If I were to hold a ticker tape parade for a great car, it would have to go to Mercedes-Benz's SL-Class.
It's one of those storied nameplates that's stood the test of time and continues to be an excellent vehicle. If you haven't driven the latest generation product, I urge you do.
That's because it's simply the best luxury, two-seat convertible money can buy. It's completely refined and comfortable, and it can even be a bit sporty. Yes, even the non-AMG car, the SL550. Probably my favorite quality about the SL-Class is that it feels so damn strong, which is typically not the case in a vehicle where you've cut off the top. Usually, convertibles are more similar to wet noodles as the vehicle's strength has been compromised.
There's just one problem: its base price is $106,700.
And if you actually want to put some dollars away and don't want to work until you're 80 years old, that's going to hamper some things. There is good news though! The three-pointed star will be launching a bi-turbo six-cylinder model dubbed the SL400. Pumping out 333 horsepower, zero to 62 happens in 5.2 seconds, which should be more than enough for most drivers.
Expect it to arrive stateside in dealers this fall.
Mercedes-Benz's press release follows:
The new Mercedes-Benz SL 400: Start-up with new vigour
Stuttgart – The SL Roadster family from Mercedes-Benz is raring to go with a new engine. The SL 400 is now endowed with a six-cylinder biturbo drive system. Despite half a litre less displacement the output has risen by 20 kW (27 hp). Plus there are 110 newton metres more torque at its disposal. The price of the SL 400 starts from 97,282.50 euros (for the German market incl. 19% VAT).
As an automotive icon the Mercedes-Benz SL blends accomplished motoring at the highest level with exquisite style. Manufactured virtually completely from aluminium, the roadster also sets the standards in the category of luxurious roadsters with its numerous technical innovations. Not forgetting that the SL is entirely suitable for everyday use thanks to its retractable vario-roof. This makes it the all-rounder amongst sports cars.
In contrast to its predecessor, the SL 400 is not fitted with a naturally aspirated engine. Instead it boasts a six-cylinder unit with two turbochargers. Although its displacement has been reduced to three litres, the biturbo drive system develops a high full-load output potential with a charge pressure of 1.8 bar, and facilitates an extremely high torque of 480 newton metres at low engine speeds. It achieves 20 kW more than the SL 350. Its torque increases by 110 newton metres and is available in the engine speed range of 1600 to 4000 rpm. Plus the efficient six-cylinder meets the EU6 emissions standard.
SL 400 technical data
Displacement: 2996 cc
Bore x stroke: 88.0 x 82.1 mm
Output: 245 kW (333 hp) at 5250 to 6000 rpm
Torque: 480 Nm at 1600 to 4000 rpm
Fuel consumption: 7.3 l/100 km
CO2: 172 g/km
0-100 km/h: 5.2 s
Top speed: 250 km/h
Like all BlueDIRECT petrol engines the biturbo engine in the new SL 400 also works with a direct injection system with spray-guided combustion, which Mercedes-Benz was the first car manufacturer to offer in series production. The system pressure is up to 200 bar, the pressure being variably optimised according to the engine's mapping. Piezo injectors enable optimal mixture formation with up to five injections per power stroke. The third-generation direct injection is supplemented by rapid multi-spark ignition, MSI. How it works: Following the first spark discharge and a brief combustion period, the coil is recharged very rapidly and a further spark is discharged. The MSI system enables up to four sparks to be discharged in succession within one millisecond, creating a plasma with a larger spatial expansion than conventional ignition.
The rapid multi-spark ignition can be controlled to vary both the timing of the sparks and the combustion period to suit the relevant operating point. This provides scope for optimising the centre of combustion and improved residual gas compatibility. The result of this is excellent utilisation of the fuel with minimum emissions.
The SL 400 also offers two extraordinary innovations as standard: the unique Frontbass system developed by Mercedes-Benz transforms the luxury sports car into a concert hall, when the top is up and down, and the highly efficient MAGIC VISION CONTROL wipe/wash system takes water from the wiper blade to the windscreen as required and irrespective of the direction of wipe.