Mercedes-Benz’s SL-Class model lineup doesn’t anymore offer the SL600 and SL65 AMG as the automaker has dropped the V12 variants. This could indicate that major changes will be made to the SL-class lineup for its 2013 refresh. Mercedes has already confirmed that it is phasing out its top models to give way to the arrival of the SL’s next generation.
The SL600, which was equipped with a 5.5L V-12 powerplant with 510-hp and 610 lb-ft of torque, was dropped from the 2011 SL-class lineup. The SL65 AMG is now absent from the 2012 lineup, which means that consumers can no longer opt for a twin-turbocharged 6.0L V12 that could deliver 604-hp and 740 lb-ft of torque.
There are numerous possible reasons on why the V-12 models were removed from the SL-class lineup but most likely, these are related to the pricing and the performance of the SLS AMG.
The SL lineup isn’t available with Mercedes’ new twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 but it’s believed that the engine will lead to the ending of the twin-turbo V12, making 518-hp and 516 lb-ft of torque in the E63 AMG. Meanwhile, the AMG Performance Package would have developed 550hp and 590 lb-ft of torque.
Since the Roadster has long been known to have athletic qualities, engineers at Mercedes-Benz made sure that when they started to develop the concept and the design for the new SL-Class, it would be able to highlight even further this quality. As a result, the front end of the SL-Class comes with a design that takes the style of the Roadster to a whole new level. In particular, the front end has the dominant radiator grille as its centrepiece whose V-shape is a symbol of sporty qualities like performance and forward thrust. Due to the use of the horizontal louvre, the radiator grille is wider than it looks and thus highlighting even further the power that is displayed by the front end.
It also gives one the feeling of seeing something familiar but something new as well. Because of the manner in which this dramatic style is utilized, designers at the company were able to establish a connection between the traditions of the SL and come up with a design for the front end that would remind one of early models of the SL Roadster. The radiator grilles are unique and allow the SL-class to display its confidence and poise. Designers also made sure to honor the first vehicles that served as the basis of the SL model series.
Thus, the new SL-Class has on its bonnet two powerdomes. On its front wings are the air outlets styled like gills, a signature of the 1954 300 SL. For the new version, this trademark has been given a more contemporary interpretation. On its rear portion, the new SL-Class also exhibits sportier characteristics that are more emphasized compared to previous models. One way of attaining this was to have the bumper with a diffuser-look, giving it that motorsport touch.
When paired with the trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes, it results in a design component that underscores just how wide the body is and therefore echoes the power that is waiting to be released. Going back to the front, the design team made use of classic design features founded on 50 years of tradition of the roadster and combined it with the elements from the company’s more modern design principle. This includes the unique V-shape of its front section and the headlamps that have been moved deeper to the sides. These emphasize even further the sense of wideness at the front end.
In addition to having a more modern look, the headlamp design of the SL-Class is more noticeable and serves as proof that the Roadster remains to be a trendsetter. Like the models before it, the new design of the SL-Class’s front end will be the one that future models of the brand will be based on.
Aside from design, the SL name also signifies driving pleasure. The SL-Class is recognized for delivering an excellent driving experience but none of the compromises. What this means is that handling dynamics is maintained as well as safety and comfort. It was this principle that the engineers worked on in order to not only modify but perfect the SL technology. Take for example the direct-steer system. However, this is available as an option.
While ingenious, it is also simple to use and results in a new driving experience especially during cornering. This new feature is found on the speed-sensitive standard-fit power steering system that utilizes lower steering forces. The advantages of using this system are experienced during parking, maneuvering, or driving slowly. Other features on the new S-Class include the variable rack ratio which makes adjustments in conjunction with the steering which goes up abruptly once it reaches five degrees.
Unlike a steering system that uses a constant ratio, the steering wheel need not be moved as much during cornering. This also means that the response of the car is more direct and thus enables the driver to steadily guide the car’s sporty attitude.