another new feature is the crash-responsive NECK-PRO head restraints developed by Mercedes-Benz which are fitted as standard in the SL.
An active bonnet and a front end with a large, yielding impact area help ensure pedestrian protection.
A safety highlight is the unrivalled anticipatory occupant protection system PRE-SAFE® developed by Mercedes-Benz which is fitted as standard. If the system detects a serious risk of an accident, it reflexively activates precautionary protective measures for the vehicle occupants, so that the seat belts and airbags are able to fulfil their protective function to the full during an impact.
Additional post-crash measures supplement the integral safety concept and facilitate rapid assistance: regardless of the severity of the impact, the doors can be automatically unlocked after an accident, the interior lighting activated and the side windows lowered by 50 millimetres to ventilate the interior more effectively. The steering wheel can also be moved upwards.
The Active Parking Assist is new in the SL. Using ultrasound sensors it can identify parking spaces and automatically steer the vehicle into the space while parking.
Even in the entry-level variant, the new Mercedes-Benz SL comes with the “Cockpit Management and Data System” COMAND. Functionality includes Bluetooth telephony along with simpler operation of the car phone. COMAND Online with internet access and DVD changer is also available as an option. It provides unlimited web browsing while the vehicle is stationary along with high-speed access to a Mercedes-Benz online service – for instance requesting a weather report or a special destination search. There is also the option of sending individual destinations and routes via Google Maps to the vehicle. For the first time, Mercedes-Benz is also offering new apps for the new SL: in addition to a free news app and a Facebook app, there are optional. Both COMAND versions feature a high-resolution TFT colour display with 17.8 cm diagonal (800 x 480 pixels) at the side next to the instrument cluster. This screen arrangement prevents the driver from being distracted as far as possible.