As you may know already, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL (Europeans will get it as 2012MY) was revealed yesterday showing a fresh design featuring the new front grill seen first on the SLS AMG supercar. Although the U.S. price was not released first, the European market can order the new car from 15 December 2011 at a starting price of 93,534 euros ($121,784) for the SL350 BlueEfficiency.
The SL 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine delivering 225 kW (306 hp) and 370 Nm of torque. This model is able to hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 5.9 seconds and has a top speed of 250 km/h or 155 mph (electronically limited).
The V6 engine needs just 6.8 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres, making it almost 30 percent more economical than its predecessor. For the SL500 BlueEfficiency (sold as SL550 in the United States), Europeans will have to pay 117,096 euros ($152,455).
This model comes with a 4.6-liter V8 engine that develops 320 kW (435 hp) and 530 Nm to 700 Nm. The SL500 sprints from naught to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.6 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph or 250 km/h, again electronically limited.
The fuel consumption has been reduced by up to 22 percent, comparing it with its predecessor. Both engines are offered as standard with ECO start/stop function and with the 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission, which has been optimised in relation to fuel consumption and comfort.
Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts are likely familiar with the fact that the SL in the SL-Class stands for “super light”. Yet the brand reveals it intends to refresh this term by lowering the weight even more. With this in mind, the brand will now be utilizing for its series production a bodyshell made entirely of aluminum, a first for Mercedes-Benz.
Compared to a vehicle with a bodyshell composed of sheet steel, the all-aluminum version is lighter by 110 kilograms. Even with this lower weight, it is expected to be more rigid and thus safer. This was made possible through the use of an intelligent systematic mix of aluminum and aluminum-alloy parts and mixed in with some magnesium and high-strength steel, all of which were made to suit their respective needs.
Take the new SL500 as an example. With a weight of 1,785 kg, it is lighter by as much as 125 kg when compared to the previous version. The same is true for the SL350 with total weight of 1,685 kg. Compared to the prior model, it is lighter by 140 kg and this is not only due to having an aluminum bodyshell but also for various details that have been smartly improved to lower the weight.
These results are indeed impressive not only on paper but also in actual practice. With the track width increased, an additional 38 mm on the front axle and extra 77 mm on the rear axle, it delivers and agile and athletic handling and help keep the vehicle under control. The corresponding increase in the lateral and longitudinal dynamics meanwhile aids in enhancing performance especially during cornering. Indeed, the new SL-Class will more than satisfy those who prefer a sporty orientation and even those who want agility as it is better in that aspect compared to the model before it.
Though the use of aluminum did lower the weight, Mercedes-Benz made sure not to put too much focus on it as they used some of the weight saved to put in features designed to bring in additional comfort, and more importantly, additional safety devices inside.
The new SL-Class will be released with the choice of two engines. For the SL500, it will be fitted with the BlueDIRECT V8 engine capable of output at 320 kW (435 hp). Meanwhile the SL350 will have the BlueDIRECT V6 engine with output of 225 kW (306 hp). Both engines however, when compared to their corresponding predecessors, show an improvement of 12%.
With the first SL-Class released in 1952 as a racing car, the new version will be its sixth generation. The new SL-Class is therefore entering a new age as a vehicle that not only has refined and athletic visuals, but is an innovative trendsetter as well that one comes with a high utility value.