Mercedes-Benz continues SL tradition

Mercedes-Benz launches all-new SL

Reuben Van Niekerk
New model
Mercedes-Benz SL
SL 43
Mercedes-Benz SL 43

During its 70-year history, the Mercedes-Benz SL has transformed from a thoroughbred racing car to an open top luxury sports car and in its latest iteration it combines the sportiness of the original SL with the unique luxury and technological excellence of modern Mercedes-AMG models

For example, the SL43 is the first series produced vehicle to feature an electric exhaust gas turbocharger, technology that comes directly from Formula One.

With its combination of a comparatively light four-cylinder engine on the front axle and rear-wheel drive, the SL43 offers distinctly discreet handling characteristics.

Sculpted excellence

Defining features include a long wheelbase, short overhangs, a long bonnet, the passenger compartment set further back with a steeply raked windscreen and a powerful rear end that results in typical SL proportions.

A technical highlight for improving aerodynamics is the Airpanel active air control system that feature louvres behind the upper air intake that are electronically controlled and can be opened and closed via actuator motors. In this way, the airflow is directed according to demand, improving aerodynamic performance. In the closed position the louvres reduce air resistance. Only once particular components have reached certain temperatures are the louvres opened to allow for maximum cooling air to flow to the heat exchangers.

Seamlessly integrated into the vehicle’s profile is a retractable rear spoiler that changes position depending on the driving status and a variety of parameters including speed, longitudinal and lateral acceleration and steering speed with five different settings that either optimise handling or reduce drag.

The optional aerodynamics package includes larger flics on the front and rear bumpers and a larger rear diffuser.

The sportier disposition of the new SL has also resulted in the addition of an electric soft top instead of the previously utilised metal vario roof as it offers a 21kg weight saving and lower centre of gravity.

Inside story

The interior features an exciting combination of analogue geometry and the digital world. This is exemplified by the fully digital instrument cluster, which is integrated into a three-dimensional visor. The standard MBUX infotainment system offers a choice of several specific display styles and different modes.

Despite being symmetrical, the cockpit design creates a clear focus on the driver. The high-resolution 12.3-inch LCD screen is integrated into a high-tech visor that prevents reflections caused by sunlight. In order to avoid disturbing light reflections, the tilt of the 11.9-inch Central Display touch screen on the centre console can also be electrically adjusted from 12 to 32 degrees.

The SL43 is equipped as standard with a wide range of electrically and manually adjustable luxury seats in combination with nappa leather as standard while nappa AMG leather is available as an option. In addition to the standard high-gloss black, the trim elements and centre console are also available in aluminium or carbon and Manufaktur chrome black. The AMG Performance steering wheel with optional steering wheel heater is available in nappa leather and nappa leather/microcut microfibre.

Newly developed chassis

As standard, the SL43 is equipped with newly developed AMG Ride Control steel suspension equipped with aluminium shock absorbers and lightweight coil springs. The new SL is the first production vehicle ever from Mercedes-AMG to feature a multi-link front axle with five links arranged entirely within the rim, which significantly improves the kinematics. At the rear, a five-link design helps put the power down efficiently.

In order to reduce unsprung mass, all suspension links, steering knuckles and wheel carriers on the front and rear axles of the SL are made of forged aluminium.

A newly developed AMG high-performance composite brake system guarantees excellent deceleration values and precise control.

Under the bonnet

Under the bonnet is an in-line four-cylinder, two-litre, petrol engine that features an electric exhaust gas turbocharger. This new technology guarantees particularly spontaneous throttle response across the entire rev range, offering an even more dynamic driving experience while increasing efficiency at the same time. The turbocharger is operated via a 48-volt electrical system, which also feeds the belt-driven starter generator (RSG). The result is an output of 280kW and a maximum torque of 480Nm, plus and additional short-term boost of 10kW and 150Nm from the RSG in certain driving situations.

In the SL43 power is transferred to the rear wheels via an AMG Speedshift MCT 9G transmission. This transmission features a wet clutch which replaces the torque converter to reduce weight and optimise response to accelerator pedal input, especially during spurts and load changes. The specifically calibrated software ensures extremely short shift times as well as fast multiple downshifts when required. Race Start ensures optimal acceleration from a standstill.

The SL 43 accelerates to 100km/h in just 4.9 seconds on its way to a top speed of 275km/h.

Five AMG Dynamic Select driving modes, Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport +, Individual and Race are included in the optional AMG Dynamic Plus Package and enable a wide spread of vehicle characteristics from comfortable to dynamic and offer an individual driving experience, precisely tailored to different driving conditions.

Driving assistance and MBUX

With the aid of numerous sensors, cameras and radar, the driving assistance systems, monitor the traffic and surroundings and if necessary, the intelligent helpers can intervene at lightning speed. The driver is assisted by several new and enhanced systems that assist with speed adaption, distance control, steering and lane changes, making it easier to react to impending collisions. A new assistance display in the instrument cluster shows how the driving assistance systems are working in full-screen view in an abstracted 3D manner. The dynamic, high-quality representation makes the operation of the driving assistance systems transparent as an augmented reality driving experience.

Model range and pricing

Pricing starts at R2 449 500