Mercedes-Benz launches facelift SL roadster
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Mercedes-Benz specifically picked Southern California for the international launch this week of the facelift SL roadster.
The iconic two-seater open top was first revealed in 1957 following on from the Gullwing, and in 2012 the sixth SL generation was launch. But now Mercedes-Benz, alongside performance wing AMG, have revamped the car.
The SL 400 and 500 have had more power added to their engines (up 270kW and 335Kw respectively), and are now paired with the company’s new 9-speed transmission.
The SL400 and SL500 also gain in the all-new Curve function that increases ride comfort by lowering the chassis on one side and raising it on the other to assist with concerning.
The Mercedes-AMG models, SL 63 and 65, keep the same engines – a 5.5-litre V8 and 6-litre V12 - and the 7-speed automatic transmission, plus gain upgraded driving assistance packages and a new suspension system.
But the whole SL range has had a major exterior facelift – with a longer bonnet and the company’s new diamond grille, giving it a similar front appearance to the Mercedes-AMG GT sports coupe.
The SL range also gets new lights, an automatic boot separator and the roof now opens at speeds up to 40km/h, says Mercedes.
But at the Southern California (SoCal) launch, we found the SL had to be stopped before you could start to operator the roof, but once in motion you could start to drive at speed.
And SoCal is not only the ideal location for the launch – thanks to the great touring roads and climate – but also purposely picked as half of the SL sold globally go to the USA, and most of them end up in SoCal.
New Zealand won’t get the facelift models until June-July this year, with prices and specifics to be announced closer to the launch date, but the current price of the SL500 is $265,000 while the SL63 is $335,000.
Mercedes-Benz managing director, Ben Giffin, told Driven exclusively that the SL is “a true icon of our brand”.
“For more than 60 years now, the SL has thrilled sports car fans around the world,” said Giffin.
“The SL combines the best of both worlds: the elegant cruising capabilities of a roadster, with the dynamic and powerful performance of a sports car.”
* Check out Wednesday’s Driven in the NZ Herald for a full review of the SL range.