Mercedes-Benz padded its lead over BMW in the race for the best-selling luxury brand in the U.S. by posting a 5.8-percent sales growth in April 2013 to 23,635 units. While the BMW brand posted a 10-percent hike in US sales to 23,225 units, it was not enough to cut its rival’s lead. Mercedes’ superior sales figures instead extended its lead over BMW to 4,695 vehicles, as of the end of April 2013.
Mercedes posted an 11-percent year-on-year gain in sales in the first four months of 2013 to 92,822, according to parent Daimler. BMW, meanwhile, posted a 6.7-percent rise in sales in the January-April period to 88,127 units. More expensive models logged dramatic growth during the period.
For instance, the BMW 7 series that starts at $73,600 and the Audi A8 that starts at $72,200 surged 69% and 30% respectively. The Mercedes SL-class that starts at $105,000 more than tripled to 938 deliveries in April. Alec Gutierrez, an auto analyst for Kelley Blue Book, remarked that while these are small numbers, these are still sizeable gains for some of the “most expensive vehicles in the market, excluding the exotics.”
Toyota’s Lexus luxury brand posted a 3.1-percent hike in deliveries for April 2013 to 18,091, as its ES sedan and the RX sports utility vehicle jumped 71% and 3.1% respectively. Lexus has sold 74,831 vehicles through April for a 12% gain. General Motors’ Cadillac brand, meanwhile, posted a 34-percent gain in deliveries to 13,230 vehicles in April, bringing its year-to-date sales to 55,942 units for a 37-percent growth.
Mercedes is trying to topple BMW from the US luxury sales crown, which the latter has been holding for two straight years. BMW was able to defend its crown by posting a heavy sales surge in December 2012. Lexus was the annual sales leader for 11 years until natural disasters in Asia limited production in 2011.
The latest SL-Class to be released by Mercedes-Benz is the sixth generation of this range since the original racing car was launched in 1952. This latest offering brings the SL’s unique tradition to the new age as a model that is a pioneering trendsetter while being sporty with an aesthetic that is truly refined.
What this means is that the new SL-Class brings with it a utility value that is more than extraordinarily high. Compared to the models of the previous generation, the new version offers more comfort and even has more safety features fitted to it. Even with all of these additions, the use of a body shell composed of aluminum means that any weight savings are retained. For instance, the new SL500 weighs 1,785 kg, lighter by 125 kg than the previous model.
The latest SL350 is lighter by 140 kg than its predecessor at 1,685 kg. Aside from the use of aluminum for the body shell, another factor lowered the weight is a wide range of intelligent enhanced details. Not surprising as “SL” stands for super-light. However, the systematic reduction in the weight implemented for this new generation gives new life to the meaning of the letters.
Indeed, the use of an all-aluminum body shell is the first for a series production model. For comparison purposes, a body shell composed of aluminum is lighter by around 110 kg than one composed of sheet steel. Further, not only is the new generation safer but it is even more rigid. This is made possible by the application of an intelligent systematic material mix made up of aluminum components and aluminum alloys.
Each component was made specifically to meet the needed requirement. It even has some magnesium and high-strength steel. While the measurements are truly impressive, they are not merely all for show. They are tangible and perceptible even in practice. For instance, the increase in the lateral and longitudinal dynamics helps the new SL-Class to achieve exceptional performance with more passion when it comes to cornering.
Since the width of the front track axle has been increased by 38 mm with the ones in the rear by 77 mm, it improves the handling making the new models both agile and athletics. It also ensures that the vehicles are under safe control. Those who get a chance to be behind the wheel of the new SL-Class will realize that it is more agile than the previous generation and will offer excitement for those who are after a sporty drive.
Under this new generation, Mercedes-Benz will be providing two engines. The first is the BlueDIRECT V6 engine capable of 306 hp (225 kW) fitted on the SL350. Meanwhile, the second is the BlueDIRECT V8 engine fitted to the SL500 which can offer 435 hp (320 kW). Both figures though are 12% better than those of the previous generation.