SU­PER-LIGHT

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

THE Mercedes-benz SL name is syn­ony­mous with sports cars and has been since the mid­dle of last cen­tury. Benz has cranked out a suc­ces­sion of delectable, low-slung, two-door, two seaters bear­ing the fa­mous nomen­cla­ture and now there’s a new one that takes SL to a new level.

THE BODY

This time around it’s built en­tirely from alu­minium ex­cept for the two steel A-pil­lars ei­ther side of the wind­screen.

It cuts the SL’S weight by 140kg com­pared with the pre­vi­ous model and boosts safety and re­duces noise, vi­bra­tion and harsh­ness.

Not only that, hi-tech 3D de­sign makes the new SL more rigid and there­fore safer and more dy­nam­i­cally re­spon­sive than ever. Aero­dy­nam­i­cally, it rates an im­pres­sive 0.27Cd.

Benz says the new SL is the safest car in its class, due in part to flow-down tech­nol­ogy from the S-class range.

IN­SIDE

The in­te­rior gets the full leather hi-tech Benz treat­ment with one of the best-sound­ing au­dio sys­tems we’ve heard – even with the roof off. In­ter­net ac­cess is pro­vided in-car through the large in­for­ma­tion screen.

UN­DER THE BON­NET

It’s pow­ered by a range of so-called BLUEDIRECT en­gines with Eco Stop/start of­fer­ing more power, more per­for­mance and lower fuel con­sump­tion and emis­sions.

Our SL500 test car ran a 4.7-litre, di­rect-in­jec­tion, twin-turbo V8 good for 320kw/ 700Nm, driv­ing the rear wheels through a seven-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion com­plete with blip func­tion on the down­change.

TECH­NOL­OGY & STYLING

There’s clever tech­nol­ogy too like the “front bass” au­dio sys­tem that utilises aper­tures in the fire­wall to mount a pair of sub-woofer speak­ers for max­i­mum ef­fect.

There’s also “magic vi­sion” con­trol which adap­tively helps clean the screen with banks of small water jets on each wiper.

Hands-free boot ac­cess makes an ap­pear­ance as does the op­tional Magic Sky sun­roof with vari­able tint.

It has the req­ui­site body looks that owe plenty to the smaller SLK and, like its smaller sib­ling, the SL is all about driv­ing fun cou­pled with ev­ery­day use­abil­ity.

It is a car de­signed as much for lo­cal er­rands as it is for high-speed, long-dis­tance ap­pli­ca­tions.

ON THE ROAD

We had the op­por­tu­nity to drive the new SL500 in Spain at the in­ter­na­tional launch and thor­oughly en­joyed the open-top, wind-in-your-hair ex­pe­ri­ence – who wouldn’t.

Right away the new car’s lighter weight is ev­i­dent in the SL’S be­hav­iour. It doesn’t feel big and cum­ber­some like the pre­vi­ous model did.

Still, at 1785kg, it’s no light­weight. Part of the sporty feel is at­trib­ut­able to the SL’S di­rect steer­ing and more

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