The Mercedes SL is a descendant of the company’s elite model. It does not fail in carrying such a top name, exuding elegance, exclusivity, and an expensive price tag. But beyond the vehicle’s refined looks is its wide range of top performing engines: from the 5.5-litre V12 to the 3.0-litre V6 that packs in more than 500 bhp in power. Read on to know how the rest of its features fare and how well it should perform with its elite target market.
The SL’s design features top notch designs expected from the series. From stamped, die-cast, chill-cast, and extruded aluminum parts, a state-of-the-art structure, hot-formed galvanized and magnesium steel. These materials are 25 per cent less than the expected body weight of steel and also sport a 20 per cent increase in static torsional stiffness. The weight is well distributed and kept light all throughout, as 15kg have been removed from the roof, 11kg from the front suspension and seats, 4kg from the stereo, front brakes, and electrics, to the 250g saved from the wheel nuts.
Other impressive design features include the forged aluminum and controlled adaptive dampers of the multi-link chassis. Stiffer dampers, springs, and anti-roll bars can be had with the AMG sports package. You can also enhance the experience through the Active Body Control suspension option. This addition replaces the conventional spring struts and stabilisers with more efficient active hydraulic struts. The latter are able to continuously adjust the roll stiffness and spring length.
The SL500’s V8 engine is a huge improvement from the previous one, sporting 12 per cent more power, 32 per cent more torque, and 22 per cent more fuel efficiency. There’s also the 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed torque converter automatic gearbox to match the engine’s performance. The V8 also performs well at high revs, going quick and having the right sound quality. It also comes with 12-cylinder models that match better with a five-speed automatic gearbox.
Handling is smooth on the road and the SL’s large bonnet doesn’t feel heavy at all. The hydraulically-controlled adaptive suspension that comes with the SL350 is a better bet in providing agility. The technology is also able to control the rolling and pitching that comes with cornering, braking, and accelerating. The cruise is also very relaxing and compliant in response while you’re cruising. Greater precision is also guaranteed via the direct steer system, which is available at a more affordable rate than the active steering on most BMWs.
Although the SL boasts of limo-like space that provides enough for the shoulders and elbows, you only get a pair of seats for passengers. Occupant space for said two passengers is enough however, and there won’t be any complains about the both of them being cramped. There are a lot of storage holes and spaces around the cabin, such as extra-long door pockets. But legroom is sacrificed for the sake of adding soft bags behind the seats. This also limits the boot capacity to 504 litres. Getting in and out of the two seater also requires a certain kind of agility.
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