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New models - Mercedes-Benz - SL-class

Mercedes slashes prices for new-look SL-Class

Super Light: Mercedes has set out to make its SL-Class even sportier with the front end coming in for special attention, as seen with the new bonnet, bumpers and headlamps with standard-fit LED Intelligent Light System.

Revised Mercedes SL offers more bang for the buck but V12 SL65 AMG bows out

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Mercedes-Benz logo1 Sep 2016

By TERRY MARTIN

MERCEDES-BENZ has dropped the flagship V12-powered SL65 AMG variant and slashed up to $32,610 from the remaining SL-Class two-seater roadster range with the heavily upgraded series now in showrooms.

With spring in the air, the new-look SL’s arrival – and its much stronger value proposition – comes as an unprecedented number of open-air models enter Mercedes-Benz showrooms, including the reborn super-premium S-Class Cabriolet and the inaugural C-Class Cabriolet both arriving next month.

That said, the Australian subsidiary of the German luxury marque has dropped the Mercedes-AMG SL65 and forgone the monstrous 463kW/1000Nm 6.0-litre quad-turbo V12 available the top end of the SL-Class range, leaving the 5.4-litre twin-turbo V8-powered SL63 AMG as the flagbearer – now priced from $368,715 plus on-road costs, which is a hefty $29,610 cheaper than before.

The mid-tier 4.7-litre bi-turbo V8 SL500 has come in at $278,715 plus on-roads, representing a $32,610 price reduction, while at the entry level the 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 SL400 has fallen $9610 to now start from $218,715 plus costs.

A spokesperson for Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific has advised that the decision to drop the V12 variant in the SL-Class “allows us to rationalise pricing and realign the range to current SL customer buying habits”.

As seen at the Los Angeles motor show last November, the upgraded SL ushers in a comprehensive facelift in line with the AMG GT sportscar, along with powertrain, chassis and detail specification changes.

The SL400’s 3.0-litre bi-turbo V6 has been retuned to produce 270kW of power and 500Nm of torque – up 25kW/20Nm – and benefits further with the move from Mercedes’ 7G-Tronic automatic transmission to the latest 9G-Tronic gearbox.

The SL400 can now reach 100km/h from standstill in a claimed 4.9 seconds (a 0.3s improvement) and continue on to a governed 250km/h top speed – up from 210km/h.

Notwithstanding the price reduction, the SL400 continues with a high level of standard equipment – leather upholstery, heated/ventilated sports seats, 11-speaker 600W Harman Kardon stereo and, of course, the electro-hydraulic folding hard-top roof – but over its predecessor adds AMG body styling, a new Comand Online infotainment system with Apple CarPlay connectivity, an LED Intelligent Light System and 19-inch wheels (up from 18”).

The SL500 also packs more of a punch, the 4.7 bi-turbo V8 now delivering 335kW (up 15kW) and the same 700Nm of torque, also in conjunction with two extra cogs brought with the 9G-Tronic transmission.

The upgrade reduces the SL500’s 0-100km/h acceleration by three-tenths to 4.3s, while also lifting top speed from 210km/h to 250 clicks.

New standard equipment on the SL500 includes Nappa leather upholstery, black ash high-gloss wood veneer, a wood/leather steering wheel and power-closing doors.

Chassis-wise, the non-AMG SL400/500 can now be optioned with the active body control (ABC) sports suspension complete with a new ‘curve tilting function’.

ABC is designed to reduce body movements under hard acceleration, braking and cornering.

As previously reported, oil-filled ‘plunger cylinders’ fitted to the spring struts work in combination with the adaptive damping system, effectively doing the job of anti-roll bars on the front and rear axle and freeing up the dampers to be more comfortably valved.

The curve tilting function can be activated over and above the adaptive damper operation, applying a maximum of 2.65 degrees in the speed range between 15km/h and 180km/h to reduce the effects of lateral load on the SL driver and passenger.

Five selectable Dynamic Select transmission modes operate in conjunction with the ABC suspension: Curve (for increased ride comfort), Comfort (for ultimate damping when touring or travelling on rough roads), Sport, Sport Plus and Individual.

At the top of the range, the Mercedes-AMG SL63’s 5.5 twin-turbo V8 is unchanged, remaining at 430kW/900Nm and still connected to the AMG Speedshift MCT seven-speed sports transmission. It can reach 100km/h in 4.1s and is similarly restricted to a 250km/h V-max.

All the requisite AMG-specific hardware is there in terms of wheels, suspension, rear diff lock, exhaust system and high-performance braking, while the upgraded SL63 has arrived with ‘Exclusive Nappa’ leather, Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG sound system, AMG-specific IWC clock, AMG Active multi-contour seats and a panoramic vario-roof as standard.

All SL variants are fitted with a high level of safety equipment including six airbags, the Pre-Safe pre-collision system, ‘Attention Assist’, an active bonnet, flashing adaptive LED brake lights and a reversing camera.

A ‘Driver Assistant Package Plus’ also comes to the Australian-spec cars as standard, comprising Distance Pilot Distronic autonomous intelligent cruise control with Steering Assist, Active Brake Assist with cross-traffic function, Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Blind Spot Assist.

2016 Mercedes-Benz SL pricing*
SL400 (a)$218,715
SL500 (a)$278,715
SL63 AMG (a)$368,715
*Excludes on-road costs

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