2012 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Overview
The SL-Class retractable-hardtop roadster competes in the upper-crust sport-luxury market with the likes of the BMW 650i and Jaguar XK convertibles. It seats two people and is offered in V-8-powered SL550 and SL63 AMG forms.
The front is characterized by angular headlights that look a bit sinister, a grille bisected by a single, bold cross-member and a large Mercedes star logo. The hood is domed and creased to carry the line from those shapes. An optional Intelligent Light System for the headlamps has five modes for different driving situations. In addition to the more common active (swiveling) and cornering light modes are Country mode, Motorway mode and enhanced fog lamps. Exterior features include a power retractable hardtop, standard 18-inch alloy wheels on SL550, 19-inch alloy wheels on SL63 AMG, bi-xenon headlights, and an optional Intelligent Light System.
The SL has leather-trimmed seats for two and a long list of comfort and convenience features to justify its lofty price, including the Comand multimedia system. Comand has an optional Universal Consumer Interface — a port that accepts portable music players and flash memory and controls them through the stereo, complete with on-screen menus. Also included are Bluetooth phone functionality and the option of watching DVDs on the screen (when the car is parked).
An interesting option is Airscarf — two small fans incorporated into each head restraint that blow warm air at the occupant's neck. Mercedes says the objective is to "extend the open-air driving season." Interior features include the mbrace telematics system, voice-activated Comand system with 8-inch dash screen,beverage cooler in glove box, and a 10-speaker Harman Kardon stereo.
Under the hood, the SL550 has a 382-horsepower, 5.5-liter V-8. The SL63 AMG's 6.2-liter V-8 makes 518 hp. All versions are rear-wheel drive. Mechanical features include a seven-speed automatic transmission, standard active suspension system (Active Body Control), and optional Direct Steer system.
Safety features include all-disc antilock brakes,electronic stability system, side-impact airbags, driver's knee airbag, pop-up roll bar (convertibles), and active head restraints.