It was significant that Mercedes-Benz chose Detroit not Geneva or Frankfurt for the world debut of the new SL.
North America, California in particular, is the biggest market for the SL and has been for much of the 60 years the SL has been in production.
Following the design language seen in the SLS supercar, the SL is probably most interesting in the fact it is almost entirely made from aluminum.
At a reception held the night before the official press days at the recent Detroit Auto Show, Dr Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, “There are around 900 million cars in the world and thousands of models.
“But there are only a handful of automotive icons. Our SL is one of them.”
The new-generation Mercedes-Benz SL takes the meaning of the famous letters “SL”—super, lightweight—literally.
The new aluminum bodyshell weighs around 110 kilograms less than it would if using the steel technology from the predecessor. It is, in fact, the first time Mercedes-Benz has implemented an all-aluminum bodyshell in a series-production model.
The new SL will be offered with two different suspension systems: the SL features semi-active adjustable damping as standard. The optional active suspension system ABC (Active Body Control) is available as an alternative.
Both suspension variants are combined with a new electromechanical Direct-Steer system featuring speed-sensitive power steering and a ratio that can be varied across the steering wheel angle.
Along with two suspension systems there will be two engines.
The new 4.6-litre V8 in the SL 500 produces 435 hp with fuel consumption has been improved by up to 22 per cent.
A new 3.5-litre V6 engine in the new SL 350 develops 306 hp and delivers (US) 41.5 mpg, making it almost 30 per cent more economical than its predecessor.
The SL 350 accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 5.9 seconds, making it three tenths of a second faster than its predecessor. The SL 500 takes just 4.6 seconds—eight tenths less than the previous SL 500.
Both engine variants come with a standard-fit ECO start/stop function. The 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission, which has been optimized in relation to fuel consumption and comfort, also contributes to low fuel consumption.
Inside the new SL brims over with a truly lengthy list of standard and optional features.
One is the unique Frontbass system, which turns the luxury sports car into a concert hall regardless of whether the top is open or closed.
The adaptive windscreen wipe/wash system Mercedes-Benz calla MAGIC VISION CONTROL supplies water from the wiper blade as required and depending on the direction of wipe.
The headlamps come as standard with the Intelligent Light System (ILS).
With five different lighting functions that are tailored to typical driving and weather conditions, and are activated depending on the driving situation, they offer the driver a much better illuminated field of vision.