In our earlier piece on the LA auto show, the story made a passing mention of a freshened up Mercedes SL so here is the full treatment. In all seriousness, the Mercedes SL is the vehicular equivalent of a 1960s supergroup. It’s so famous and had so many worldwide hits that like the Beatles or the Stones will comfortably survive even as musical tastes change and physical sales are replaced by streams.
However, just like Paul McCartney, the SL still has lots of creativity left and still needs to keep making appearances and putting on a performance to underline its relevance and to attract new fans.
And the latest facelift to the folding metal roof sports convertible, unveiled at the LA auto show last week, should do just that.
It gets a new nose and rear end that bring it aesthetically into line with the current flagship Mercedes-AMG GT sportscar but without crossing the line from strong to aggressive. There’s a new diamond grille and LED lights as standard and the front bumper air intakes are also bigger.
The SL’s party piece has always been that it can be driven with as much enthusiasm as a supercar when the mood takes but then, at the push of a button can turn into a drop-top boulevard cruiser and a host of new technological features transplanted from the flagship S Class sedan will make sure it continues to deliver in both respects.
“The SL is an all-season vehicle that is fully suited for daily use, but above all it is a dream car for those special moments,” said Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz Cars Sales & Marketing.
In particular the new Curve suspension control system that literally leans the car into or away from a corner for better stability and comfort will be a much sought-after option as will be Mercedes’ industry-leading Distronic system that combines adaptive cruise control with automatic lane keeping and even steering assist.
The folding roof now folds even at speeds of up to 40km/h and there’s an automatic trunk space separator so that top up or down, there’s always storage space.
Engines for the new car, which range from the snarling V12 biturbo in the AMG SL 65 model down to the 3-liter V6 in the SL 400, have also been given a workout in terms of output, efficiency and emissions. The SL 400 offers an extra 35hp now while the performance flagship SL 65 delivers 630hp, a 0-100km/h time of 4 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h.
“[The] high-performance roadsters offer a unique driving experience, combining hallmark AMG ‘Driving Performance’ with the pleasures of open-air motoring and superior comfort on long journeys,” said Mercedes-AMG GmbH board member, Tobias Moers.