Friday, 25 November 2011 11:46 AM
As well as maintaining the tradition of being an incredibly sexy car, the newest Mercedes SL Roadster is lighter than ever, has an improved sound system and even on the wettest British day, you should be able to see for miles.
This is the first SL Roadster made almost entirely from aluminium (89% aluminium to be precise), making the SL 350 model around 140kg lighter than its predecessor while the SL 500 is a still-respectable 125kg lighter. Other light components include magnesium in the rear panels and high-strength steel integrated into the A-pillars.
The blend of light weight and super strength makes this the safest SL Roadster yet with high rigidity and low vibrations. As well as better fuel economy with the lighter body, another cool green innovation is the spare wheel recess, which is made of recycled sheet metal.
Corrosion protection has been upgraded as well making it perfect for those who live near the coast (your correspondent has lived near the beach and the effects were not pretty on her motor). High-quality zinc-nickel coatings or special electrochemical insulation measures have been used to prevent contact corrosion with aluminium.
On the sound front, the SL Roadster continues its reputation for offering concert-quality sound with the FrontBass system making its debut. This system is made possible by the new aluminium construction which uses the free spaces in the structures in front of the footwell as resonance spaces for the bass speakers.
Merc promises “concert hall ambience” with the new speakers. This is combined with better insulation such as a special fire wall damping to reduce engine noise while the music plays (although the last SL Roadster your correspondent drove sounded so lovely, the radio was turned off and the right foot went down).
In another world first, the new SL Roadster will premiere Magic Vision Control adaptive windscreen wipe/wash system which keeps the windscreen clear by delivering water directly to the wiper blade - yet the driver won’t see a water jet or a film of water over the screen. This is done via a sophisticated system of barely discernible ducts - these little holes have been cut by frickin’ laser beams (or “laser-cut discharge openings” as it says in the official material). The direction of the water is also redirected when the roof is down so that the occupants don’t get an unexpected face wash. There is also a fully heated system to protect against snow and ice.
It has been a long time since we’ve been this excited about a stereo and a set of wipers - we’ll let you know even more specs as soon as they’re released, hopefully before the end of the year.
By Georgia Lewis
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