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February 06, 2008

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The new-generation SL-Class: Sportier than ever before

Stuttgart - Mercedes-Benz will continue its long tradition of producing legendary sports cars when it launches the new-generation SL-Class in spring 2008. The world's most successful premium roadster in its class features a new design with the emphasis firmly on sportiness and effortless assurance. These traits are also reflected in the handling qualities of the two-seater model, which now delivers even more athletic performance thanks to the new direct-steer system as well as offering enhanced comfort and safety.

The SL 350 is powered by a newly developed, extremely high-revving sports engine boasting an impressive output of 232 kW/316 hp yet returns a fuel consumption figure that is 0.4 litres per 100 kilometres lower than that of its predecessor (NEDC). The SL range will now feature two six-cylinder models in the shape of the SL 350 and the new SL 280 (170 kW/231 hp) as well as the familiar SL 500 with a V8 engine and the top-of-the-range SL 600 with a V12 powerplant.

The Mercedes sports car extends its lead in the safety stakes courtesy of bi-xenon headlamps, included as standard, and the Intelligent Light System whose light functions are designed specifically for typical driving situations. Further new features on board include AIRSCARF neck-level heating. This system - invented by Mercedes-Benz and available as an optional extra - enhances comfort when driving with the roof down, extending the roadster season until well into the winter months.

SL passengers are kept informed and entertained by the standard-fit COMAND multimedia system, which has also been fully redeveloped and features additional functions. The new-generation SL caps a glorious history of Mercedes sports cars, which began in 1954 with the introduction of the legendary 300 SL "Gullwing", followed in 1957 by the launch of the first SL Roadster. To date, the Stuttgart manufacturer has produced a total of over 630,000 SL sports cars.

Like its predecessors, the new-generation SL also merits its "incomparable" tag. No other sports car in this market segment offers such a perfect balance of sportiness, safety and comfort. These three qualities are the cornerstones of highly eventful, active motoring that provides a profound sense of well-being - for hallmark Mercedes refinement at the highest, sportiest level.

For the SL 350, the Mercedes engineers have developed a V6 powerplant that brings the sporty qualities of the new SL generation right to the fore. The term "sports engine" could not be more apt: through a process of meticulous engineering, the Stuttgart specialists have further enlivened the temperament of the six-cylinder unit, enhancing its dynamic response dramatically. The engine responds instantaneously to movements of the accelerator pedal and can rev up to 7200 rpm in order to make full use of its power reserves in certain driving situations. Compared to the previous 3.5-litre engine, the output has been boosted by 16 percent to 232 kW/316 hp (at 6500 rpm), while the peak torque has been increased by 10 Nm and now stands at 360 Nm. This powerplant accelerates the new SL 350 from 0 to 100 km/h in a mere 6.2 seconds, making it 0.4 seconds faster than the outgoing SL 350.

The flagship engines in the SL line-up remain the eight-cylinder unit in the SL 500 developing 285 kW/388 hp and the V12 powerplant in the SL 600, which develops 380 kW/517 hp thanks to its twin turbochargers. The Mercedes engineers also worked meticulously on these models to further reduce fuel consumption by up to 0.4 litres per 100 kilometres.

Interior: sporty ambience and hallmark Mercedes comfort

A look inside the new-generation SL shows what Mercedes designers mean when they talk about the "balance of sportiness and comfort". The integral seats, the new-look three-spoke leather steering wheel and the completely restyled instrument cluster immediately make it clear that this is a thoroughbred sports car. Everything fits perfectly, all the controls are easy to see and within just as easy reach. The speedometer and rev counter sport a classic chronometer design with new-look dials that promise unerring precision.

The SL 600 underlines its top billing in the SL line-up even more clearly than before. Inside the passengers are cosseted by extremely soft Exclusive nappa leather and trim elements in elegant poplar wood. V12 emblems on the seat backrests, on the centre steering wheel spoke and on the door sills, as well as the uniquely designed interior door panels round off the refined twelve-cylinder ambience perfectly. On the outside, the flagship SL model is distinguishable by its exclusive 18-inch ten-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels and discreet yet highly effective detailing such as the matt-silver-painted louvres of the side air outlets and the centre divider in the trapezoidal exhaust tailpipe trims. Mercedes-Benz has upgraded the already extensive standard-equipment package by adding the KEYLESS-GO system and a remote-locking boot lid. The new-generation SL-Class will make its public debut in March at the International Motor Show in Geneva. It will then appear at Mercedes-Benz outlets and dealerships in Europe from April 5, 2008.

Photos: Mercedes

(Jan. 31, 2008)


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