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New models - Mercedes-Benz - SL-class

Benz SL600 roadster flagship arrives

No small torque: SL range-topper packs 800Nm of torque and costs $370,000.

The flagship of Mercedes' SL convertible range is here, complete with twin-turbo V12

30 Jul 2003

THE flagship of Mercedes-Benz’s popular new SL convertible range has arrived Down Under, bristling with even more impressive performance figures than the astonishingly quick SL55 AMG.

Powered by a (slightly) detuned version of the Maybach’s 5.5-litre twin-turbo V12, the SL600 delivers the same staggering 368kW power peak as the SL55’s similar-displacement supercharged V8, but offers an extra 100Nm of torque at 800Nm.

The SL600’s engine statistics, which fall 37kW and 100Nm short of the 405kW/900Nm Maybach, give it the acceleration to match the SL55 (0-100km/h in a claimed 4.7 seconds), which is priced at the same $369,900.

On sale from August, SL600 joins SL55 AMG and the entry level $296,900 SL500 in the new SL roadster range, sales of which are at an all-time high. Since the launch of the fifth generation model in July, 2002, more than 390 units have been sold, with the SL55 accounting for a big 25 per cent of sales.

In the first six months of 2003, Australian customers purchased 230 SLs, including 74 SL55s, eclipsing the previous 12-month record of 179 units in 1996.

The SL600’s unique engine – which is also found in the $20,000 cheaper S600L sedan and $3000 dearer CL600, weighs 263kg and has become the world’s biggest selling V12 – features twin turbochargers, an air/water intercooler, three valves per cylinder, twin-spark AC ignition, a diecast aluminium crankcase and sump, diecast magnesium cylinder-head covers and hollow camshafts. It gives the SL600 a power-to-weight ratio of 0.71kg/kW.

Australian SL600s will feature as standard the Mercedes-Benz Command multimedia system with TV, CD stacker, Bose sound system, exclusive Nappa leather, embossed V12 emblems on the head restraints, floor mats with chrome-coloured lettering, wood/leather steering wheel and gearknob, and multi-contour front seats.

SL600 is distinguished externally by a discreetly chromed grille, silver brake callipers, V12 emblems on the side air intakes, bi-Xenon headlights and exclusive 18-inch alloy wheels.

Standard driver aids include Parktronic, Active Body Control and Sensotronic Brake Control.

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