LA Motor Show: Mercedes-Benz SL

LA Auto Show: Mercedes-Benz SL

Every Mercedes-Benz SL can now sprint to 100km/h in under five seconds while the AMG versions get reworked suspension and new steering.

A mid-life upgrade to the two-year-old, sixth-generation luxury roadster reveals a new front with intelligent LED lighting across the range and a grille inspired by the 300 SL Panamericana.

There’s also a subtly revised cabin with fresh infotainment system and the latest Benz active safety kit. The hard-top roof can now lower at up to 40km/h, with the luggage volume-reducing roof cover in the boot now automatically electrically folding up or down with it.

Underneath the refreshed SL lies a nine-speed automatic transmission for the 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 SL400 and 4.7-litre twin-turbo V8 SL500 models.

Mercedes Benz SL rearThe smaller of the two engines now produces 270kW (between 5500rpm and 6000rpm) and 500Nm (from 1800rpm to 4500rpm), up 25kW/20Nm, which along with the extra cogs results in a 4.9-second 0-100km/h claim.

That’s three-tenths faster than before, and a performance match for the compact C450 sedan that gets the same donk.

The SL500 moves up 15kW to 335kW (between 5000rpm and 5250rpm), and although the 700Nm (from 1800rpm to 3500rpm) is unchanged, it’s enough to deliver a three-tenths-quicker 4.3sec claim.

Both models hone in on the performance of the 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 SL63 AMG and 6.0-litre twin-turbo SL65 AMG that keep a seven-speed auto (though an SL63-specific change is quickened transmission response time in manual mode).

Mercedes Benz SL drivingThe AMG duo make an unchanged 430kW/900Nm and 463kW/1000Nm respectively – not that there’s much further up to go from there – but the ‘baby’ 63 gets to the 100km/h benchmark only a tenth faster, at 4.1 seconds, while the 65 stays at 4.0sec flat.

The AMG versions get chassis changes, however, with Affalterbach adding more negative wheel camber in addition to “fully revised, substantially stiffer” elastokinematics, and new electro-mechanical power steering. The previously optional electronically operated mechanical rear limited-slip differential is now standard.

Mercedes Benz SL interiorShared with the non-AMG models is a new ‘curve’ function for the Active Body Control system that can add up to 2.65 degrees of anti-pitch between 15km/h and 180km/h, “noticeably reducing the effects of lateral acceleration on the vehicle occupants”.

Fittingly, the covers came off the updated Super Light drop-top for the super wealthy at the LA motor show, not far from Beverly Hills where they are as common as Corollas in our local cities. The revised SL will lob in Australia mid next year.

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