ON THE ROAD – IAN LYNAS PREVIEWS THE NEW MERCEDES AMG SL
It’s a return to its roots for the new Mercedes-AMG SL with a classic soft top and sporty character and the luxurious roadster as a 2+2 seater is particularly suitable for everyday use and now puts its power down on the road with all-wheel drive for the first time.
High-tech components such as the AMG ACTIVE RIDE CONTROL suspension with active anti-roll stabilisation, rear-axle steering, the optionally available AMG ceramic high-performance composite brake system and the standard-fit DIGITAL LIGHT with projection function sharpen its sporty profile. To the heart of the matter, below a sleek bonnet lies an AMG four litre V8 biturbo engine which delivers a driving experience of the highest order. The newcomer is every bit a performance luxury model and Mercedes-AMG in Affalterbach has developed the SL completely independently and two models with AMG V8 engines kick off the market launch.
Close on seventy years ago, a sports car launched in Stuttgart immediately became a legend and the vision of expanding the potential of the Mercedes-Benz brand through motor racing successes produced the first SL as a result, a road-going racing sports car. Following its debut in 1952, the 300 SL scored success after success on the motor racing circuits around the world. In its first year, it achieved, among other things, a spectacular one-two victory in the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans and even took the first four places in the Nurburgring Grand Jubilee Prize for sports cars. All of this quickly made the SL a legend. The successful racing car was followed in 1954 by the 300 SL production sports car which is called the “Gullwing” because of its unusual doors. Then in 1999, a jury of motoring journalists voted it the “Sports Car of the Century”. The abbreviation “SL” to this day thus stands for one of the few genuine automotive icons in the world. The decades-long development history from full-blooded racing car to open-top luxury sports car, and the new AMG SL now sets another milestone as it combines the sportiness of the original SL with the unique luxury and technological excellence that characterise modern Mercedes models. Exciting design, state-of-the-art technology and outstanding driving characteristics, the new model sets standards in the luxury sports car segment. A bold exterior with the sportiness typical of AMG. The two power bulges on the bonnet are just one of numerous reminiscences of the first SL generation. The interplay of light and shadow makes the overall appearance visually light and low. So it is clear at first glance that the new SL has returned to its sporty roots.
Moving to the interior which transforms the tradition of the first 300 SL Roadster into the modern era and the new model perfectly combines sporting virtues and luxury. Fine materials and meticulous workmanship underline the standard of the highest level of comfort. The cockpit design, right down to the adjustable central display in the centre console, is focused on the driver. At the same time, the completely new interior space concept with 2+2 seats offers more room and functionality than before and they rear seats increase the daily practicality and offer space for people up to 1.50 metres tall. The sportier positioning of the new SL also suggested the decision for an electric soft top instead of the previous metal vario roof. Opening and closing takes only about 15 seconds and is possible up to a speed of 60 km/h. The soft top is operated using the switch panel in the centre console or the multimedia touch screen, on which an animation shows how the process is progressing. Two output levels of the AMG four litre V8 biturbo engine, 476 and 585bhp respectively. Translated into performance, 295 and 315kph and expect to reach 100kph from standstill in a mere 3.6/3.9 seconds. Certainly for those who enjoy style and performance in a roadster the new AMG fits the bill!