Friday, 16 December 2011 10:34 AM
In November, we were able to tell you a few titbits about the latest Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster, in particular that there was a fabulous new sound system and some awesome high-tech windscreen wipers. We also know that the lightweight construction with an all-aluminium bodyshell means it will be 140kg lighter than its predecessor. Now the good people in Stuttgart have released some more information on the latest in their fine tradition of two-door beauties.
Now we can tell you that it will be on sale in the UK from July 2012 so plenty of time to save up - although the price hasn't been released yet. We can tell you there will be a choice of two different suspension systems, both with semi-active adjustable damping as standard. The optional active suspension system - or ABC, for Active Body Control - should make for an agile ride. Both suspension variants are combined with a new electromechanical Direct-Steer system with speed-sensitive power steering and a ratio that can be varied across the steering wheel angle. This means top-notch straight-line stability, especially on the motorway and there is less steering required when parking and manoeuvring. The Active Parking Assist feature also helps get the car into tight spots.
There's a new V8 powering the new SL with 435bhp, a 12% increase on the predecessor and torque is up from 391 lb-ft to a stonking 516 lb-ft. This is mated to a seven-speed automatic gearbox that has been optimised for improved fuel consumption but there's still the awesome power on hand with the new SL going from 0-62mph in just 4.6 seconds.
Inside, there's more room - it's 50mm longer and 57mm wider with 37mm more shoulder room and 28mm more elbow room. There are wood and aluminium trim finishes on offer for the interior as well.
There is the option of the Magic Sky Control roof which can switch from light to dark and back again at the push of a button so even with the top up on a cold day, you can still have an open-top experience. The vario-roof retracts in a matter of seconds and the frame on all roof versions is made of magnesium making it 6kg lighter than the predecessor. They've even made opening the boot a bit easier with a hand-free access system - the driver can move his or her foot in the vicinity of the rear bumper to open and close the boot.
The Pre-Safe system is standard - this activates precautionary measures such as tightening the seatbelts if the risk of a crash is detected. A passenger neck protection system, the Neck-Pro head restraints are also fitted as standard. If you do crash your baby, the doors can be automatically unlocked after an accident, windows can be lowered by 50mm for ventilation and the steering wheel can be moved upwards. The drowsiness detection system, Attention Assist, and Adaptive Brake with ABS and skid control are also standard.
All we can say is roll on July so we can take the new SL Roadster for a spin - hopefully with the roof down in some British summer weather.
By Georgia Lewis
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