SL: the comeback to the meaning of the SL Letters

Mercedes SL
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The sixth generation of SL comes back to the essence of the original: more light, more dynamics, more pleasure to drive. Here are the technical highlights of the new SL, code name R 231.


Too heavy, not too sporty – these are the critics to the modern generations of SL. But Mercedes remembered what the SL letters mean: sport and leicht (light in English) and made big changes to the sixth generation of SL, which still keeps the characteristics of a luxury roadster.

As a premiere for a modern Mercedes, the bodyshell is made almost entirely of different types of aluminium, which is used in a proportion of 89%, meanwhile 8% percent is high strength steel for the A-pillar and 3% made of other materials. The new bodyshell is more rigid than the former one, with a torsional strength of 19,400 Nm/degree, 20% extra comparing to the R 230 (code name of 2001-2011 generation) and with only 254 kg, it is by 110 kg lighter than the former generation. To make it clear, even the dimensions extend in all directions (length grows by 50 mm at 4,612 mm, width is increased by 57 mm at 1,877 mm), the weight of the basic SL 350 version is only 1,685 kg (by 140 kg less) and SL 500 is also by 125 kg lighter at 1,785 kg. Consistent weight reductions were also obtained all over the car:

–      The front part of the roof and C-pillar made from magnesium/plastic save 15 kg.

–      The new seat structure with new adjustment mechanism save another 11 kg.

–      Front and rear windscreen are 0,5, respectively 0,7 mm thinner, each saving 1 kg.

–      The innovative Frontbass system eliminates the need for an individual woofer, saving 4 kg more.

–      The aluminium support frame for the front axle and engine saves extra 11 kg.

–      Semi-Active standard suspension is by 10 kg lighter than the former standard suspension.

–      New standard lightweight wheels are 15% lighter and save another 4 kg.

SL 500 has a bodyshell made almost entirely made of aluminium and it is by 110 kg lighter than a conventional one made of steel

Mercedes pledges not only a weight loss, but also other advantages:

–      The best Cx in the entire segment (0.27)

–      The quietest vehicle in its class with the roof up, comparable with a luxury saloon

–      The best comfort with the top down


The new SL is available in four versions: two “civile” versions SL 400 (V6 biturbo, 3 litre/333 HP) and SL 500 (V8 biturbo, 4,7 litre/435 HP) and two AMG versions: SL 63 AMG (V8 biturbo, 5,5 litre/585 HP), SL 65 AMG (V12 biturbo, 6 litre/630 HP). All engines are standardly equipped with a 7-speed automatic gearbox (sport gearbox AMG Speedshift MCT for AMG versions). For the standard configuration, SL features a semi-active adjustable suspension, meanwhile the active ABC suspension is offered as an option. A sport suspension lowered by 10 mm is part of AMG Sports package. The electromechanical steering with the new system Direct Steer offers not only a speed-sensitive steering power assistance, but also a variable steering ratio that changes according to the steering angle.

Like the SLK, three versions of rooftops are available: a classic one having the color of the body, a glass top or the panoramic vario-roof with Magic Sky Control. By the push of a button, the transparent roof switches from light to dark. Meanwhile, the engineers refined the operating mechanism of the roof, which now only takes less than 20 seconds to open or close.

Magic Sky Control system is more fascinating in a roadster

The boot offers a volume between 364 litres, with the roof stowed, and 504 litres. By the push of a button, the roof elements stowed in the boot can be tilted upwards by 25 degrees to make loading and unloading easier (Easy Pack system).


The new SL comes with two other innovations, which could be seen in the top of the range S-Class saloon or Coupe and are offered as standard equipment: the new intelligent wash system of the windscreen which affixes the washer fluid just in front of the wiper blade lip via the channels integrated into the blade and Frontbass system, which uses the free space in the aluminium structure in front of footwell as the resonance chamber for the bass loudspeakers. With bass loudspeakers incorporated in the structure of the car, we can say farewell to distorsions, as both audio systems from Harman Kardon or Bang&Olufsen offer a crisp and clear bass sound, that enables a concert hall ambience.

As his brothers from the S family, the SL will provide a high level of safety, the best in its segment. From the standard equipment list, we mention Neck-Pro headrests, Pre-Safe, Attention Assist and Adaptive Brake. The option list includes Distronic Plus, an automatic parking system. Multimedia system Comand with 17,8 cm TFT display and a 800 x 480 pixel resolution is standard on SL 500 and holds out the internet access, new apps and it also has a DVD changer.

At the launch, the SL was available with a special a rich “Edition 1” equipment, that includes a panoramic roof, an AMG kit, sport suspension, AMG 19 inch wheels, design Nappa leather upholstery, Airscarf system and Harman Kardon Logic 7 audio system.


In Germany, the price goes from 97.282 euros for SL 400 up 120.011 for SL 500, meanwhile AMG versions are priced at 160.590 euros (SL 63 AMG) and 238.833 euros (SL 65 AMG). All prices include the 19% German VAT.

Technical data Mercedes SL EU version 

ModelSL 400SL 500SL 63 AMGSL 65 AMG
EngineV6, bi-turboV8, bi-turboV8, bi-turboV12, bi-turbo
Displacement (cmc)2996466354615980
Max. power/revs (CP/rpm)333/5250-6000435/5250585/5500630/4800
Max. torque/revs. (Nm/rpm)480/1600-4000700/1800-3500900/2250-37501000/2300-4300
Transmission7 speed, auto.7 speed, auto.
L/l/h (mm)4612/1877/13154612/1877/13154612/1877/13154612/1877/1315
Wheelbase (mm)2585258525852585
Boot capacity (l)364-504364-504364-504364-504
Kerb weight (kg)1730178518451950
Maximum speed (km/h)250250250250
Acceleration 0-100 km/h (s)5,24,64,24,0
Combined fuel consumption (l/100 km)7,39,29,911,6
CO2 emissions (g/km)172214231270
Price (euro with VAT, GER).97.282,50120.011,50160.590,50238.833

Technical data Mercedes SL USA version

ModelSL 400SL 550SL 63 AMGSL 65 AMG
EngineV6, bi-turboV8, bi-turboV8, bi-turboV12, biturbo
Displacement (cc)2,9964,6635,4615,98
Max.power/revs (HP/rpm)329/5,250-6,000429/5,250577/5,500621/4,800-5,400
Max. torque/revs (lb-ft/rpm)354/1,600-4,000516/1,800-3,500664/na738/2,300-4,300
Transmission7 speed automatic7 speed automatic7 speed automatic7 speed automatic
L/l/h (in)181.6/82.6/51.8181.6/82.6/51.8182.4/82.6/51.2182.4/82.6/51.2
Wheelbase (in)101.8101.8101.8101.8
Curb weight (lbs)3,8364,0014,0684,299
Trunk capacity (cu. ft)13.513.513.513.5
Acceleration 0-60 mph (s)
City fuel consumption (mpg)2017na14
Highway fuel consumption (mpg)2724na21
Price (USD)84,000106,900148,050215,25




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