Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

Mercedes-Benz SL Class

Manufacturer Mercedes-Benz
Production 1954–present
Assembly Germany
Class grand tourer
Body style 2-door coupe
2-door roadster
Layout FR layout

The Mercedes-Benz SL is a gullwing or a sports car with upward-opening doors.

Mercedes-Benz SL

 The term SL-Class refers to the marketing variations of the vehicle, including the numerous engine configurations spanning six design generations.


[edit] Mercedes-Benz SL 1954 to 1963

Mercedes-Benz SL

First generation
Production 1954–1963
Platform Mercedes-Benz W121 BII (190SL)
Mercedes-Benz W198 (300SL)
Engine 1.9L I4
3.0L M198 I6
Transmission 4-speed manual
Wheelbase 2,400 mm (94.5 in)
Length 4,520 mm (178.0 in)
Width 1,790 mm (70.5 in)
Height 1,300 mm (51.2 in)

The 300SL roadster succeeded the Gullwing in 1957. The 4-cylinder 190SL was more widely produced with 25,881 units, starting in 1955. Cars of the open Mercedes-Benz SL Class were available as a coupe with a removable hardtop or as a roadster with convertible soft top or with both tops. Production for the 190SL and 300SL ended in 1963.

  • 300SL (“Gullwing”): 1954–1957, 3.0L I6, 215 hp (160 kW)
  • 300SL (Roadster): 1957–1963 3.0L I6, 225 hp (168 kW)
  • 190SL: 1955–1963, 1.9L I4, 105 hp (78 kW)

[edit] Mercedes-Benz SL 1963 to 1971

Second generation
Production 1963–1971
Platform Mercedes-Benz W113
Engine 2.3L I6
2.5L I6
2.8L I6
Transmission 4-speed automatic
4-speed manual
5-speed manual (ZF)
Length 4,285 mm (168.7 in)
Width 1,760 mm (69.3 in)
Height 1,305 mm (51.4 in)

Next came the Mercedes-Benz SL Class 230SL, a new design with a 2.3L mechanically fuel injected six cylinder engine. It featured a low waistline and big curved greenhouse windows. Around 1967, the engine received a displacement increase and the model became known as the 250SL. Within a year the engine displacement was increased for the final time and the model designation became 280SL. Beginning with later versions of the 250SL changes were made to dashboard padding, switches and knobs, door pockets (U.S. models only) and steering wheel. In addition, the formerly separate center hub caps and wheel trim rings became full wheelcovers.

  • 230SL: 1963–1967, 2.3L I6, 150 hp (112 kW)
  • 250SL: 1966–1968, 2.5L I6, 150 hp (112 kW)
  • 280SL: 1967–1971, 2.8L I6, 170 hp (127 kW)

[edit] Mercedes-Benz SL 1972 to 1989

Third generation
Production 1972–1989
Platform Mercedes-Benz R107
Engine 2.8L I6
3.0L I6
3.5L V8
3.8L V8
4.2L V8
4.5L V8
5.0L V8
5.6L V8
Transmission 3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
4-speed manual
5-speed manual
Wheelbase 96.7 in (2,456 mm)
Length 180.3 in (4,580 mm)
Width 70.5 in (1,791 mm)
Height 51.1 in (1,298 mm)
  • 350SL: 1971–1980, 3.5L V8
  • 450SL: 1973–1980, 4.5L V8
  • 280SL: 1974–1985, 2.8L I6
  • 380SL: 1980–1986, 3.8L V8
  • 500SL: 1980–1986, 5.0L V8

All updated 86-89 models have the advantages of the more modern 4 pot brakes, larger discs, and suspension derived from the W124 sedan. The body itself is built with a modern paint system designed to improve protection from rust.

  • 300SL: 1986–1989

The 300SL base model was available as standard in a 5-speed manual although very few were sold. The SOHC 6 cylinder M103 is typically considered to have handling advantages with its lighter weight engine.

  • 420SL: 1986–1989, 4.2L V8
  • 500SL: 1986–1989, 5.0L V8
  • 560SL: 1986–1989, 5.6L V8

The 560SL was only sold in the Australia to compensate the reduced output of the 5.0L due to the stricter emission laws in these markets.

[edit] Mercedes-Benz SL 1989 to 2002

Mercedes-Benz SL

Main article: Mercedes-Benz R129
  Fourth generation
Production 1989–2002
Platform Mercedes-Benz R129
Engine 2.8L 193 hp (144 kW) I6
2.8L 204 hp (152 kW) V6
3.0L 190 hp (142 kW) I6
3.0L 231 hp (172 kW) I6
3.2L 231 hp (172 kW) I6
3.2L 224 hp (167 kW) V6
5.0L 326 hp (243 kW) V8
5.0L 306 hp (228 kW) V8
5.5L 354 hp (264 kW) AMG V8
6.0L 381 hp (284 kW) AMG V8
6.0L 394 hp (294 kW) V12
7.0L 496 hp (370 kW) AMG V12
7.3L 525 hp (391 kW) AMG V12
Transmission 5-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Wheelbase 99.0 in (2,515 mm)
Length 1997–2001: 177.1 in (4,498 mm)
1989–1996: 176.0 in (4,470 mm)
1992-96 V12: 178.0 in (4,521 mm)
Width 71.3 in (1,811 mm)
Height 1992–2001: 51.3 in (1,303 mm)
1989–1991: 50.7 in (1,288 mm)

The R129 model was the first convertible/roadster to offer the automatic rollbar deployment in event of rollover. The motorist can also manually raise and lower the rollbar should he choose to. This facilitates the clean look of R129 without compromising the occupant’s safety.

1994 saw a minor facelift for the Mercedes-Benz SL with changes to the taillamps and white turn signal indicators in the front, and the 300SL was replaced in Europe by the SL280 and SL320 (with 2.8 L and 3.2 L I6 engines). The SL500 continued with the same powerful engine. A 389 hp (290 kW) 6.0 L V12 SL600 topped the range. Introduced in 1993 as the 600SL, it was re-badged the SL600 in 1994.

The SL320 replaced the 300SL in the United States in 1995, but the SL280 was not offered. The 6-cylinder SLs were dropped from the US lineup in 1998, leaving just the V8 and V12. The SL500 got a new 302 hp (225 kW) 5.0 L V8 for 1999.

[edit] Mercedes-Benz SL AMG

Mercedes-Benz SL

The extremely rare Mercedes-Benz SL73 AMG was sold through AMG in 1995, and at 525 bhp (391 kW) it offered the most powerful V12 engine ever put into an SL up to that time. After a brief gap, the SL73 was offered again from 1998 to 2001, although the engine was slightly updated to be more reliable. The same 7.3L V12 was later used by Pagani in the Zonda. A total of 85 SL73 AMG roadsters were built. The SL73 was briefly reintroduced in September 1999 following the SL’s end-of-life facelift and a limited number were produced up until December 2001. The facelifted SL73 is the car that appears in the picture (left).


Mercedes-Benz SL


Even more rare is the SL70 AMG which was powered by a 7.0 L V12 engine.

The SL60 AMG was also extremely rare. Sold through MB from 1996 to 1998, it used a 6.0 litre V8 engine producing between 381 bhp (284 kW) and 384 bhp (286 kW). AMG claimed a 0-62 mph (100 km/h) speed of 5.8 seconds. Its top speed was limited to 155 mph (249 km/h), but with the limiter removed, it was capable of approximately 185 mph (298 km/h). AMG later unofficially admitted that 0-60 mph was closer to 5.0 seconds and the engine produced between 405-410 bhp.

The SL55 AMG was sold through AMG in the R129 bodystyle from 1998 to 2001 in limited quantity. It was the predecessor of the production R230 SL55 AMG sold from 2002 to 2008.

Only about 300 cars in the Mercedes-Benz SL class were customized by AMG prior to 2002.

[edit] Mercedes-Benz SL 2002 to 2011

Fifth generation
Production 2002–2012
Platform Mercedes-Benz R230
Engine 5.0L 308 hp (230 kW) V8
5.4L 493 hp (368 kW) V8
5.5L 493 hp (368 kW) V12
6.0L 604 hp (450 kW) V12
Transmission 5-speed automatic
7-speed automatic
Wheelbase 100.8 in (2,560 mm)
Length 178.5 in (4,534 mm)
Width 2005–08: 71.5 in (1,816 mm)
2001-04: 72.0 in (1,829 mm)
Height 51.0 in (1,295 mm)

The fifth generation Mercedes-Benz SL was in production between 2002 and 2011. The all-new SL (initially just a 5.0 L SL500 version) featured a retractable hardtop (marketed as the Vario Roof) available on the SLK since 1997. This featured a 5.0 L 302 hp (225 kW) V8, with a 5.4 L AMG Supercharged V8 appearing in 2002’s SL55 AMG. V12 engines are available in the SL600 and the limited-production SL65 AMG and the SL350 3.7 L (3724 cc) 18-valve V6 245 hp in some markets SL350.

Mercedes-Benz SL

2008 facelift

The R230 SL underwent a significant facelift in 2008 featuring new and revised engines and a new front end that evokes the classic 300SL with a large grille featuring a prominent 3-pointed star and twin “power domes” on the hood, the car also features new headlights with an optional “Intelligent Light System” and a new speed sensitive steering system. The SL 63 AMG replaced the SL 55 AMG.


[edit] Mercedes-Benz SL 2012–present

Mercedes-Benz SL

Sixth generation
Production 2012–
Platform Mercedes-Benz R231
Engine 3.5L 302 hp (225 kW) V6
4.7L 430 hp (321 kW) V8 turbocharged
5.5L 529 hp (394 kW) V8 turbocharged
6.0L 621 hp (463 kW) V12 turbocharged
Transmission 7-speed automatic
Wheelbase 2,585 mm (101.8 in)
Length 4,612 mm (181.6 in)
Width 1,877 mm (73.9 in)
Height 1,315 mm (51.8 in)

In December 2011, Daimler AG announced the all new Mercedes-Benz SL Class. It was formally launched at the North American International Auto Show in January 2012. The new SL (R231) has been produced for the first time almost entirely from aluminium. The new aluminium bodyshell weighs around 110 kilograms less than it would using the steel technology from the predecessor. Although the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class has more assistance systems on-board than its predecessor and therefore does actually sacrifice some of the weight saved through the aluminium bodyshell, the scales show some better figures: the SL 500 (1.785 kg) weighs around 125 kilograms less and the SL 350 (1.685 kg) is 140 kilograms lighter than its predecessor.

New features include the unique FrontBass system (it uses the free spaces in the aluminium structures in front of the footwell as resonance spaces for the bass loudspeakers) and adaptive windscreen wipe/wash system MAGIC VISION CONTROL, which supplies water from the wiper blade as required and depending on the direction of wipe. The R231 is also available with two different suspension systems: semi-active adjustable damping as standard. The optional active suspension system ABC (Active Body Control) is available as an alternative. Both suspension variants are combined with a new electromechanical Direct-Steer system featuring speed-sensitive power steering and a ratio that can be varied across the steering wheel angle and it also reduces the amount of steering required when parking and manoeuvring.

Contrasted with its predecessor, the new generation of the Mercedes-Benz SL is much longer and wider. Shoulder room (+37 mm) and elbow room (+28 mm) have been increased too. In comparison, it is still not offered with a manual transmission.

[edit] Engines

Petrol engines[1]
Model Years Type Power, torque@rpm
SL 350 BlueEFFICIENCY 2012– 3,498 cc (213 cu in) 24V V6 (M 276 DE 35) 306 PS (225 kW; 302 hp)@6500, 370 N·m (273 lb·ft)@3500-5250
SL 500 BlueEFFICIENCY 2012– 4,663 cc (285 cu in) 32V V8 biturbo (M 278 DE 46 AL) 435 PS (320 kW; 429 hp)@5250, 700 N·m (516 lb·ft)@1800-3500
SL 63 AMG 2012– 5,461 cc (333 cu in) 32V V8 biturbo (M 157 DE 55 AL) 537 PS (395 kW; 530 hp)@5500, 800 N·m (590 lb·ft)@2000-4500
Performance Package: 564 PS (415 kW; 556 hp)@5500, 900 N·m (664 lb·ft)@2250-3750
SL 65 AMG 2012– 5,980 cc (365 cu in) 36V V12 biturbo (M 279 E 60 AL) 630 PS (463 kW; 621 hp)@4800-5400, 1,000 N·m (738 lb·ft)@2300-4300

[edit] Notable drivers

  • Steve Jobs, American businessman, avoided needing license plates by swapping out a silver Mercedes SL55 with his leasing agency every six months, the maximum length of time California drivers can go without affixing issued number plates.[2]
  • Peter Thiel, American entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and hedge-fund manager that started PayPal and invested in SpaceX. He drives a dark-blue Mercedes SL500, as noted in an article in The New Yorker.[3]
  • Loreen, Swedish singer who won the Eurovision Song Contest 2012.[4]
  • Top Gear, owned a Mercedes SL55 AMG.

Gordan Ramsey, British Chef and Host of Hell’s Kitchen. As seen in Season One of Hell’s Kitchen

[edit] Sales

Calendar year US sales
2001 4,217[5]
2002 13,717
2003 13,318[6]
2004 12,885
2005 10,080[7]
2006 8,462
2007 6,126[8]
2008 5,464
2009 4,025[9]
2010 2,385
2011 1,449 [10]

[edit] References

  1. ^ “Technical data C-Class”. 2007-01-18. Retrieved 2012-09-29.
  2. ^ The truth about Steve Jobs’ number plate. Accessed October 27, 2011.
  3. ^ No Death, No Taxes. Accessed May 29, 2012.
  4. ^ Här väljer Loreen sitt vrålåk (Swedish). Accessed June 27, 2012.
  5. ^ “Mercedes-Benz USA Records Highest Sales in Its History. – Free Online Library”. 2003-01-03. Retrieved 2011-02-11.
  6. ^ “2004 Highest Year on Record for Mercedes-Benz USA”. Retrieved 2010-03-21.
  7. ^ “Mercedes-Benz Rings in the New Year with Record 2006 Sales”. Retrieved 2010-03-21.
  8. ^ “Mercedes-Benz USA’s Sales Drop 32.1 Percent In December 2008 | eMercedesBenz – The Unofficial Mercedes-Benz Weblog”. eMercedesBenz. 2009-01-05. Retrieved 2010-03-21.
  9. ^ “Highest Sales Month for the Year at 21,469 Brings Mercedes-Benz to an 18 Percent Increase for 2010”. New Jersey: 2011-01-04. Retrieved 2011-02-11.
  10. ^ “Mercedes Sales 2011 Best on Record! Strong December Sales Report Caps off 2011 with 264,460 Vehicles Sold”. 2012-01-09.

[edit] External links

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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