As the cars became increasingly more luxurious, their weight factor steadily crept up. Eventually, the L better stood for “Laden” rather than “Light”. However, with the introduction of the current version of the Mercedes-Benz SL (referred to internally by Mercedes-Benz as the R231) lightness once again applies (sort of), as this is the first mainstream SL model to be crafted primarily of aluminum.
So yeah, you can infer we’re not huge fans of the look of the current Mercedes SL. However, we are absolutely enraptured with the way it goes. Power comes from a twin-turbocharged 4.6-litre V8 producing 429 horsepower and a breathtaking 516 ft-lbs of torque. In addition to turbocharging, both direct fuel injection and variable
The SL’s powertrain also includes a seven-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift function. Auto start/stop is incorporated to help the engine maximize its fuel economy potential. Zero to 100km/h is quoted at just a hair over four and half seconds. Top speed is limited to 210 kilometres per hour in stock trim. The U.S. EPA says to expect a metric-converted 13.1 L/100km in the city, 9.4 on the highway, and 11.7 combined. Canadian claimed fuel economy is less realistically rated at 11.9 city, 8.1 highway, 10.2 combined; use these for comparison purposes only. Given the extraordinary performance potential of this engine, those fuel economy numbers are quite respectable.
And yet, cruising around town or out on the highway, the SL displays a sedate reserve. We are reminded of a rather profound observation attributed to a New York gangster; “The loudest guy in the room is usually the weakest guy in the room. It’s the quiet guy you need to watch out for.” The Mercedes bears this out beautifully.
In fact, quite the opposite, the SL goes above and beyond to ensure your comfort. Features like its folding hardtop give you a choice between top down and closed coupe motoring. Further, the roof is translucent so you can admit daylight even without retracting the roof. What’s more, the roof can be had with what Mercedes calls “Magic Sky Control”. Order the feature, and you won’t need a sunshade. The roof can be darkened almost completely at the touch of a button.
Other outstanding comfort and convenience features include a driver controlled adaptive suspension system, power adjustable seats upholstered in sun-reflecting leather-featuring heat, ventilation and massage functions; an automatic trunk lid with a foot-activated opening feature, and an integrated wind blocking screen, which rises at the touch of a button to eliminate buffeting in the passenger compartment when the roof is retracted.
If-you’re blessed with the income to support it. As you might well imagine, a car with this much going for it doesn’t come cheaply. For the 2014 model year, Mercedes-Benz SL 550 pricing starts at $123,400 plus destination charges.
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