Jan 25th, 2008 by RJ Menezes
Mercedes-Benz has a storied tradition of making grand touring roadsters. Their hallmark in that category has been, for over 50 years, the SL roadster. The SL combines luxury, technology, performance, and build quality, in a way no other drop-top can match. At least that is what the company boasts.
The R230 model of the SL that Mercedes-Benz introduced in 2001 has become the best-selling SL in history. In fact it’s the only model that does not seem to be affected by the sales market. It just steadily sells well.
Well that does not seem to have stopped the people at MB from giving their premier roadster a significant face-lift. Most of the changes are purely cosmetic and there are also a few mechanical changes to keep things current.
Evoking the design language seen on it’s newest models the SL stands out. “Its predecessor was very rounded and defensive,” says Hans-Dieter Futschik, Mercedes-Benz’s director of design. “I wouldn’t call it aggressive, but the car shows a bit more pride now. Mercedes’ new models are sharper than before, with clearer, defined surfaces, and this is a character that we wanted to introduce to the SL. The new design language is so different, so we had to change the hood and the fenders.”
Interesting indeed. But the most interesting thing to me is that every SL bound for the U.S. will incorporate the AMG body-styling kit as standard equipment. Apperently the majority of owners get the body-kit anyways and this way, production in Germany gets a bit more streamlined.
The SL63 AMG and the SL65 AMG will have a distinctive look of their own, but they will not be seen in public until the Geneva auto show in March. Their looks will differ from the AMG body kit substantially.
Interior wise not much has changed though. New instrument dials and three-spoke steering wheel grace a cabin that has newer materials and color options. There’s a new hard-disk satellite navigation system with loads of space for music storage. Also, Mercedes has also introduced a version of the Airscarf system first seen on their smaller roadster, the SLK.
Prices for the new 2009 Mercedes-Benz SL550 and 2009 Mercedes-Benz SL600 have not been announced, but insider say that it will be only a little more expensive than the current car. For all the equipment you get standard now, that’s kind of a good value.