A new "entry" version of the Mercedes Benz SL two-seat roadster that will go on sale in Europe in July will feature a twin turbocharged V6 engine that puts out 333 hp and propels the car from 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 5.2 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 155 mph (249 km/h). Called the SL 400 Sport, its new power plant meets tighter emissions standards than the previous 3.5-liter V6 in the discontinued SL350.
This new version of the long-produced SL builds a bit on the excitement of another Mercedes turbocharged V6, as the MB Formula 1 Team has just won four Grand Prix in a row and sits atop the driver’s and constructor’s championships as of now. The Mercedes Silver Arrows have been dominating the F1 race circuits since the engine designs were changed for this season.
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The SL sports car has been in production since the Gullwing SL 300 was introduced back in 1954, with the current model being the sixth generation of the body style. The roadster is a big two seat car with a folding hardtop roof that is a marvel of engineering in itself – you can draw a crowd just by putting the roof down, as I found out in a test drive of a SL 63 AMG model.
Carrying over from the previous model are the Magic Vision Control and Frontbass systems. The former is not an x-ray camera, but rather a set of window washing jets built into the wipers that "magically" spray the window just where you need it and not on your passenger and yourself when you have the top down.
Frontbass is another marketing name for something that is interesting if you are into sound systems – the woofers of the sound systems are actually built right into the chassis of the car, and use the square bracing members of the car’s floor, which are massive, to be resonance chambers for the speakers.
New SL 400 Sport owners can also look forward to a new flat-bottomed steering wheel, 19-inch AMG alloy wheels, and “instrument cluster with a chequered flag design." The SL 400 Sport consumes 36.7 mpg (7.7 L/100km) and has a CO2 emission figure of 178 g/km.
Mercedes Benz also announced upgrades to the uber-model SL 63 AMG version of the car. This upgraded AMG speedster will have horsepower increased to 585 and torque increased 100 Nm to 900 Nm. This improved SL63 also goes on sale in July in Europe.
Rumors around the automotive world are already talking about the next model SL that will feature a soft top rather than the current folding hardtop. This is to save weight in what is considered a very heavy car. That model, and a new SLK, the smaller and less expensive version of the two-seater, are due out around 2020.
The new SL400 Sport is due to go on sale for £72,500 (US$122,500) in Europe in July. A North American release date is yet to be announced.
Source: Mercedes Benz UKView gallery - 5 images