Packed with innovations

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 June, 2012, 12:00am


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The latest Mercedes-Benz SL roadsters are smart and packed with innovations. Unveiled at Crown Wine Cellars, in Shouson Hill on Tuesday, the sixth-generation SLs continue to embody stylish, open-top motoring.

Restyled and produced almost entirely from aluminium, the new SLs are up to 140kg lighter than their predecessors, promise better handling and, thanks to their new BlueDIRECT engines, are more economical than the previous models.

The SL 500 (HK$2.062 million) has a 435-horsepower, 4,663cc V8 that is about 12 per cent more powerful than its predecessor and its torque has been increased from 530Nm to 700Nm, but its fuel consumption has been reduced by up to 22 per cent. The new 3,499cc V6 engine in the new SL 350 (HK$1.748 million) has 306hp and wallops 370Nm of torque, but consumes 6.8 litres of fuel per 100km, making the convertible 'almost 30 per cent more economical' than the previous SLs.

Both models have an ECO start/stop function, and a 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission that can take the SL 350 to 100 km/h in 5.9 seconds, 'three-tenths of a second faster than its predecessor', Mercedes-Benz says.

The SL 500 goes from 0 to 100km/h in 4.6 seconds, an improvement of 'eight-tenths' of a second on the previous SL 500's speed.

Innovations include the Frontbass system, which promises 'concert hall' sounds whether the model's variable roof is up or down, by putting the stereo's bass speakers in the aluminium structures in front of the footwell.

The SL's new Magic Vision Control windscreen-wiping system guides and even heats washer fluid through laser-cut spraying holes on both sides of the wiper blade for a smoother, jet-free clean.

The SL's foldable vario-roof enables the car to be enjoyed as a coupe or convertible, but the latest version can be painted, with a glass roof, or with the marque's Magic Sky Control technology that can switch a transparent roof from light to dark, say for shade.

The SL is 'the world's safest roadster', thanks to 'crash-optimised aluminium structure, standard-fit Pre-Safe and assistance systems on the same high level as the S-Class', Mercedes-Benz adds.

The marque also offers two AMG versions, the SL63 (HK$2.548 million) and an SL65 (HK$3.998 million).